My Dear Younger Sister,

“I love your enthusiasm,” Victor said to Emily, and he was right. There is something endearing and contagious about someone who is passionate about what they do and their prospects for the future. As we get older it is easy to become jaded and expect things to go wrong. It must have been an older person who invented adage we refer to as Murphy’s Law (“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”). Maybe people say that to keep from getting their hopes up. If they expect the worse case scenario then they will be pleasantly surprised when some things go well. That is not really a happy philosophy for life. I would rather see you as an optimistic realist. That means you would hope things will go well but can deal with it if they do not. Does God care which of those attitudes we have?

The Bible does say that our hope should be in God and that He has good plans for His people (Jer 29:11; Lam 3:24). Hebrews speaks a great deal about the fact that we should live right in this life because we have a hope for heaven. That is not wishful thinking. It is faith and trust that God will keep his promises. That is why Abraham is described as someone who hoped against hope that he would be the father of a great nation (Rom 4:8). He had no reason to expect it on his own, but God had promised it to him, so Abraham trusted that it would happen, and he lived his life with gratitude that it was a sure thing. When the worthy woman of Proverbs 31 laughs or smiles at the future (verse 25), it is because she knows she has nothing to fear. She has made all the reasonable preparations to provide for her family and she understands that God will take care of the rest. Her optimism is based in her trust in God.

I hope your enthusiasm is also based on trust in the power of God to guide your life. He is in charge of everything and you know He cares for you. Jesus reminded us that God loves us more than the plants and animals in this world and if He provides for them, He will do more for us (Matt 6:25-34). But beyond that it is simply more common to see young people anticipating great things in their future and that is an incredibly encouraging attitude. It is optimism that dreams big and is not discouraged by small setbacks. So what if you have to work a little harder or longer to accomplish what you really want. That is better than giving up entirely. When well-intentioned people try to discourage you from setting your goals very high thank them for their concern, consider making adjustments, but do not give up.

A lack of ambition will leave you at the bottom of the hill. Persistence and dedication to your goals will bring many rewards. Maybe you will not end up in the place you hoped to be, but to not try at all only ensures that outcome. Romans 2:7 reminds us that we must keep working toward the goal of heaven if we want to receive it. Why would we only hope to be mediocre? Dream big. Be prepared to make adjustments if that becomes necessary, but after you have prayed for wisdom and that God’s will be done in your life work toward what you find Godly joy in.

Your enthusiasm is contagious. It will motivate you and those around you. Many wonderful things in this life are attainable by those with average abilities but over-sized will. Be “all in” when serving the Lord and everything else you do, as well.

your friend with prayers,

Laurie Moyer

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23, 24