Our life on this earth can be so performance-based. The moment we are born we start learning, and with that comes certain expectations. Success is rewarded and cherished, while not living up to standards can be regarded as a failure. For me, I think it all started with school age. I made my mother proud by being the top student in my class, and of course, that in itself was not an issue. However, the problem arose when somewhere along the line I started believing that it was my duty to make my mom proud, and I had to be the best always.

This attitude eventually translated into my spiritual life as well. I went to church and loved God, and I knew that the relationship with Him was real, but deep down there was always a sense that His love had to be earned. I remember thinking that if I didn't read the Bible for one day, God would not want to be with me. Oh how I wish not reading my Bible was the biggest mistake I had ever made! But it wasn't. I've done things that I had never imagined I'd do, and even apart from those mess ups there is no way for me to be my best self in my own strength. You can only imagine how depressing that can be ... I felt like God wouldn't want to be around or use someone like me. 

However, often when we come out of intense darkness and realize that our own strength is not even close to sufficient that is when Jesus really shows us that it is not about us. Or at least not individually. We are all connected, and Jesus is the center of everything. He gives me the opportunity to be a part of a story that is so much bigger than my life. And when I realize my sins are nothing but a little speck that He washes away, pulls me out of and sets free so fullness of His love can come in that place, I can't help but want to worship and praise. There is no one and nothing that can give as much hope as Jesus.

People have called me an optimist, sometimes even with a negative connotation, as if I'm not being realistic or belittling people's problems, as if I wanted to make everything seem better than it was. But once again - it is not about me. And once you see how God really does work out every single detail in your life so you can be a pillar of strength for others, there is no reason to not be an optimist. He has pulled me out of a huge mess up and turned my life around. In a situation where I could have ended up alone and rejected, He surrounded me by gracious and loving people and gave me a family. He revived my dreams and hopes and gave me courage to continue fighting even when the reality didn't look all that bright. I'd rather look like a silly optimist than lose faith - because with Him there is nothing that is impossible. My life is about sharing that hope with others.