One characteristic common among successful leaders is an optimistic attitude. Whether you’re leading a ministry, business, or a sports team, thinking optimistically will help you to succeed. As Christian leaders, we always have reason to be optimistic and hopeful because our hope is rooted in the power and goodness of God. Romans 4:18 tells us that Abraham’s optimism was grounded in God. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.”
Like Abraham, even when the odds are against us, and it looks impossible, we can have hope because we know God will come through for us. Optimism keeps us moving forward in trying times. It moves us from staying stuck in the way things are, to seeing the possibilities of what could be.
There are countless tasks leaders can delegate to others, but fostering optimism is not one of them. We’re responsible for remaining hopeful, even in the most difficult circumstances. So how do we do that? How does a leader remain optimistic, day in and day out, in good times and bad? Here are three practices that have help me to keep hope burning brightly when my reality is dim.
1. Withdraw and spend time with God.
Psalm 33:20 tells us to “wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” Being alone with God for an extended time to pray and read Scripture increases our ability to trust His character. Listen to music that helps you focus on God’s love, read Scriptures that remind you of his power. When we turn our attention to God, we see His power and love are greater than our problems and hope emerges!
2. Speak words of hope over your life.
When we are worried, stressed, or angry, it’s easy to let our minds dwell on the negative. Negative thoughts and feelings won’t change the situation, but they can make it worse because negativity stifles creative problem-solving and inhibits us from looking beyond our circumstances. Monitor the conversation going on in your head to keep it positive and faith-filled. Find a hope-filled scripture or promise of God that speaks to your situation and commit to memorizing it. Meditate on it until it permeates your mind with optimism and your soul with hope.
3. Engage with people who are hope-givers.
Attitudes are infectious so spend time with someone who will give you hope. For example, I have a good friend who is a hope-giver to me. I can share openly with her and know that she’ll always speak truthfully to me. She prays for me and points me to God. Regardless of how bad things look, I can always count on her to remind me that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and completely faithful. When I spend time with her my hope level rises!
So, how’s your hope level lately? What activities help you to be optimistic and hopeful? Are there special people in your life who are hope-givers for you? Who will you be a hope-giver to?