THE OPTIMISM CHALLENGE

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

My bank has done something brilliant – besides lending money, giving good financial advice, and providing mortgages. This past week it launched a 30-Day Optimism Challenge. This is the pledge that participants are asked to take: I hereby pledge to be more generous with those in need, more connected with my community and more open to changing my perspectives. I will approach this challenge with an open mind in pursuit of discovering the powers of optimism. I will do my best to not skip a day, make up my own daily act if I cannot complete the one provided… That sounds rather Christian to me, but I shouldn’t be surprised since the bank’s owner is a faithful member of our church.

So far, I’ve completed five of the thirty days. This is what we’ve been asked to do: list ten things for which we are thankful (easy to do); introduce ourselves to a neighbor we haven’t met (a little harder); delete unused apps from our phones (finally); do a favor for someone without being asked (loved that); put an encouraging note on the windshield of a random car (really fun).

We each have a check list to mark as we complete the daily challenges with space for a personal takeaway. I find that as I intentionally practice “optimism” or Christ’s love or kindness or hope (fill in the blank), in return I am filled with joy. I loved meeting my interesting new neighbor, something I should have done long ago, and I wish I could have seen the person’s face when he/she saw my note on his/her windshield.

Actually, hasn’t Jesus asked us to share his Spirit and his gifts indiscriminately with our world? God is consistently reminding us to reach out, to get out of ourselves to bless some other life. I really wish I’d thought of this, but I’m glad the bank did.

Thanks, Tom.

Father, this challenge is a good jump start for reaching out. Help me to make this a daily habit so that when this little exercise is done, I just keep going from one happy outreach to another. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Author: mcurry09

Marthe Curry is director of the World Missions Department of her diocese in Texas. In that capacity, she frequently travels internationally to empower individuals and communities in discipleship and development. She loves to teach, write, and garden. Marthe has a Ph.D. from the University of the Incarnate Word. She has two children, grandchildren, two dogs, and lives in San Antonio. She looks forward to your comments and questions.

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