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Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

By Joani Schultz

“You must be a glass-half-full person.”

“Uh, yes, I guess I am,” I replied.

But I wondered, what inspired her comment as she was poking my vein for a blood test? Just the night before, this nurse had asked her class of gifted teenagers if they were hopeful for the future. Sadly, most were not.

Odd. I believe Jesus-followers have every reason to see their glasses as half-full. However, it’s not that our lives don’t provide challenges. Like what happened (for real) to my husband and me:


Before we left on a trip, our troubles began…

  1. Water heater went out. (Should’ve been a sign.)
  2. Returned to a puddle surrounding our freezer. (Who knows when it stopped working? Tossed ruined food. Ugh.)
  3. Microwave quit.
  4. Computer router stopped.
  5. Stained carpet needed replacing.
  6. Fireplace flamed out.
  7. Furnace quit.
  8. Thermostat broke.
  9. Clothes washer caught fire and smoked out our laundry room.
  10. Computer stopped.

This all happened over two weeks at home. We walked into work Monday and a caring co-worker chuckled, “Did anything else break?”

“Yes. My brother-in-law.” He fell on his way to our home for dinner and broke his shoulder!

Definitely glass half-empty?

Then I read our pastor’s prayer list that he sent to those who’ve joined to pray for…

  1. Heart attack.
  2. Chemo.
  3. Meningitis.
  4. Moving.
  5. Child with autism.
  6. Influenza.
  7. Stroke.
  8. Father passed away.
  9. Loss of job.
  10. Suicide.
  11. Cancer.
  12. Traumatic brain injury.
  13. Heart failure.
  14. Kidney failure.
  15. Failure to thrive diagnosis.

Definitely glass half-empty. Or is it?

To those who pursue ministry: YOU are special. You promise to carry your personal lives—in addition to others’ lives—and rely on Jesus to bring great hope and love.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:3-5).

In spite of everything life throws at you personally and in ministry, you cling to confident hope. That’s why Jesus empowers you to see each day with half-full, not half-empty glasses.


Like a tiny match setting dry kindling to flame, Jesus brings this glass-half-full perspective overflowing with hope. And we know it’s true when we share stories like this:

A friend in ministry sent this in the midst of a tough time:

“I must say, Friends of God (a 12-week discipleship experience) has been my highlight each week.



“I sat down with a small group for dinner, and this young, college-age student started telling me that she came simply because her dad wanted her to, not because she really wanted to. Through her experience at Friends of God, she experienced God’s love for the first time in a real and tangible way. She said, ‘I’ve known of God for a long time but I’ve never had a relationship with God. This is different. I am so grateful. Thank you for doing this course; it was what I needed to truly understand that God loves me and wants to be my friend.’

“I was so excited for her, but the story got better. She shared it with a friend of hers who, two days later, after their conversation, came into relationship with Jesus and he started coming on Wednesday nights, too. Wow, from faith to evangelism in days! This is why we do what we do, to see God transform lives, and this experiential opportunity is exactly what people are wanting. I have done many groups before, but this is different and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! Our Wednesday night group is such a diverse group of people. There have been 14 to 17 of us each Wednesday night. They range in age, background, and experiences, yet they are not only building relationship with their Savior but also with one another. This past week, I was walking out about a half-hour after group was over, after cleaning up, and there was a group still in the parking lot talking and laughing—so cool!”

How to keep our glasses half-full?

Look for God (good) in action.

Just by keenly watching for God, we’ll see God everywhere. Even in the pain. For a deeper dive into this profound perspective, check out Spiritual Grit by Rick Lawrence.

Tell the stories.

Just by sharing God’s actions, we solidify our glass-half-full life. All ages—even preschoolers— can share “God Sightings.” (Group’s ROAR 2019 VBS will bring churches an extraordinary daily peek at what God is doing in your church! Never tire of expressing the goodness of God.


May you ever see God pouring your glass half-full! Cheers!


*Pessimista and ottimista are Italian words that mean pessimist and optimist respectively.

One thought on “Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

  1. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it, Joani? Whatever happens, the bottom line is that we have one another and we rejoice in our living hope. I have so many beautiful memories from my times partnering with Group. You and Thom have been such a blessing to countless thousands of people. Bless you, both, and God bless Group Publishing!

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