My Grandma Barbara Ruth, she ever only saw a cup one way.

Didn’t matter if the tea’d been poured out or if the sky’d tipped over or the tap was still running loud.

Every cup she ever held or tipped back or drank from, they were all right empty as far as she was concerned.

She’d been dying of old age since she was 42. Every picnic was bound to get rained out. My grandfather’d be whistling Winn-Dixie and she just knew he was brewing to pick some fiery fight. I loved her like there was no tomorrow. And for Grandma? There likely wasn’t going to be another tomorrow.

The thing is apples don’t fall far from trees and cups can seem empty for generations.

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Seeing the cup as half empty is completely unhelpful.

Really — what’s the benefit of being anything other than an optimist?

I never asked Grandma that.

Sometimes I ask that woman in the mirror who looks her, who looks back at me.

That woman who may or may lay awake nights wondering if a son’s algebra grades flex enough muscle to pry him into university and if that business idea of his will leave him bankrupt and heart-rent, and if the sky will turn kinder so we can get this year’s crop in the ground.

Wondering how can we spend our lives to end poverty and stop oppression and if any of them will go out into this world loving Jesus more than their own comfort and double car garages and culture’s applause and their very lives and if their mother has wholly failed them or only just mildly ruined them. Kids eat garbage from dumps. I have yelled. They still bicker.

I see all who they are not. I haven’t hugged and prayed and asked for forgiveness enough. The economy could implode next month. I should bake more peanut butter cookies. They should be kinder. Years are ridiculously short and minutes can be relentlessly long and failures can seem eternal.

I have known it, the mornings that I have struggled to get out of bed, the days when I’ve fumed about all that is wrong in them and me and the world:

When we fixate on the worst in something, we render ourselves incapable of fixing anything.

But attend to the good in something — and we act towards the best in everything.

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For our science studies, I sit in the middle of the couch, in the middle of a bunch of kids and I read about weather and seasons and the pressure of air.

“What do you know about this ocean of air you live in?” I read it from the newsprint, yellowed page.

It’s hard to picture something you can’t see. It’s hard to believe something is real if you can’t look at it and touch it.” I’m reading words about air and thinking about God. “Are there ways to showing that air is real?”

The science book tells us to get a glass and a bowl of water and Malakai, he runs to the kitchen. We follow the instructions.

“Now turn the glass upside down and push it straight into the bowl of water.” I look up at Malakai, Shalom, Levi, all hunched over the bowl.

Kai plunges the glass into the bowl’s water. It doesn’t fill.

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“Why doesn’t the glass fill with water?” Malakai grins, shrugs his shoulders.

You thought the glass was right empty? In actual fact — it’s right full.” Malakai tilts his head at that angle.

I read the text. “The glass doesn’t fill with water — because the glass is right full of air.”

And I tilt my head and re-read my life.

That rhetorical question asking if your glass half empty or half full? The truth is that the glass is never half empty — or half full.

The truth is the glass is always right full.

You may not be able to picture what you can’t see but only real things fill up space. And the real reality is that your glass is really right full.

And at this angle, the one with the glass so full that it pushes back an ocean of doubt, the world reads differently and the cynics don’t wear wisdom but the shoddy armor of the worried and wounded.

The cynics donning armor because they’re the aching, the afraid not wanting to be disappointed. It’s the cynics who have a limited, bruised vocabulary of no. It can seem easier to reject the world before the world hurts you again.

It’s the brave who say a prayerful yes, the brave and wise who believe that the faith-filled yes is what heals things.

It’s the brave and free who are the optimists.

And to be an optimist — for a moment, you first have to be a pessimist.

Because sometimes you can only be an optimist when you have a plan for the pessimist in you. So, you play out the law of Worst Case Scenario: What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?

And there aren’t wolves, trouble, kids, hatred, debts, messes, betrayal, teenagers, disease, lack, hard times, untruths, diagnoses, or disappointment that can possibly separate you from the love of God. Nothing can separate you from Him.

So the Worst Case Senario? Is only the scenario of not wanting Christ the most.

So the Worst Case Scenario — is only a possible scenario if you want something more than Christ.

If you want Christ the most — there is no worst case scenario.

Live and He’s using everything to shape you more into Christ and abundant life in Him.

Die and you have eternal life in Him.

Abundant life versus eternal lifeit’s impossible to lose!

You can’t lose.

When you have a plan in place for the worst — you never go to the the place of worry. And the plan for when all hell breaks lose is that Christ’s already broken the power of hell and to live is Christ and to die is gain, so the plan is always joy.

I say yes to a boy who wants to try a crazy experiment of his own.

I begin to make loveliness by picking up one lego. Write one letter and a string of hopeful words to a child in a dump. Focus on the good in a struggler and a straggler. Believe just this moment that everything is being transfigured for His glory. Every step towards something beautiful already accomplishes something beautiful. Beauty and joy are found in every overcoming along the way.

I reach over and brush a hand with belief.

Only those who believe in the beautiful — can collaborate in the miraculous.

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The new world is not a mirage. The Kingdom’s already coming. If you still long enough in prayer — you can hear its breathing.

You can hear the air filling the lungs of the resurrected and risen ones, filling all the earth.

On the sill, I leave this glass out.

This glass already and always right full…

 

::

Q4U: How do you most often view your glass? Let’s all jump in and make this a resource to help each other believe in the beautiful:  What verse, what song, what comfort, what great idea — got a link for us? What really works for you when you aren’t feeling overly optimistic?

(Reading in RSS or email? Jump into the comments right here: We’re all helping each other out here!)


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  1. 1

    I just love your writing. I find it difficult to even slow down enough sometimes to even consider the question! My natural inclination is a ‘worst case scenario’ planner, so that bit really hit my heart.
    For me, when I’m feeling myself begin ‘the plughole circle’ of worry and doubt and fear, I try to step back, I get out a sheet of paper and write down what I feel I need to do over the next day/week that is making me feel this way. I break things down and then they don’t seem so daunting. I light a candle, a fresh scent called ‘after the rain’ and it helps trigger calm in my brain. I have a cup of hot tea, a really big one. And I take the time to sit and be with God and have him be with me.
    It’s easy to perpetuate a negative attitude if you keep yourself going on the treadmill of life, but I find if I allow God into my situation, and stop, just stop for a bit, He breathes life and truth to my soul. This is momentary, my Jesus is forever. Grace is sufficient. His power is perfect. Mercies everyday. I am loved and in grace I stand. And when those truths are in your soul and you breathe them, your perspective changes.

    • 2

      I felt calmer just reading what you wrote here Laura. Well said.

    • 3
      Bronwyn says:

      What a powerful image of “the plughole circle of worry and doubt and fear”. Your words perfectly captured my experience, helping me to recognise that cycle I let myself spin into. Recognising that now may help me to realise when it is happening again and remind me to cling to my Father’s hand to pull me out of that swirling joy-sucking current. Thank you for that insight x

    • 4

      I’m printing your last paragraph and hanging it in my cubicle and in my home. Profound words indeed Laura! Thanks for commenting here.

    • 6
      Linda Gooch says:

      Thank you Ann and thanks Laura…loved the words that you both put out there for us. Spoke straight to my heart and my situation right now.

    • 7
      Valerie says:

      Ann – you have become a dear, dear friend as my resonates with the beautiful way you lay out your words. I am a cup half full girl in general and cling to hope in situations when most would have long given up, sometimes wondering about my sanity. But recent painful life experiences can send my thoughts spiraling downward these days. So I surround myself with the Word and also words from others, like yourself – and soon the spiraling downward stops and I am lifted once again above it all – leaning into His truths. I then end up smiling inside and out with the always brand new awareness of His amazing grace. And the joy & peace just follow on it’s heels.
      Laura – I concur. Do much of the same to create an atmosphere of just halting, stopping in my anxious tracks – and finding Him. I journal, I list, I prioritize – with Him leading. Drink the tea, smell the scents – and always, always find Him there. I love the simple yet profound truth in your choice in your choice of words. So thank you also, as well as Ann for sharing His grace, His goodness with me.
      What treasure I have found in this humble blog.

  2. 8

    The verse, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) fills me with truth and optimism when I am feeling pessimistic and worrying. My cup is never totally full in my power, but in Christ’s power, He fills me up. For me this is a constant struggle, but it keeps bringing me back to my power source.
    Relying on Christ…Blessings,
    Bev

  3. 10

    I was blessed to be raised by a mother who was an optimist. It was easy to grow up loving Jesus because she made loving Jesus look like the best thing in the world. All of her children grew up loving Jesus. She always looked at the bright side of everything and smiled often. It is a wonderful way to live.

    • 11
      Marilyn says:

      Do you have a specific example of how she did that? Thanks

      • 12
        Tiffany says:

        I love this example of your beautiful Mama and her love for Jesus…making Him look like the best thing in the world to her children…with her joy and smiles. You are blessed to have her. I am raising four children and these are encouraging words as my babes are always watching their Mama…I want them to hunger for Jesus! Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you~

    • 13

      I am also blessed to have been raised by an optimistic mom. She always told us, “There is ALWAYS a reason to thank God”. She was divorced w/3 kids under the age of 6 and looking back now, I know it was extremely difficult for her. We were poor but we (kids) never knew it. She worked 3 jobs, w/out husband or family support. “God will provide”…..was another thing she always reminded us. AND HE ALWAYS DID! I don’t remember a lot since I was the baby of the 3, but I remember a time when all we had to eat was 1 egg. She thanked God for that egg and filled our little tummies with a single scramble egg. We were full and even happy. Her trust in God was so joyful. I’m sure it wasn’t easy….at all. But she took what she did have…..faith in God and fed us…w/HIM! He was her Strength, He was her Source. It’s amazing how she was able to look at Him and not at her situation.
      She has not had an easy life, but you would never know. She doesn’t complain, she only finds reasons to thank God. My favorite verse is Prov 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine”. I like to say a “thankful” heart is good medicine b/c I KNOW that is how my mom lives. It is such a humble privilege to be her daughter. I have witnessed “physical faith” through my mom all my life. She has survived breast cancer, ovarian cancer, the horrific suicide of her father (in our home), just to name a few. And with each, she found a reason to thank God. When my brother was 30, he was shocked from a power line, it caused sever brain damage. He is unable to speak or even think. When they brought him home from the hospital, I remember her thanking God that she was “retired and could take care of him”. My selfish thoughts were, “she would never hear his voice again, she would never feel his arms around her. She will never see him become a husband or a dad” …..but her thoughts were of praise. Praise to her God who will provide what she needs to take care of him.
      I will leave you with one last experience; 3 years after my brother’s accident, my sister was diagnosed w/leukemia. Seven months later we stood around her hospital bed as she was dying. Though my mom said nothing, I could hear her heart bellowing through her tears, “God, please take me instead”. That wasn’t His plan, my sister died.
      My mother didn’t say a word. It was 4 in the morning when we got home from the hospital. My dad went upstairs and my mom and I sat alone in the dark….in the silence. All I could hear were her tears. I was crushed for her…I silently asked God, “Why my mom Lord? Why 2 of her kids? Hasn’t she been through enough?” And then, the most profound moment of my entire life happened. In the most painful, darkest hour of my mom’s life, she broke her silence with this….”Well, we need to thank God, He could have taken her at 5 instead of 36″. Oh my. Her very first words after losing her first born child, were thanks. I was humbled and encouraged FOREVER. She is amazing to me.
      Giving thanks is how she breathes and lives. Giving thanks gives her the strength to get out of bed and live joyfully. I know that I know that I know….”A thankful heart is good medicine”! And as my mamma says, “There is always a reason to thank God”. It may not be easy or pain free, but God promises, it will sustain you!

      And as Ann Voskamp says, “Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo”!

      • 14

        Love hearing your Mama’s story. Thanks for sharing it.

      • 15

        Wow! The story of your mom moved me to tears. How easy it is to be self absorbed and look inward. I pray that what you shared will be quickly brought to mind when I want to whine & fuss.
        May I always be thankful!
        Thank you for sharing.

  4. 16

    I was raised in a pessimistic family and therefore turned out a pessimist which eventually led to discontent and depression. By God’s grace He has been working on this area of my life the past couple of months. When something seems too big and overwhelming or crushing, it probably is. So I give it to Jesus to carry. I tell Him I’m entrusting it to His care because I know His plan will be better in the end. For the small stuff, that can quickly add up to big stuff, I try to act the opposite of how I’m feeling. If I’m sad or worn down I smile and sing a hymn, if I’m tired I do something with vigor. As funny as it seems you really do have more control over your emotions and thoughts than first believed.

    • 17
      Melissa says:

      This comment was very helpful! My emotions and thoughts are so big and overwhelming they take over…but you’re right…We have more control over them than firts believed. I will be working on trying to act the opposite of how I feel for the small stuff and trust Jesus to carry the weight of the big stuff…and trusting His process and plan for me.

    • 18
      julie e. says:

      Callie, I hear your words, was raised a pessimist myself, and spend too much time hating that. Am constantly reminding myself that God is working out His plan in our lives. Unfortunately it is a generational issue, so I pray a lot for my kids and grandkids. Lots of times it’s hard to see the “full glass”, but I love the analogy, and want to believe it!! Soooo thankful to finally believe that He does love us! Thanks for your words.

    • 19

      Keep at it , Callie! Like you, I grew up in a truly pessimistic family, filled with fear and full of criticism. Read these wise, wise words, memorize those scriptures, and keep doing just what you’re doing . I can testify that God has finally turned this around in my life and he will do it for you.

    • 20
      Shannon says:

      I too, was raised in a negative home and that negativity has been passed down a couple generations. Recently I have learned how to take control over my emotions, instead of letting them control me (like they have for nearly 3 decades!). I would love to support others in finding this revelation of canceling the sins of our past generations and not allowing them to have a part in our life. I am now free from depression, soul ties, fibromyalgia pain, chronic fatigue, fear, anxiety attacks, panic attacks and much more. Yahweh has filled me with peace…that passes understanding! If you would like to know more, please go to http://www.restoringlivesinternational.com/ and register to attend the conference in October! Blessings and Shalom.

  5. 21

    Oh Ann…you’ve been in my head again. Up all night stewing over a work situation, desperate for change but nothing I can do. And then these words: “When we fixate on the worst in something, we render ourselves incapable of fixing anything.” Yes. So today, I’ll fixate on Jesus, and choose to move on with grace that only He can give me.

    • 22
      Beth Williams says:

      AMEN Crystal!@ I am right there with you on the work situation. I have turned it over to God & His complete control!!

    • 23

      I liked that quote so much that I put it on my facebook page! That is such a true statement and I have been up nights lately worrying about my job, my girls, life in general and a lot of the times it is so hard to give it up to God…I think I am so accustom to feeling like I always get the worst of thing I don’t let God bring in the best. I’m working on changing that.

  6. 24

    Love this post, Ann! This verse helps me whenever I am feeling overwhelmed… “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

    HIS unforced rhythms of grace… ♥

  7. 27

    Ann,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts….you so beautifully allow God to speak through you and what follows is the weaving of a much needed perspective into the fabric of my life! I was just praying for a heart that sees God’s child in everyone….thank you and Thank God for this!

    Mae

  8. 28

    Oh Ann….yes! The glass is “right full” and I wish that I could say that I see it this way all the time. Fact is, I struggle. On the outside I wear a smile and try to be encouraging to all…but, often the desires and thoughts I have inside can steal my joy. So I turn it over to Him in praise and song that lifts my heart as nothing else can and joy smiles back.

  9. 30

    In regards to my children, I have discovered that if I choose to look for the best in them, the not-so-good stuff becomes easier to deal with. I choose to look for their strengths and the delightful things about them and verbalize it. I just have this theory that when children know for certain that they are special and loved, the good behavior will outweigh the bad. Of course there is still bad behavior that needs to be disciplined, but I try really really really hard to stay away from language like “You are such a *insert negativity here*” because they are NOT those things. They’re not perfect but they are a blessing and a delight and nothing will ever change that, and I want them to know that is how Mommy always, always feels about them even when we have difficult days.

    • 31
      Marilyn says:

      Beautiful

    • 32

      Good stuff, Melissa. I have been missing the “right fullness” in my children, and choosing to see “emptiness” instead. Thanks for the reminder that I can choose to look for the best in them, and that verbalizing this to them can make all the difference!

  10. 33

    “Only those who believe in the beautiful — can collaborate in the miraculous.” Amen and hallelujah!

  11. 34

    Just last night I spoke at the jail about Money Matters and we used the glass half full or half empty example in our conversation. Wishing I had read this yesterday to share that even when the glass seems empty, it is full. Brilliant Spirit writing, Ms. Ann.

    The days I’m feeling like my glass is low? I read His word, pray, sing. Repeat. (And sometimes, read posts like this too.)

  12. 35

    When I am really feeling down, something that I always make a point to read is You Will Fly Again by Melody Ross: http://melodyross.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/you-will-fly-again.html

    Also, love the song Nothing is Wasted by Jason Gray

    • 36
      Shelley says:

      Christina, thank you for sharing this link – beautiful, uplifting.

      Ann, what a timely and lovely perspective. Praying that my parenting and life can come from a glass right full.

      For those moments when the glass just doesn’t feel full, music full blast to dance with my littles, listening to the song Blessings by Laura Story, a word of encouragement from a friend or sister, being outside in the fresh air all help to restore a fresh outlook.

  13. 37

    Thank you for this post Ann. I take a walk and talk with God out loud. I process everything by verbalizing anyway so talking it out with God helps. It helps even more if I listen to Him. Not the easiest thing for me.

  14. 38

    I loved this one!! I am a pessimist by nature and a bit of a control freak so I have to remind myself constantly to let God handle it and try not to worry about everything! I keep Proverbs 3 : 5-6 at close hand, ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways ackowledge him and he will make you paths straight.” And thank you for reminding me that my glass is always full!

  15. 39
    Tammy EL says:

    I’ve seen ugly. I’ve seen broken. I’ve lived both. I live both. And yet, I believe God is not a liar. He tells the truth. When I have believed the worst, the ugliest, the negative…I ask, “is that True?” He always answers. His answers are, “I can redeem. I see beauty. I am the Truth.”

    My ultimate question I have to answer in the midst of pessimism is, “do I believe God is a liar?” It sounds absurd to word it this way, but it shifts my human eyes to reveal His eternal eyes.

    God is good all the time. Do I have the faith to accept that Truth and be grateful for it? Yes! Optimism is a choice.

    The hardest prayer I have is to ask God to see myself and others as He sees us.

    I love your words Ann. I love your heart even more.

    • 40
      Colleen says:

      Tammy thank you for your response! I try to ask myself “who is Jesus?” When life is hard. You have said everything right here! This is who He is :)
      And as always I love Ann!!

    • 41
      Anonymous says:

      This is beautiful, hard work! Thanks for sharing!

  16. 42

    There is a song called “All Things New” by Andrew Peterson that resets my heart every time. “Rise up o you sleeper awake, the light of the dawn is upon you…” Remembering the Light always chases away the dark.

  17. 43

    I am taking a big step towards living more “fully”. I am jumping off facebook this summer and instead “writing on the walls of my kids hearts” and “requesting their friendship” each and every day :) Heres a link to the rest of the story…

    http://tryingnot2blink.com/2013/05/23/why-a-facebook-vacation-is-the-first-one-im-packing-for/

    thank you Ann for always inspiring me – what a gift you are :)

    Love Heidi

  18. 44

    For me, it’s remembering the Christians around the world who live under persecution that helps me realize how very blessed I am. When I’m taking a hot shower (I LOVE hot showers!), I often think of the veteran missionary to Papua, New Guinea, Darlene Rose, who became a Japanese prisoner of war during WWII for YEARS before getting to enjoy a hot shower again. There is always someone worse off than I am! I also quote parts of Psalm 103 to myself when I am tempted to negativity… “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not His benefits…” :)

  19. 45
    Danyalle says:

    I love this. And I need to be reminded on a reg. bases that I can be an optimist, because of Jesus in my life.

  20. 46

    Feeling overwhelmed by fear and doubt are fairly frequent events for me. BUT, I’ve gotten better by being in constant conversation and prayer with Jesus. I rarely hear Him speak to me (unfortunate) but it gives me strength to remember that He is good, He is my true Dad who loves me, for me, and He doesn’t want me to be afraid or worry. All things work together for the good, for those who love Him… My glass will always be half full. <3

    • 47

      Hello Heidi,
      I have felt like you too. I rarely heard the Lord speak to me. But a sweet mentor of mine reminded me of the importance of taking time to be still, quiet and just listen during my prayer time. (Perhaps you already do this. I don’t know.) But I know I wasn’t doing it! It took time to learn how to discipline my mind to stay still and focus on the Lord, meditate on Him, and then….slowly….but surely….I began to hear Him speak to me consistently. My prayer time was revolutionized! I was so excited to pray. “What is He going to tell me today?” I wondered with joyful expectation.

      I am so thankful to her that she taught me that prayer is meant to be a two way communication tool. I was just never giving God a word in edgewise. =) But nobody had taught me to do it any differently.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      In Him,
      Helen

  21. 48

    This is sheer brilliance. It’s as if you put into words all I’ve ever thought, hoped, and/or wondered about optimism and pessimism. The glass always being right full- wow, what a concept. And from a weather textbook!

    I am printing this post out to read over and over, for often I am the only one whispering a prayerful “yes” when others close to me are wearing wounded, dented, worried armor and threaten to clothe me with it as well. I have always believed that the one whispering “yes” was the one with the advantage – even if the advantage was being a little crazy but yet a lot optimistic.

    This is one of my favorite lines from above- “Every step towards something beautiful already accomplishes something beautiful. Beauty and joy are found in every overcoming along the way.” I want that needlepointed on a pillow, painted on the walls of my home and hung on my fridge. Love it!

  22. 49
    Holly Miller says:

    Speaking truth to myself from His word. Words that give life and give it abundantly!! Putting on praise music, singing, dancing for the joy that is within me. Writing and giving thanks even for the hard things, the things that are molding and shaping me to be more like Christ.

  23. 50

    Worship always brings my heart back around to the truth – God is all I really need, & He is more than enough! When He fills me, I have the blessed opportunity to overflow His love, grace & hope to a world in desperate need – starting at home. I have those days, too, many of them as I strive to reach the goals He’s put in my heart. BUT GOD is always there even when we don’t go to Him – He reaches out to us. Loved this post & your ministry, your devotional book is getting me through a big deadline season, thank you!

  24. 51

    You are such an inspiration! I love your writing and how honest and raw it is. I am usually an optimistic person but I have been hurting this week, looking for answers. Anytime I am struggling I turn to this song my Matthew West…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knuHDPbE5es. I know I can get through anything and do anything because He is strong enough.

  25. 52
    Beth Williams says:

    I see the glass half empty…but just then I write down or think of my many many many blessings God has given me & realize my glass is full! :) My hubby tends to be somewhat a pessimist at times & I need to remind him of our blessings compared to others around us!

    One song I truly love is “God is in Control” by Point of Grace. Years ago when I was going to my hubby’s house alone for dinner–I was scared silly. Driving down the road God put this song on the radio. As soon as I heard (and shouted) the chorus “God is in Control”–all fear left me and I was content to leave the event in His hands!

    Love your writing!

  26. 53

    I am often criticized for seeing the glass….not just half full….but flowing over….even in the rough times of life….with several loved ones dying with cancer…..my cousin that I grew up with…younger than me….that recently passed away…and shouldn’t have…..but I see the blessings in these tough times….the one with cancer who came back to the Lord and closely walks with Him…..the grandmother with cancer who will sit in the car until it’s time for her grandson to “walk” at graduation tonight….then she’ll get out of the car to see him….we pray she is strong enough…I am thankful for the love the family has….to get her there….to see him “walk.” ….and my cousin, who passed away last week, but this has prompted the family to have a reunion that we haven’t had in 30 something years…..blessings in the storms…. And I have MS….Multiple Sclerosis…but the bright spot is I finally get to be a stay-at-home-mom….even though the children are grown and away from home…and I can do my art, read, and slow down in life…..I was way too busy….so the blessings always make my glass flow over……Thank you so much for your blogs….you really have no idea how they touch my heart and let me see God….. Jan

    • 54

      …continued.

      …so the criticisms come because those closest to me think I am not realistic….a realist…..but I believe I am “real” with our Father……. Jan

  27. 55

    My granddaughter when she just began putting words together replied this way when I (and others) told her I loved her: “So much.” She didn’t sat the words I or love or you before the “so much.” I am not sure if the two year was saying that I loved her so much or she loved me so much. And didn’t it really matter because every time she said it was like a sacred echo from Another Person who is so much more that we often let Him be. We fill our glasses with less than. Will we ever understand how much Christ wants us to pour out so He can pour in? Thank you for this grace encouragement in the days when scarcity seems to speak the loudest.

  28. 56

    There are so many verses that speak to me when I’m discouraged. But my all time favorite is Zephaniah 3:17: The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Being reminded that God delights in me and rejoices over me always fills my heart with peace and joy.
    Thank you for your encouragement today. As I have been struggling with discouragement over my own daughter’s algebra grades and wondering if my kids will be followers of Christ, it is helpful to know I’m not alone. And to be reminded of my favorite verse. God knew I needed it today!

    • 57

      Oh, thank you for that reminder. I love that verse and have now added it to my Scripture Typer to memorize.

  29. 58

    It seems the glass is always full to me. And it’s because, by God’s grace, when I was younger I had an amazing period of time when I was able to just seek after Jesus Christ like a maniac and I was able to empty myself and allow Him to fill me.

    I’m so, so, so grateful for that time and – He is SO good.

    When things are dark, it seems that when I remember He delivered me out of sin (because that experience/those experiences are indelible) – that’s one thing that helps me see the light and keeps me going. And, when I hear/read the testimonies of others – that’s another thing.

    And I appreciate the encouragement from ministers like Mike Bickle, to “gaze upon the beauty” of Jesus Christ, as He is portrayed throughout the Bible. and as I pray.

    And – God is just so good and faithful and loving.

    When I struggle with having faith, I ask Him to give me faith, and He does in some small, miraculous way – because He said that when I ask Him for a good gift – when I ask the Good Father for a good gift – he will give it. God will give the good gift of deliverance from sin to me. God will give the good gift of faith to me. God will give the good gift of strength to me. If I ask Him. And He has and does, and it’s because of those experiences and times, that’s what keeps me going.

    He keeps me going.

  30. 59

    Ann, as always your writing touches me. I fear I am an optimist married to a pessimist. Does that equal Godliness? I’m not sure. Dealing with fibromyalgia tends to hold me back. But I love, love, love taking that step of faith (like attending youth camp) and seeing God being my strength through it all. And I love your phrase “right full”!! The glass right full of air reminds me of the body right full of the Spirit. We can’t see either, but we KNOW He’s in us there displacing sin, filling us right full. I love you, sister in Christ!

  31. 60

    I love this. I am a worrier – down to my very marrow. Everything is worth the worry!!! But really my worrying only backs me further into a corner and makes the mad and doubt sink dreams. I love this idea of being full of Christ to push back the doubt. There has been on verse this year that has brought me through some of my hardest doubt.

    Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance—
    all who seek the Lord!
    Consider the rock from which you were cut,
    the quarry from which you were mined. (Isaiah 51:1 NLT)

    This verse reminds me so much of this “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

    Thank you for these words today – at a time when change is happening in our house and my gaze needs to be smack dab in the centre of Him!

  32. 61

    This helps me… Jason Gray – Remind Me Who I Am (Official Music Video) … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSIVjjY8Ou8&sns=fb

  33. 62

    The Lord is my strength and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

    Ps. 27:1 Thank you Ann

  34. 63

    Thanks Ann…..for helping me remember.
    And for pointing me to Christ always.
    I wake up 2 sleeping teens this morning (school day off) and say
    “today I’m going to enjoy my life!”
    Also 1 newly graduated University student with no job.
    Today ! I ‘m going to enjoy my life and live expectantly in Christ!

  35. 64

    thank you for this post….its been quite stressful in my household lately..but i try to remember this motto: “Even a long dangerous journey can be faced confidently when God is leading the expedition.” This is from my current daily bible studies that i am trying to keep God MORE FIRMLY in my daily life..

  36. 65
    Julie B says:

    Having a rough week – this was good medicine Ann. Since I was a teen this verse has been my comfort in times of worry: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)” Thanks for the reminder that my glass is right full!

  37. 66

    This was a beautiful and inspiring post Ann.

    “Footprints In The Sand” has always been a very uplifting poem to me.

    Penny

  38. 67

    I love this…….I am an optimist because I know all things work together for the good of those of love Christ Jesus…..however there are times when my optimism is tested….and that time is now. Going through a difficult time right now and the two versus that keep me encouraged are Psalms 103: 1- 3 ….one of praise and then Psalms 91: 1- 2. Your are so encouraging….thanks for making my day brighter and giving a different perspective on how to remain optimistic through Christ Jesus.

  39. 68
    Heather G. says:

    If I’m in a pessimistic environment, it’s easy for me to shine–to be different, I don’t know why. However, if I’m honest with myself, my pessimism is my downfall most days. He’s playing in the bathroom, she’s dawdling in the hallway in sleepy pajamas and no one is getting ready for the day–we’re going to be late and it’ll look bad on me. Thank you for your words, today–and always, Ann. :)

    • 69
      Darla R. says:

      This is me also!!! I am trying very hard not to be so negative at home. I need to be the same @ home as I am every where else, my kids should get my very best attitude, not just the people outside of my home. I want them to grow up with a positive attitude.

  40. 70

    Ah Ann, God has gifted you mightily with the skill to write so beautifully and convey a concept so completely. You bless my heart every time I read the words that flow through you from our Father. This topic is so so timely with all the fear and devastation that surrounds us. We have hope and a future! Thank you!

  41. 71

    Oh my, did I ever need this today, God’s words to me through your blessed little fingers typing. My nature is to see the glass not only empty but broken and my fault. I have resolved many times not to live and die like my father, perpetually filled with “if only’s” and “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s”. And he had hard life reasons for those. I don’t, I am immensely blessed. But I dig down deep and look inward and feel justified in my despair. But then God… :) He always, always shows that He is there and He cares, sometimes through small, sweet joys, sometimes though reprimanding lessons. I look back at all the altars I’ve built to His faithfulness over the years, and I am reminded that this is the shadow, eternity is the reality. In all the ways that really matter, it is okay, because I am His. Philippians 4:6-7 has become one of my favorite verses, to remind myself to turn to God first, in everything.

    • 72
    • 73

      I know what you mean, Terri! I see the glass not only empty but broken and my fault. That so describes every day for me. And I also resolve over and over not to live and die like my mother did with all the “if only’s” and “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s”. Why is it so hard to think any other way? But I try to remind myself that Satan is the one who is accusing me, and so all the more reason to listen to God, who is calling me to Himself… to a life of faith and joy. And when I do break the glass, that His mercies are new every morning, so I can start again fresh each day and forget the “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s”. Now if I can just remember that when I wake up tomorrow morning!!!

  42. 74
  43. 75

    Sitting by a pool of water watching our son fill buckets and buckets of water. I sit in my bathing suit…reluctant to get in. The water is cold. Oh, but to be a child. They enjoy the filling. Our glasses are so full! Off to play in the water. By the way…I tend to see the glass as half empty…by nature…by Spirit living…I see fullness!

  44. 76

    I was feeling a bit “overwhelmed” by life today…
    Many, many responsibilities pulling at my life…
    I read His Word. His Peace stilled my heart. A fellow saint penned a thought and shared it.
    ” My Father,
    I will anchor my self, my thoughts, and my will in these facts:
    You are.
    You rule in heaven and on earth.
    You call me “righteous” because I am in Jesus, Your Son,
    No matter what it may seem, I will stand firm forever.”
    Amy Carmichael
    (An excerpt from my devotional bible)

    And now…. I am encouraged again by another friend…. thanks for seeing the glass full, Ann.
    Tammy in Florida

  45. 77

    Honestly…….most days I “feel” like I have to make a choice to fight hard to see Christ’s goodness and hope amidst so much suffering. I fight really really hard to keep my mind and heart set on on the things of Him……His kindness, His goodness, His forgiveness, His joy, His companionship…..
    This world, my own flesh, and the enemy will try real hard to suck the life of Christ right out of you….before anything has even happened!! I just constantly talk to the Lord and ask him to give me eyes to experience His best for me that day. I have my chair, my readings, my journal…..and my tears. Because honestly, I want to live hopeful and happy and free!! In my heart, I really do want those things!
    blessings ~

  46. 78
    Colleen Comito says:

    I was angry not a moment ago…..I read a response from a dear one and all that filled by “glass” was how pessimistic my dear one is, ….and if truth be told, I am just like him!

    I sat down at my laptop and was about to fire off a laundry list of all the things he complains about, and all that he should be thankful for……me as well……

    When.

    I saw InCourage in my Inbox and decided to sit a moment and read it…..
    Not three lines down did it take for me to recognize the beautiful gift of your writing Ann, and how God uses you to speak to my heart…..

    My desire to lash out at my dear ones NO to the world…always and forever like that was and is still mine….

    I am feeling frightened right now…….floundering….just retired and still in a cast…looking at the world through an empty glass….yet…knowing deep on my heart that I am not….

    That my glass is indeed full to overflowing ALL of the time …with Jesus, My One Love, My Savior……the world will tell me I am a failure for retiring at 61…..the world will tell me that I can’t write and should not try……and these eyes that were looking through the empty glass of the world…..fell upon the Word…..”It is I, Do not be afraid:, (John:6 v 20 NAB)

    If I am crazy in love with the One Love, Jesus…..the glass is always full, no matter how often during the day He asks me to pour out His loving, life giving water to others.

    Going to e-mail my dear one and invite him to take a sip of the glass I hold in my hand that is filled up with Jesus!

    Everything is Grace!

  47. 80

    Through a Glass Darkly
    We’ve heard the question
    Is the glass half empty is it half full
    But have you considered
    Something wonderful

    We don’t always see
    What’s right in front of our nose
    Because the glass is always full
    With air, it overflows

    And this is a scientific fact
    But faith with teach you too
    When you believe that there is more
    Than you can plainly view

  48. 81
    Amanda Dolinger says:

    This was so timely, Praise Him, He always sends what we need when we need it! I grew up with a lot of negativity and turned into quite the sourpuss myself. Christ is the only reason my disposition has changed in the least!! Songs by Tim Timmons perk me up and help me to see things in a better light, especially the song “Starts with Me.”

  49. 82

    I slow down to calm down, if I can remember to! I love that- you making beauty by picking up one Lego. It is in the slow and patient that we are able to fill our cups with something good to swallow. When we rush- and how can we avoid it when we are mothers? But when we rush we dump the cup. Times of slow are so important so we can remember hope.

  50. 83

    Why are you cast down, o my soul. Why are you disquieted within me? Put your hope in God, for I will YET praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalm42:5, 11; 43:5
    Whom have I in heaven besides you, God? There is nothing on earth that I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26. 2 Scriptures that always help me see things as God does!

  51. 84

    It’s funny that you wrote about the “worst-case scenario,” because I’m naturally wired that way & have had to really focus on changing it. Pessimism & martyrdom has been handed down in my family from generation to generation, and I can tell that I’m starting to go down that road when everything begins to be about me (at least in my mind). In my world, everything starts to feel like it’s going wrong, even with God there! Sometimes I catch it myself, and sometimes it’s my husband or friends that gently remind me that “it’s just not all about me.” That wakes me up to the big picture again, and I’m able to step back and put God & me & life in our proper places (he’s big, I’m small, life’s temporary & heaven’s eternal). Then I can be secure & grateful again! :)

  52. 85

    “Right full” – yes, indeed. Most especially when our God is in that oh-so-rightful place of ascendance and transcendence in our lives. “The LORD is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14 – since I was about 14 years old, my verse, my hope, my truth, my life. Thank you for this powerful and lovely reminder.

  53. 86

    I am just about finished reading your book 1000 gifts!! What a life changing book it has been for me. I’ve cried, laughed and lots of times have felt the same way. Christ is the only way!!! I’m a negative Nellie. Not as much as I use to be!! I found how my negative thoughts start the worry and the worry moves me to anxiety and anxiety moves me to panic moves me to agrophobia!!! Took that trip to many times and don’t want to anymore. So I try to nip my negatism in the bud now. How I do that is I listen to praise and worship music!! I pray scripture and I have a verse that I repeat over and over again. Its a well know verse but until I actually memorized it and prayed it out I never found the peace I longed for from Jesus. Its in Philppians 4:6-9. Don’t worry about anything;instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds as you live in Jesus Christ. 8 and now dear brothers and sister, one final thing. (Here comes the answer). Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and praise worthy. 9Keep putting into practice all you learn and received from me-everything you heard from me or saw me doing. The the God of peace will be with you. Isn’t that a great verse!! So I take out a pen and I ask myself what is true and honorable, right and so forth. It really works so well. I also listen to Casting Crowns At His Feet. And Point of Grace Fearless Heart!! I could relate to so much to what you wrote about in this today Ann!! My mind still goes to the negative first but after awhile or sometimes right away I put into practise what I just wrote. Some times it takes me awhile to get there. I love the science experiement with the glass. I’m going to do that with my 7 year old grandson. Help him to fight off the glass being 1/2 full or empty!! Keep on doing what you do Ann!! You are such a beautiful person of God!!!

  54. 87
    Melanie Grace says:

    Today my glass is right full. Thank you for helping me realize this. As I picked up my journal to reflect on what I just read and record quotes from you I wanted to remember… I notice .
    The scripture as the bottom of the page … Psalm 90:17(NKJV) And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. And His Word takes me back to yours, “Only those who believe the beautiful—Can collaborate in the miraculous.”
    But, He didn’t stop here. He sent me on a “look-up”. I found that the word collaborate in it’s Latin root means…to labor together. This is huge–to me–personally! Thank you, Ann for writing words from an honest place. For taking me to that place and helping me hear Him speak. Yes, my glass is right full. Always. From this time forward.

  55. 88
    Karen Guthrie says:

    Ann, As always beautiful words to quiet a troubled heart. Thank you so much for showing me God and the miraculous in all the small things.

    I find the glass most often half full. When I don’t, if I can begin to pray praise, sing praise, breathe praise, then the joy filters back into my soul and my life. I fail often. I close my eyes to God’s grace, but by his mercy He draws me back to the place of joy. It is impossible to complain or whine — both totally selfish actions — when I fill my mouth with praise instead.

  56. 89

    This song echoes in my heart what you wrote: “I hear the Savior say, thy strength, indeed, is small. Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all….Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain…He washed it white as snow.”
    Thanks, Ann, for the worst case scenario…watching and praying to find my all in all in Him.

  57. 90

    Well, this one’s getting printed out and going to be tucked in my bible for eternity! This is a life changing concept, Ann! THANK YOU for listening to God’s urging to write this, I doubt you have no idea the impact it has on soooo many. I AM your Grandma except I see the glass as not half empty, not half full, I usually see it as NOT THERE! A pretty darn scary and shameful outlook, don’t you think? And I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years. Pssh. Wow. I’m totally convicted and blown away. I’ve gathered all my hurts and injustices and fears and knitted them together into a big, ugly mess and I wear them like a shabby overcoat. It is my badge of suffering. I can’t thank you enough for this. Honestly, God is going to use this to change my life. God Bless You and your family.

  58. 91

    I am so glad to be able to shy that my glass is full and overflowing! Spending time with God and reading Jesus Calling every morning,helps keep me in His presence. I admit that there are days that I really feel the pull to not keep my eyes on Him,but those days are so awesome because I feel Him holding me. The song that is speaking to my soul right now is “Ten Thousand Reasons” By Matt Redman. Love this song! Blessings to you all!

  59. 92
    Valerie says:

    This is sitting below my monitor at work, it’s been an overwhelming few months and this has been my anchor:
    “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” ~ Lamentations 3:21-22

  60. 93

    Your words, they bless.

    From a mom right here, right full.

    :)

  61. 94
    Kimberly says:

    For a bad, blah, sad, mad, crazy, rushed, anxious, restless, etc., I put on Hillsong and praise and worship. Instantly, I’m caught up in Him and I become less and less. :) Thank you for sharing all that you do. My friends and I have been so encouraged by the words that always point us to our Lord.

  62. 95

    I listen to “You Have Me” – a song from the band Gungor. Best song in the world. Basically says that no matter where your life goes (even when you “make you’d bed in hell”) He is there.

  63. 96

    Absolutely perfect post….just what I needed!
    Thank you Ann.

  64. 97

    http://youtu.be/Eym833fy8Uc

    The link above is to the Divine Mercy Song that Elizabeth Foss posted in her blog. I sing this over and over every day. Amazing how it keeps me focused!

  65. 98

    Thank you so much for your words. All the ladies comments. It touches my heart.

  66. 99

    Some of my go to verses…actually read them this morning and then prayed them again when I started worrying about something: Habakkuk #:17-18 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

    • 100

      Thank you Sally for the reminder of this verse – I sung it in youth group as a teen, and occasionally since, but not for a while. Humming it over as I head into the afternoon’s tasks…and letting it feed me with its courage.

  67. 101
    Barb Grams says:

    Dear Ann, i have been reading your posts for almost a year and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart sister in Christ! I love your REALNESS and I love the encouragement because lets face it ,We can ALL use hope! Again this morning I came to drink in the words and here it is a full cup already.The last 7 years have been tough and although I have a good sense of humor and a childs heart , I still grow weary at times. I LOVE my savior and know His plan is best and yet sometimes my memory falls short. I get stuck in the mud of everyday life and need a lift out, a fellow sojourner who can grab my hand and pull hard and say “Look! He is the MASTER! HE knows what He is doing even if everything seems upside down! He is GOOD! You can TRUST Him always and in everything! ” I already know it but somedays seem overwhelming and i feel like I am running backwards when what I want is to run the race to win for him……Grace.Amazing grace……God says to Be still and know that He is God and my heart quiets and I know….I know that He is truly in control Thankyou. Praying for Gods will with your farm and crops….Can’t wait to meet you someday in heaven. Blessings….

  68. 102
    Charlotte Orth says:

    I love this post! It gave me a new way of looking at things and I will be saving it to read over again. When I am feeling pessimistic, I like to sing “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles and it cheers me up.

  69. 103

    Dearest Ann,
    Your writing always touches my heart, I’m so grateful for this opportunity to tell you how much you have helped me! I am an optimist married for 38 years to a pessimist. He always sees the storm, while I wait for the rainbow. I’m often criticized for having that “Pollyanna” attitude. We have our share of “stuff” going on, as I struggle with Fibromyalgia, and he has stage 4 kidney failure, we lost our home to bankruptcy and struggle something fierce with finances. But what helps me so much is my gratitude list everyday, also a dear friend once told me that “God will never take me where His grace cannot save me”. Yes, we have stuff going on, but right here, right now, God has given us everything we NEED! Wants and needs are very different!!! God is good all the time.
    Thank you Ann for your posts, I look forward to them.
    Lisa

  70. 104

    Beautiful!
    Thank-You

    Links are on my page.
    http://www.facebook.com/LoveNevaFails7

  71. 105

    OMG, BEAUTIFUL! I am tearing up here! It always was right full of air. Gotta love it. That one is gonna stick with me. We may have to o a science experiment around here this weekend! Thank you!

  72. 106

    When the dark and heavy threaten to replace the light and airy I remind myself of Matthew 28:20b “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” I can be SURE Christ is with me ALWAYS, even to the VERY end.

  73. 107

    Just want you to know you have grabbed my heart on this one!

    I would hope that my glass is never seen but that the content within is what catches the heart and eye of those around.

  74. 108

    The way this fits your metaphor – lovely.
    From Psalm 23 “…my cup overflows.
    Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…”

    By nature, I tend toward cheerfulness and I was blessed to grow up in a family where trust in God’s faithfulness was modeled well, but life has brought some years of long, hard, and often sorrow-filled, circumstances. Because I have found God always true and kind, on the days when fear crouches close I whisper these two (below) of His promises over and over until I sense it is Him speaking the very words, lovingly bringing me comfort and courage.
    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – His words for the present moment,
    and
    “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – His commitment to the way ahead.
    Thank you Ann, for writing words that always cause us to ponder deeply the way of Christ.

  75. 109

    This is so perfect for what I am going through! I have been ill for a year and a half now … it has turned my life upside down, but at the same time it has been a huge blessing. I really struggle with fear, especially, not knowing if this illness will ever leave my body. I need a lot of quite time with The Lord … I get on my knees, close my eyes, and I just wait for His gentle whispers. I always have this image in my head while kneeling there, me running to His throne and Him laying His healing hand on me! Two verses that give my heart so much peace are Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” and Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” …. so much peace!

  76. 110
    Jacqueline Bay says:

    When life swirls around me and I can hardly catch my breath as the sobs pour out of me with the news of a loved one in desperate need of prayer…..and as we walk away from the community we called our church home for a decade…and as we see the pains and hardships of those around us….THEN it sinks in….my cup is filled to overflowing. I am a natural optimist and don’t worry very much at all (much to my husband’s chagrin and delight) but it is when those storms come raging that He shows me that He truly is my all in all. When my heart is breaking, my eyes are streaming, my soul is crushed….my hope remains in Him. The Son shines through any cloud and brings the hope called this….”IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY”. This is all vapor, wisp, blip….in light of eternity with our risen Lord. Oh…we will feel the pains of this world but only for the shortest season of our eternal life.

  77. 111
    Angela Jester says:

    Hi Ann,
    I’ve never posted, but you have been one of my best friend’s for about 3 years (little did you know.) My kids laugh when I am referring to ‘Ann’ just like my friend next door. You have helped transform our family of seven into an excited, grateful bunch (in all our mess of course) with about 3500 entries so far. You encourage me to keep my glass half ‘full’ each and every day….thanks.
    Angie

  78. 112
    Janet Fehskens says:

    My mother is 92 years old and still the most optimistic person I’ve ever known, a right hard act to follow. Every morning she gets up, stretches, looks out the window and says, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
    I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition when I was 10 years old and have been fighting depression and ADHD ever since. The guilt I’ve felt over not begin “happy and optimistic” when I know I should be has been rather ruthless. My husband is a pastor and doesn’t understand why I don’t just “trust God” – when I do! I love and trust Him with my whole heart. However, I believe my medical condition has clouded my views of things, sometimes more than others. I’m grateful for medications that make things better and understanding people who know I struggle to be positive, happy and brave.
    Once when things were exceptionally tough and I was broken, the Lord held me closer than I’ve ever been. True eucharisteo occurred, such a blessed communion. At one point I told my adult daughter I almost wanted that to happen again so I could feel close to God again. Believe me, He answered my prayer. After that “go-round” and I was better, I truly thanked Him for the blessing of sitting on His lap. Speaking with my daughter after the fact, she said, “You know, Mom, God is a good parent. He’ll comfort you for as long as it takes, but after awhile, He’s ready for you to get off His lap and run and play!” Wise words from my girl. Praise you, Lord. Thank you, Anne, for this forum. Thank you for your book, which I’ve almost finished. Overflowing cups, God is good.

  79. 113

    Usually when I figure it is the end of the world and life is awful, the Lord reminds me to SLOW DOWN. Anytime I try to push on a situation to make it bend the way I want it to, I have to remember to let Him pull me in close and whisper in my ear to slow down. Nothing good done in my life was done in a rush. When I rush around frantically, my pessimistic attitude shines. When I slow down and I put it in in his hands (or He rips the situation from my hands that are unwilling to let go of it), He shines. Its much easier to be optimist when I remember I am not the one in control and I remember to thank him for everything, including the air in the glass (even thought I can’t see it, the air is in there).

  80. 114

    The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

  81. 115

    What makes me optimistic when pessimism is all around? David in the Psalms. Even when he seems to be at his worst, he manages to find something to be thankful about. And that helps me turn around too :)

  82. 116

    I have always measured my glass by what I had just before measuring, it is a matter of perspective. And, it is always a good day when that glass has enough in it to sustain me, that could be a drop or overflowing, again it is relative. I just have to believe and trust that whatever I have is more than I deserve and more than I truly need, because whatever I have is a gift. Even when my glass is empty, that is a gift.

  83. 117

    You, Ann. You “work” for me when life and love and patience and faith feel empty, or at most only half of what it could be, should be. Your words fill my cup to overflowing with grace and mercy and forgiveness and hope in those too many hopeless moments. I count you as a dearest friend. Thank you, for being you, for sharing life with me, and for always keeping before me the One who IS my Dearest, Best Friend.

  84. 118
    Crystal says:

    constantly restored by Christ working through you, Ann!! You help me to carve out a moment of change sitting before my computer! :) Thanks and keep watering the thirsty!

  85. 119

    As I struggle with a stubborn medical problem, I can focus on it relentlessly, seeing a half full glass. Reading this post and the comments left by such insightful readers has filled my glass to overflowing!

  86. 120
    Suzy Hillegas says:

    I had a very long and hard season several years ago. And the thought that got me through was the passage in Ecclesiastes that there is a season for each thing; laughing, crying, hoping, desparing, living, and dying. God so clearly showed me that the season for winter was long and hard, but that when there is a long winter there is a long spring to follow. And it has been true. God has given me a lovely season of spring that has refreshed and offered me new hope.

  87. 121

    When my father came to be with us as he lived out life in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, and I walked through the hospital halls to the geriatric psychiatric unit, the verse God gave me to cling to then and now ,”I would have despaired had I not seen the goodness of God in the land of the living.” And I saw the goodness of God in the land of Alzheimer’s.And when Daddy died his care taker told me that Daddy was the first man in her life to show her what Christian love looked like. For Dad continually wanted to put her first; give her his food, open doors for her, offer her his chair. She was Dad’s last good work planned from the foundation of the world, even with Alzheimer’s.

    • 122

      This is sooo beautiful – thank you.

    • 123
      Anonymous says:

      O Carol I too list my dad to Alzheimer’s . He a gentleman from head to toe….. And at the end of his life he showed me and family and even nurses and doctors what it looks like to have lived and died with his glass full to overflowing….. He was the eternal optimist . We are both blessed to have known gentlemen like this!!

  88. 124

    In John chapter 2 it tells the story of Jesus doing His first miracle. What I find amazing and comforting is that He chose to do His first miracle at a wedding of no importance and that His compassion compelled Him to provide”to the brim” water that He turned to wine. This was unnessisary but our God cares even about the “unnessisary”.

    I’ve always been a very optimistic person for the sake of others. I’ve mainly believed what I’ve said but at the same time I have struggled with fear. I’ve realized that fear is not trusting God and that the reason I can’t fully believe what I’m saying is because of that lack of trust. I made a decision to start giving thanks and taking the time to notice the every minute goodness of God. I can’t find the time to worry or be fearful when I’m busy noticing Him in everything around me. It has made me take the time to cook, bake, read and garden and do all the other stuff that I wanted to enjoy but thought I couldnt find time to in my busy life.

    Psalms 127:2 (Message)
    “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone, Don’t your know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves.”

  89. 125

    I’ve always been a very optimistic person for the sake of others. I’ve mainly believed what I’ve said but at the same time I have struggled with fear. I’ve realized that fear is not trusting God and that the reason I can’t fully believe what I’m saying is because of that lack of trust. I made a decision to start giving thanks and taking the time to notice the every minute goodness of God. I can’t find the time to worry or be fearful when I’m busy noticing Him in everything around me. It has made me take the time to cook, bake, read and garden and do all the other stuff that I wanted to enjoy but thought I couldnt find time to in my busy life.
    In the middle of my struggles God game me this verse to reassure me of How deeply He knows and understands me.
    Psalms 127:2 (Message)
    “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone, Don’t your know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves.”

  90. 126

    I am in the valley right now. I just “choose” to believe God…to have faith. And I pray “Lord, I believe. Help me with my unbelief.” I choose to refuse the fear that keeps wanting to haunt me. I remind myself that God is faithful. God IS faithful.

  91. 127

    I love the verse – count it all joy – when I’m down I start giving thanks for specific items in the circumstance, often I can’t get very many but it turns my face to God and that’s uplifting. I’ve heard that JHWH is the sound we make breathing. So every breath I take I’m speaking God’s name. I may have heard that here, I don’t remember:)

  92. 128

    I listen to songs like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-mKnY2HMXg

  93. 129

    I’m usually the optimist — the “glass-half-full” kinda girl. But at the lowest point of my life, when I just couldn’t see the way out, it was the song, “I Will Praise You In This Storm” that righted my focus and helped me regain my optimism. I am forever grateful for that song!

  94. 130

    Thank you – a very timely post as God has been dropping hints to me that this is so (pessimism is never helpful).
    P.S. My son is up to 6,700 thankfulness entries since starting in May 2011

  95. 131

    Ann, Thank you for sharing your heart. Your words are encouraging & always lead me back to the word of God. God Bless You!

    “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Thessalonians 5:18

  96. 132

    What always helps me at these times is that Our God is Sovereign i.e in absolute control and that Romans 8:28 says, and I believe what God says, that ALL things work together for good to those who love God , to those who are called according to His Purpose.

  97. 133
    Rita Lewis says:

    Thanks so much for this. I am the eternal optimist and almost an idealist. Often times I feel suffocated by those who are so negative. Keep writing and being the blessing that you are !!!

  98. 134

    I have struggled with negativity this week! What is really helping me is going back to writing a thankfulness list and also reflecting on how it is a childlike heart that will inherit the Kingdom of God. Not my works, not my good ideas, not being in control…you can read my reflections here http://www.claritywithcharity.com

  99. 135

    “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
    I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
    That soul, tho’ all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

    Traditional Hymn “How Firm a Foundation”

  100. 136

    Growing up with a family of pessimists, I’ve tried really hard to not be. Once I started to know Christ, I’ve taken on this saying “Some say their glass is half empty. Some say their glass is half full. Personally, I am a Psalm 23 kind of gal….my cup runneth over” :) Often it pours out over the table and onto the floor….

  101. 137

    Dear Anne,
    Thank you for this post. It ministered to me in so many ways.
    It is so funny because I have been trying to think about God and the Holy Spirit as the air that I breathe and need constantly. I am trying to breathe in His love and breathe out all my negativity. Eph 5:1-2 in The Message is so simple and clear and also blessed me.
    I just really want to say how grateful I am to you. God has used your honesty and sincerity and willingness to be vulnerable to strengthen me in God many times.
    Bless you,
    Susan

  102. 138

    Sorry, I spelled your name wrong!! I am really sorry. S

  103. 139
    April DeMoss says:

    Ann-
    We have just completed your 1,000 Gifts Study. It has been life-changing. For ALL of us. We are counting…. and counting. God has SO spoken through you to all of us! Thank you!
    My favorite song in the empty times’ is Forever Reign:
    You are good, You are good, when there’s nothing good in me.
    You are love, You are love, on display for all to see
    You are light, You are light, when the darkness closes in
    You are hope, You are hope, You have covered all my sin

    You are peace, You are peace, when my fear is crippling
    You are true, You are true, even in my wandering
    You are joy, You are joy, You’re the reason that I sing
    You are life, You are life, in You death has lost its sting

    You are more, You are more, than my words will ever say
    You are Lord, You are Lord, all creation will proclaim
    You are here, You are here, in Your presence I’m made whole
    You are God, You are God, of all else I’m letting go.

    Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms,
    The riches of Your love, will always be enough.
    Nothing compares to Your embrace,
    Light of the world, Forever Reign.

    My heart will sing, no other name, Jesus, Jesus!

  104. 140
    Amy Slocum says:

    Thank you. I was discouraged today because we are in a very confusing time of our lives. I want my own house, but God keeps changing things. I didn’t realize my desire for a house was greater than my desire for God until I read this. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  105. 141

    There is a wonderful song “in Christ alone my hope is found, He is my strength,my life,my song..this Cornerstone…..” Those are the words that I sing when I feel down. I lost my husband to cancer 2 years ago and I am 53. The struggle and grief has been intense but this year I decided to look for the blessings in life and it has changed my outlook and thinking. There is a time for grieving however there is also a time for giving thanks and slowly you begin to see that indeed the glass is not only full but overflowing!
    Thank you Ann for your insights and honesty.

  106. 142

    One of my favorite verses. Hebrews 13:2. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

  107. 143

    I’ve always been an optimist because I believe God’s best for me and because my mom and her side of the family were/are so negative!! (and they are Christians, too!!). Each day we breathe life is a day to embrace. And i sooooo didn’t wanna be like my mama. Which is probably the root reason I”m an optimist and trying to train up my girls to be so as well. Jar half full……er…right full…..full in Jesus. YES!

  108. 144

    Here is what I call to mind, these verses in Romans to remind me that Jesus is in heaven and He is sticking up for me! Amazing. Grace. Today when I am serving up my glass-this is what fills it. Thanks Ann!

    Romans 8:37-39
    The Message (MSG)
    31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

    They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
    We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
    None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

  109. 145

    Thanks for your heart-felt words, from one who is a default pessimist except when I have my eyes firmly focused on Christ. We are going through a long heart-breaking storm right now that is shaking our faith to its foundations. I pray for trust in God that transcends the dark that seems to be consuming my present. When I feel like my heart will break with the pain, I throw myself on the mercies of the Lord, pray Scripture, especially the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm, and listen to Christian music. I do this for as long as it takes for the pain of the emotions to ebb a bit. God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

    Romans 8:32
    “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” As Tim Keller says, “God will always give you what you would have asked for, if you knew everything He knows”. “His love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.”

    I have read through all the other comments here and have found some of the suggestions helpful. Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to comment and for those who have dared to say that they are struggling right now.

  110. 146

    Lately I’ve been thinking of my 20 year old self. I had no one and really no future. I often wondered what God could do with trash like me. Flash forward 20 years and I am blessed beyond belief. I occasionally get down now but reflection on what my Father has seen me through, with practically no effort of my own, lifts me up unbelievably. I never dreamt it could be this good.

  111. 147

    Just thank you. I’m waiting to see what God wants me to do next – and meanwhile feeling a little down. You remind me that God is with me through it all.

  112. 148
    Bridget says:

    Ann, you are such a blessing! I know everyone tells you that, but it’s so true. You, your books, your blog – are amazing. I really appreciate how honest you are. It helps me more than you can imagine.

    One song that helps tremendously when I am down is Happy Day by Jesus Culture. How can anyone sit still while listening to that song? Also, when things seem all wrong, I repeat over and over, “All is grace. All is grace. All is grace.”

  113. 149

    The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion in the streets!” Proverbs 26:13 This is my favorite pessimist verse right now. I can’t possibly go out and do that because there might be a “lion” out there.
    I am more of a “full glass” person, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had moments of negativity. I like the idea of placing a glass in plain view to remind me that it is “right full.” I did this during lent with Ann’s idea of a bowl with flour in it to draw a picture int as a reminder. Since Lent I have replaced the flour with a little communion set that my husband had. Now I think I will find a pretty glass to set there. Oh, yes, my Bible memory verses are on the same table.

  114. 150

    Hi Ann~
    I needed this today. My dad passed last month and, with the busyness of settling estate affairs, I’ve not stopped to ponder and pray. Grief has just begun to hit and, with it, comes worry and doubt for loved ones still here. I do tend to go to that worst case scenario place…it’s my nature to cope in this way…and, when I do, it’s ugly for a time but I always arise from the ashes with peace and strength to know that God is still there and always will be. Raising my “right full” glass to words of encouragement, Ann~

  115. 151

    Former optimist here… Trying to regain a half full perspective.

    Thanks for this!!!

  116. 152

    Negativity and pessimism have such a way of snowballing and multiplying as soon as we let any of those thoughts stick in our mind, it takes recognizing them at the onset and the pull they have and putting our foot down and stopping the flow of negativity.

    I have to stir myself to take my eyes off the situation and remind myself what scripture says about God and who He is, that usually turns me around pretty quick.

    We have a choice to make, we don’t have to live a life of pessimism.

  117. 153

    As Puddleglum would say, we assume the worst and “put a bold face on it”.

  118. 154

    My word. You just put a huge smile on my face with your words, “If you want Christ the most — there is no worst case scenario. Live and He’s using everything to shape you more into Christ and abundant life in Him. Die and you have eternal life in Him. Abundant life versus eternal life — it’s impossible to lose! You can’t lose.” Thank you for this bigger-than-life, doesn’t-even-make-sense, isn’t-that-the-point reminder today!

  119. 155
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    Powerful image of this cup! It makes me wonder about my cup? I want it be full of love, mercy, justice, peace, and praise to God even if I don’t feel like. “Put in the cup any thoughts,” said the preacher at my church. I think I’m getting the message now. Let me meditate a little bit more. Wow!

  120. 156

    Hi Anne, thank you for your wonderful words I look forward to your perspective daily.
    if im feeling pessimistic, I have found God showed me, I need to look back at all he has done in my life and how he has come through for me before, and how he has made all things work together for good. I find this really helpful and I have began writing down when He does these things in my life, so its easier for me to reflect on His Faithfulness and Love.
    God bless you and yours.

  121. 157

    Just crying over here. Longing so desperately for that kingdom come and here, you give me hope, Ann. Hope that it already has. Thank you. Love you.

    • 158
      one bird near says:

      tears over here, too. i’m putting a glass out on my shelves to look at everyday, not empty, but full. King over all Kingdoms do what only You can do

  122. 159

    Those days when reality looks painful and pessimism is fast rising, I pray for grace to look heaven ward and meditate on Bible words: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” Phil. 4:4

  123. 160

    On Oct 22, 1988 I thought I had the flu.

    I’ve had it ever since then, finally diagnosed with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome). God gave me this verse “..in quiteness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

    It has carried me every day since.

    Through all this He has taught me 2 things : God knows, and He is able.

    God knows all about whatever He will bring my way. And He is perfectly able to handle whatever He has allowed into my life.

    Years ago I discovered Annie Johnson Flint, a turn of the 19th century saint who was crippled by arthritis by the age of 21 and spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She wrote poetry that soothes my soul and reminds me Who it is Who holds that right full glass.

    This is one of my favorites:

    Great Grace

    His grace is great enough to meet the great things,
    The crashing waves that overwhelm the soul,
    The roaring winds that leave us stunned and breathless,
    The sudden storms beyond our life’s control.
    His grace is great enough to meet the small things,
    The little pin-prick troubles that annoy,
    The insect worries, buzzing and persistent,
    The squeaking wheels that grate upon our joy.

    that so describes my life – mostly pin-prick worries and insect buzzing, interspersed with a few bouts of roaring winds and crashing waves.

    And He is big enough, strong enough, and loving enough to carry me through each one.

    Jesus never fails.

    thank you, Ann, for writing words that speak to the heart.

  124. 161

    Thank you for a very timely message, Ann. We should never be taken by surprise when God shows up with the right message at the right time – that’s our God!
    I have a few encouragement and hope verses (and they keep multiplying as I keep reading and resting with God).
    One for today:
    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

  125. 162

    The name Jesus always makes me smile…sweet relief in it from all we are. He is pure oxygen, the antidote for distress-gladness. He’s got me under control! I just fall back into His mercy which I need so much…held tight there.

  126. 163
    Lisa Joy says:

    I have been blessed by God through marriage with the last name of Joy. It can be a difficult name to live up to, but I have been striving to do so. When I am reminded to be thankful and optimistic through these blogs, it makes my life so much more joyful. I have to be reminded to stop saying negative things in my head. Sometime I sing to remove this negativity or lift up prayers of thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing your God given ability, Ann, to write. Also, thank you for being honest and willing to share the fact that it is not always easy to be optimistic in this life. Through Christ it is possible! Praise God!

  127. 164

    I am shocked! I just zoomed through all the comments, and found that I am the only man here! I can’t believe it! I read Ann every single day that she posts, and I always get something valuable out of it. On my blog I link to A Holy Experience every day, so maybe we’ll get more male readers. What you have to say, Ann, applies equally to men and to women. I am going to come back tomorrow and read all the comments when my mind and eyes are fresher. I have linked to you here: http://bobagard.blogspot.com/2013/05/half-empty-half-full-or-always-right.html

  128. 165

    I REALLY needed this today. thank you! My glass is right full now! :-)
    I have suffered from CFIDS for 18 years now and some days the exhaustion and pain just gets to me. Most of the time I “force” myself to be positive. I read somewhere that “Action is the only antidote to despair”. So I keep myself very busy with creative pursuits. You can read about these on my blog. Thanks again for the encouragement. God bless.

  129. 166

    What a beautiful image. All my life it seems I have been a half full girl, walking in the truth of the glass being right full before evening knowing the why. I have fought depression for over 20 years clinging and at times grasping for that which comprised Air in all I saw to be full. For in so doing I was well, could raise my children and Live. Most of the time nobody could tell my struggle. The Air covered each situation. Each day. Each moment. I could see the world and life as being half full because that which was invisible to the eye was 3D technicolour to my soul. Now the eyes of my soul are fading. Can barely see the glass never mind its contents. Feel as though I am losing the battle I have fought for so long. But I dared to grasp the remnants of previous sight and be a friend to me that others were not. I fell into the love of two Godly friends and for now I must trust their sight of that which cannot be seen. Must trust their faith and joy and Breath and knowledge that the glass is right full.

  130. 167

    Choose your Bible verse – mine is Zephaniah 3:17, now instead of reading it as it is – say out loud:
    Fro the Lord My God is with ME
    He is a mighty saviour
    He will take delight in ME with gladness
    He will quiet MY fears with His love
    He will rejoice over ME with singing.

    It is amazing how it cuts to my heart – when I use the words me & my!
    I just need to make more effort to do this before I start spiralling out of control
    Thank you all

    • 168

      Thanks, Lynne! I wrote that in my gratitude journal as is. Love being able to take Bible verses personally!

  131. 169
    Nathania (sophieandmomma) says:

    Genesis 50:20
    But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

  132. 170
    william eliot schuler says:

    What an “air-brained” scheme to diagnose me, and refer me to The Great Physician;)!!!Thanks a lot and right on time for my life. Come again, Holy Spirit! (This time I’ll let you stay longer)…

  133. 171
    Robin williams says:

    I sing…often it will be hymns from way back when I first came to know Him.

  134. 172

    There is freedom from this doomsday-thinking! I know because I’ve walked it out! Evil tries to trip me up still, but its a temporary slip and I get right back up on the horse of this always fresh freedom-thinking!

    Negativity is rooted in fear. I’ve learned to change my mind, my thinking,my direction. Philippians 4:8-9. Think about these things and receive the gift of peace.
    BONUS; receive a double portion of peace by starting at verse 4! Here’s the real kicker friends…just reading it might bring a temporary fix, however you must DO WHAT IT SAYS to receive the double reward/blessing/GIFT of PEACE.

    It takes practice! I promise that His promise of HIS peace will come if you begin to change your negativity habit by reading, memorizing, and doing what God says to do in Phil 4:4-9. So practice peace until it is your new habit and the pessimism fades into the dust and is swept away for good!

    Fear/doomsday thinking is an old friend, an old sin habit that is comfortably stealing hours, days, weeks even years from your life, robbing you of peace.love. joy.

    Perfect Love drives out all fear, it really does. Look it up and find freedom in Whose you are! Do not be afraid! Be strong and courageous, He is with you aways, even to the end… Scripture is alive. You can read it like any other book or you can breathe it in and find freedom from “that’s just the way I am, I’ve always been a worrier, always will be” Those words are a lie from the evil one who comes only to steal.kill.destroy! They do not bring life.

    And we know that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him! Romans 8:28. Did you catch that? ALL THINGS, FOR YOUR GOOD! Woohoo! He is good all the time and you’ll see, He is working even of it doesn’t seem like it today! He said it so it has to be true.

    It takes practice, changing old lifelong patterns!
    Keep pressing in to the TRUTH!
    Read psalm 139 and Ephesians.
    Know who you are.
    Know Whose you are.
    Start encouraging others! It really changes you!
    Start finding freedom today!
    Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

    ~From a former fear-driven pessimist

    Grace and peace,
    Margie D

  135. 173

    I pray “Help” and stop talking and just let things be. What snaps me out of my downward spiral of worry and darkness are often someone else’s unwitting words of faith and hope, or beauty unexpected in the world around me. And then sometimes, I just give myself a “time out.”

  136. 174

    I always claim these verses when I am feeling overwhelmed or letting earthly things steal my joy:
    Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord ! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (Habakkuk 3:17, 18 NLT)
    I fill the verses in with my struggles:
    “Even though …. I feel lonely and not included … I didn’t get everything done I intended … My mom is struggling and I don’t know how to help her … YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD! I WILL BE JOYFUL IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION!
    It always brings me to worship and puts my focus where it needs to be. It fills me with His purpose and reminds me of His plan to use me in these circumstances.

    I am so blessed by the gift of your writing, Ann. Wow! Sometimes it gives me chills and always brings me to praise!

  137. 175

    I always claim these verses when I am feeling overwhelmed or letting earthly things steal my joy:
    Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord ! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (Habakkuk 3:17, 18 NLT)
    I fill the verses in with my struggles:
    “Even though …. I feel lonely and not included … I didn’t get everything done I intended … My mom is struggling and I don’t know how to help her … YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD! I WILL BE JOYFUL IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION!
    It always brings me to worship and puts my focus where it needs to be. It fills me with His purpose and reminds me of His plan to use me in these circumstances.
    I am so blessed by the gift of your writing, Ann. Wow! Sometimes it gives me chills and always brings me to praise!

  138. 176

    Thanks to all for sharing! I love the hymns too-and praise music in general is a good tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit. I think being decisive and being mindful to look for the ‘positives’ is effective as well. My beautiful grandmother, whose name I share & who lived to be 96, taught me or either passed along the gene for being an optimist. She was deliberate about it, too, which showed me early on that many times it’s a matter of our own choice whether we find the good (and the gift) in every single situation. Most people who know me say I’m an optimist and I do try my best to pass this along to others. But inside, I have lived (for more years than most of you) without being able to fully accept Grace. This has kept me struggling with a works-based faith that often saps optimism, which is why Ann’s sharing has been such a blessing. Over the past 2 years, God has been calling me to a more intimate walk with Him, through study of the Word & prayer. This shift of priorities is changing me, and it’s becoming easier and more natural to focus on the positives as I am living outside my self and practice living out my faith! Even though I’m now a grandmother myself, God is redeeming me and gently, patiently, daily showing me how I am a messy, wonderful part of His grace design!

  139. 177

    Thanks Ann for who you are in Christ and for giving of yourself every day! This was a great write. I will always be nauseatingly a 1/2 cup full person. But when I have my moments, as we all do, then I return to the Father, and I stand on the only rock that will be left when all the other rocks have turned to dust!
    When I struggle, and I do a lot lately, I have to re-center my thinking. I grab Jesus and his promises. If I’m feeling unworthy, which is common, I’ll grab this verse: John 10:29
    My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (English Standard Version)
    I have no answers, somedays I don’t even know the questions, but God knows, He knows and He understands. Therefore I cling to my rock who is ever faithful and ever present; ready with a hug and some scripture to get me back on track!
    I am so blessed to be worthy, not because I think so, but because my creator says so. He calls me beloved, and he knows my real name. He loves me with an undying, unquenchable love. He loves me so much He died for me.
    When I get here (as in above) in my thinking, then no matter what the President did, or my mama didn’t do, or what the checkbook balance is, I know I’ll be okay! Yes, I’m okay, and isn’t it a beautiful day to be alive!
    My love to you Ann.

  140. 178

    His Word. It’s always and ever His Word that brings me back to reality. I especially like Lamentations and 2 Corinthians when things are dark.

  141. 179

    It is a daily surrender to Christ. Alone, I would be wallowing in the pit of fear and self-doubt, but he has lifted me up out of that pit. Because of that, I have learned to be a “things are as they should be” person. I truly believe that if I am God’s child, through Christ, then I am always cupped in his hand. When tragedy, trials or little trip ups come into my life, I’m tempted to initially be concerned or think about the what ifs, but God quickly reminds me that everything is under his control. I have a father with Alzheimer’s and a mother with Parkinson’s. One is very positive, one is very negative. It’s very difficult to have to deal with negativity on a continual basis. It helps me to look at my own reactions and responses and try not to be that person that brings other people down. In my blog post today I am talking about this very thing – about how there really is no such thing as ordinary but that extraordinary exists all around us. If the “ordinary” blessings of life are expected and demanded as deserved, then what is gift? If we cant see God in the daily rub of life then what will it take for us to see him at all? I’m afraid some won’t see him until he comes through the clouds like a thief in the night. – One thing that really helps me is to remember that if I keep my eyes on the promises of God, my circumstances will take their proper place. I learned this through the study of Genesis this year and it has been of great help to me as I walk this journey, often not knowing what will come next. – Thanks Ann for these truths and your unique perspective that always help me in looking at things with fresh eyes.

  142. 180

    Lately this song… when the to-do list overwhelms or my children (and parenting!) seem discouraging… Sweet reminder to wait on The Lord. “You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.”

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=oFf-WaFJRTI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoFf-WaFJRTI

  143. 181
    Phyllis Fields says:

    Most of my adult life I’ve been in the habit of being pessimistic as a defense mechanism. It doesn’t work. It really only leads to darkness. Since reading One Thousand Gifts, my new pattern is choosing thankfulness in all things which leads to joy.
    My oldest son is so much like me when I was his age, struggling with his faith in God and doubting that he has a good future. He is wandering and his pain is my pain too but today God brought me a verse from Psams. NIV Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5 (These 3 say exactly the same thing) Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
    Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. — And I’ve been here before and I know I will yet praise him!

  144. 182
    Loretta says:

    Over time the pessimism in my life has slowly been revealed. At my fathers funeral my husband and I were struck by the negativity among his siblings. I realized then, that despite his pessimism he’d managed to live a more positive live than his upbringing prepared him for. I too, came to adulthood lacking some proper tools for optimism. But I’ve found then I conciously shrug off the negative and put on the positive I slowly begin to feel more and more positive. Looking for the lovely, the corageous and the kind in everyone you encounter sure beats the alternative and often helps to water those little seeds growing there. Slowly I become less of a pessimist and more of an optimist because I practice that mindset. I realized just now, that I’m changing a legacy! Every step in the right direction is a step toward turning my family around.

  145. 183

    I get caught in the web of the hurrying and the scurrying, which leads to all ways of the negativity of worrying.

    Like Martha who was by nature a doer, a shaker and a mover. I am grateful for our sister Martha, loved so much by Jesus. For how else would I know about the better Mary way? If not for the empathy I feel for a Martha day?

    Mary knew how to bend the knee slow and low in her attitude of gratitude. Into the place like no other of rest, comfort and peace, at the feet Jesus, Lord of her life. In this place she knew the calm soul joy of what our sweet sister Ann V. wrote of:

    “The Virus of Distraction is cured by the art of Subtraction”

    In the humbling of myself, I can completely exhale the toxic waste of haste, and deep breath into the fullness of that heart space, that unique room in this, my heart house, and it fills to the brim, bursting at the seams, with

    Attraction to Jesus

    • 184

      Thank you Ann for your inspired, and inspiring writing. As always, much appreciated.

      ” thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over. ”

      Psalm 23 Darby Translation

  146. 185

    Ann, my glass fights to be filled. Day and night it’s a battle waged to believe in what I know is true ‘behind the seen’. My son walks in a dark fringe place filled with pain and distortion of who God created him to be. With a mother’s broken-faith filled heart I stand and declare my son’s heritage in the unseen. Your posts and writing pour into those shattered places – God’s oil of raw understanding, boundless – ruthless trust. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. bk

  147. 186
    Jim Connelly says:

    I’m 81 and I am aware of how I am and have been, all my life, blessed by God in a hundred areas of my life that I can remember. Why He blessed me I don’t understand? Why He stands by me I don’t understand? Why? Why? Why?
    Because he loves me in spite of myself. Because I am His child. Because he sees
    into my heart. He sees the desire there and He pushes the clinging parasite desires aside and says.” You’re okay Jim. Remember Me…… as I remember you.”

  148. 188

    And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6 ESV

  149. 189

    My cup runneth over! That is all I need or want.

    • 190

      Gerrie, I just saw your post after I added that verse to my own post. Filled to the brim and running over with the love of Jesus.
      “to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge; that ye may be filled even to all the fullness of God”
      Ephesians 3:19
      Darby Translation

  150. 191
    Sarah Starr Vincent says:

    THANKS for this….I love in Nicaragua and work with wonderful others in a school is a barrio. some of their stories are unbearable. BUT I was given a Honeytree CD not long after we came (five years ago) and it contains in English and Spanish:
    “I’m Gonna Believe that YOU are up to Something Good” It’s worth looking up, it’s worth singing and re-singing on the hard days…;-)
    Again THANK YOU, ANN…

  151. 192
    Vicki Burns says:

    “This is the day that the LORD hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!” A push to honor the Creater of a new born day with rejoicing…the outward expression of joy!

  152. 193
    michele sundstrom says:

    There is a poem about Trust that brings out the optimist in me…, It’s this one:

    Trust

    It’s like so many other things in life
    to which you must say no or yes.
    So you take your car to the new mechanic.
    Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

    The package left with the disreputable-looking
    clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
    the envelope passed by dozens of strangers-
    all show up at their intended destinations.

    The theft that could have happened doesn’t.
    Wind finally gets where it was going
    through the snowy trees, and the river, even
    when frozen, arrives at the right place.

    And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
    is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.

    Thomas R. Smith

  153. 194
    michele sundstrom says:

    and this one is mine:

    Faithfulness

    The wind~
    Breath of life that
    Pours across the water
    Lifts up over the mountain
    Filters so swiftly through
    Restless, edgy pines,
    swaying birches
    To flow with
    Abandon

    Through my
    Open window

    A gift
    A blessing
    An invitation
    To breathe
    And live

    And smile
    At the faithfulness
    Of God…

    Michele Sundstrom

  154. 195
    Amy Patton says:

    The Rascal Flatts song-God bless the broken road that led me straight to you. I love the idea of always being full. I don’t have to strive to keep the water/world out. I just need to remember the fullness.

  155. 196
  156. 197

    Oh my I’m your grandmother and I’m only 36. lol Thank you! God and my husband have been dealing with me a lot lately about my negativity. I need to change. My glass is half full, no my cup runneth over, I just chosen for so long not to see it. Thank you for helping me realize I’m not the only one but I need to change.

  157. 198
    Mandy Priore says:

    The verses that always come to my mind are 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 which says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” It keeps an eternal perspective at the forefront of my mind at the start of each new day and brings that peace that passes all understanding. Also, “his mercies are NEW every morning” reminds me to jump start my day with a fresh perspective. I love the “glass right full” perspective, Ann. I never thought of it that way. Thanks!

  158. 199
    Melodie says:

    Ann…what a blessing you are! I thank God for you and your ministry that touches the hearts of so many.
    It blessed me today to read your expression of a glass “right full”…. It gives words to a thought that has followed me for most of my 60 yrs. My life verse is Romans 8:28…”for we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. As His child these words have comforted me through many many heartaches and storms of life….and I know them to be true with all my heart, for I have seem the truth of them with my own eyes over and over again! How could I not be an optimist!
    God bless your ministry, Ann….keep up the good fight!

  159. 200

    Thanks for your optimistic view Ann. Currently I am struggling to recover from a traumatic brain injury. I guess that’s my worst case scenario right now, as I can’t work, I’m half the Mom I used to be and I’m certainly not doing well as a wife. Yet, I am thankful to be alive. God is good, all the time! My prayer is that my recovery and my life will bring honor and glory to Him! As you said, “Live and He’s using everything to shape you more into Christ and abundant life in Him.” That is just what I need to be reminded of today. Thank you.

  160. 201
    Tabitha says:

    This probably seems over simplistic, but when you are blessed with 7 kids, 5 of whom are teens, and 5 of whom are daughters that can struggle like we all do, with hormones—- EACH teen was required to make a “happy list of 20 things” . (On a good day) have them write down 20 things that always lift their spirits (ex: time alone with God, photography, going to exercise, going on a walk, planting flowers, coffee with a friend, going to Target :) , etc etc etc) Then you post the list: ours in kitchen. Then, as a momma, when you see one particular struggling with this– with the shrouding gloom that happens time to time, you walk them up to their (own) list and say “CHOOSE ONE, or i’m gonna choose one for you and we are gonna do it together.” IT WORKS. ALWAYS. Only once have i had to “choose for you, with {Said} crying teen. i choose “going on a walk with mom” . i had to MAKE her put her tennis shoes on. she didn’t talk the entire 2 miles (ok that was long!) but the last block, she reached out her hand and took mine and looked up at me and said quietly “thanks, mom.” THAT was enough. sometimes we just need to know someone (Someone) is walking the distance with us. Humble thoughts. May they encourage some other moms of teen girls.

  161. 202

    I don’t know how you do it (okay,so I know Who enable it), but you speak into my life so often…and today is not different.

    I love the reminder that the glass is alway full! Thanks, off to enjoy an overflowing cup of life today.

  162. 203

    Wow, so many inspiring comments! Haven’t been able to read through all of them so sorry if this has been mentioned already, but I just wanted to ask whether anyone has advice on trying to encourage my husband out of negative ways of thinking? He was raised in a home where everyone was cautious and loved to focus on the things that needed fixing, whereas I was raised by my mum who is blindly optimistic! I find it hard at times to be patient with him, I find any negativity so hard to be around.

  163. 204

    I am also a blessed mama of six – Emily, Aaron, Eli, Owen, Olivia and Anna. I refuse to be negative in my life even though sometimes I think that I could. My youngest (five) has Rett Syndrome. She is unable to walk, talk or use her hands. Anna is so mentally aware, but is trapped in a body that doesn’t do what she wants. She has every reason to be unhappy, but she continues to amaze us with her bright blue eyes and gorgeous smile. God has used her to show me what life is really about – loving, accepting, forgiving and using the gifts that God gives us. My Oma used to be a half glass empty person. It makes life difficult when you see it this way. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to. give you hope and a future. This is my go to verse!!!

  164. 205

    How can I buy the parts of your bracelet or necklace on this post. I like!
    And I love your posts and how you interact with your children. Your honesty!

  165. 206
    Another name says:

    Hmm.. Much to think about. Especially since lately I am seeing only 1/2 full. I just want to sit on the floor of my closet hidden by my pants and dresses and cry. But I can’t because of all the people that depend on me. Someone up above posted Jeremiah 29:11 “plans to prosper you and not harm you” and I think I am not prospering! After 30 years on the mission field, I return to the U.S. to drown in debts and family responsibilities. After 30 years of working for the Lord and now this life?? Really God?? Ihave been too honest in this post!! So I am not going to use my real name. only my real email address. So please don’t publish my email. Thanks for listening.

    • 207

      (Tears) just bowed in this messy, crying prayer for His certain comfort. My heart is with yours, friend — tucked close to our Father, flying on the wings of His grace and prayer…Your words pierce right through and I thank you for how you serve… can I just reach over and give you the longest hug? He holds you.
      With more love than thin letters can hold,
      All’s grace,
      Ann

  166. 208
    Mary Gilbert says:

    This verse has been a real encouragement to me of late. “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men, find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your rivers of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:7-9. I’m not really a candle person but Ann’s suggestion of lighting one made me put one on the table. I really wanted to have a verse about light from the bible to share with the kids and so have been doing a word study of light and this was just one of the blessings God gave me.

  167. 209

    I love this post! It is such a daily struggle to be joyful and see the world as being “right full” when everyone else around you sees it as being “half empty”. Sharing on Facebook! Thanks for this reminder!

  168. 210

    I get depressed often and am a worry wart. I love to listen to the website redz0627. It is a person playing the piano and the lyrics of the songs are on the screen as you sing the song. Having a Biblestudy helps sometimes.

  169. 211
    Sarah Dittmer says:

    Loved this post! I tend to be “half empty” most of the time… Nice to know that you’re never really “half” anything, but always “right full”! Now, to stay “right full” of God and never “half empty” of Him. ;-)

  170. 212

    Being an optimist is all about adopting the optimist mindset. It does not happen overnight, it takes time to develop the habit of being an optimist and actually when i have two choices e.g. to be optimistic or pessimistic about something, i ask myself a question: what would the result be in both cases? and the answer is: in the worst scenarios even when the results are bad, then at least i will not lose my power and will be able to try again.
    Thank you Ann for the inspiring post :)

  171. 213
    Karla Neese says:

    Just when I need it most, God speaks through your writing to bind up my wounded heart, put salve to my scraped soul and bring living water to my life. Thank you for hearing His voice and putting it to pen and sharing it so freely with us all.

    • 214
      Melissa says:

      Also so very well said. Wise and beautiful. We are all saved by his Amazing Grace:)!

  172. 215
    Melissa says:

    THIS IS the most Beautiful, Wise, Amazing thing. I love it. Thank you for this. I has inspired me- gave me hope and optimismism:)!

  173. 216
    Melissa says:

    I meant optimism, of course lol.

  174. 217
    Kristin says:

    That all my days were numbered before one came to be and that He is the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and the End. Nothing happening to me is a surprise to Him and all a part of His grace to me to make me into His image. No one can thwart His plan for my life, even me. He works all things for good for those who belong to Him. To live is Christ, to die is gain – no losing scenario, like you said. Our cup is right full and overflowing when we look to Him and see our Abba as He truly is and we as we truly are in Him. I am learning joy even when my heart aches because it is pushing me deeper into His heart, right where I belong.

  175. 218
    Victoria Davis says:

    Wow. This was so right on time. I’ll be chewing on this for awhile. Reading this made me weep. I have always been the one in good times waiting for the bad to come or the good times to end. In my heart I always felt like the good times would never last forever. Secretly thought, not openly. It wasn’t till recently that I realized that. What a beautiful illustration of the “always full” glass. I needed to read that. Seriously. To answer the question above, I generally like to read books. I am a book worm. LOL! Going to some other place in my mind is my escape. Listening to Steven Curtis Chapman’s songs are also a calmer. Particularly some of his earlier works like,”Heart’s Cry”, “Higher Ways” and “Hold Onto Jesus”. There are a slew of many more by him that I love and listen to for peace. The Maranath Singers Praise Nine album is another one that I pray to. Thanks for this post. What a blessing it is.

  176. 219

    This got lost in my email…and oh,…it is beautiful.

  177. 220
    Tiffany says:

    Love Love Love you Ann. Thank you. Freedom in Worship. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cVVlMQved8k&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcVVlMQved8k

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Pessimism and Negativity getting to you? To Continue  to read the complete post here….   [...]

  2. [...] 4. Help to fight the ‘neggies’ – those cynical, negative, nothing-is-going-right moods -  About that infamous glass and what is in it! [...]

  3. [...] I will close with a very helpful reflection that I read this weekend.  Here’s the link to the whole post (it’s definitely worth reading! )   Countering our negative assessments [...]

  4. [...] loved this post this weekend by Ann – When All the Negativity & Pessimism is Getting to You.  And this…I know this…But the last two sentences are what we all need…. [...]

  5. [...] Ann Voskamp @ (in)courage: When All the Negativity and Pessimism is Getting to You [...]