‘Don’t begin until you count the cost.’
Reality is the difference between what you wish for – and what is. If you’re a naturally optimistic person you may find it difficult to think realistically. Indeed, you may think it’s the opposite of having faith. No, faith doesn’t deny the problem, it connects you with God through whose strength you can overcome. Here are two things that thinking realistically will do for you: 1) Minimise unnecessary risks. All actions have consequences. Thinking realistically will help you determine what those consequences could be. This is particularly important when your actions affect others. The old motto, ‘expect the best but plan for the worst’, has merit. By thinking that way you minimise unnecessary risks. It gives you a goal, with a plan to reach it. Here’s the good news: you need a sense of hope in order to succeed. Here’s the bad news: hope is not a strategy. 2) Show you what needs to be changed. People who rely solely on hope for their success, rarely make change a high priority. If you only have hope, you imply that success is out of your hands. It’s a matter of luck and chance – so why bother changing. There’s nothing like reality staring you in the face, to help you see what needs to be changed. Change alone doesn’t bring growth, but you cannot have growth without change. Following Christ is the most blessed and joyful life you can live, but there’s a price to be paid for it. And Jesus was realistic about it: ‘If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple…Don’t begin until you count the cost’ (vv. 14:27-28 NLT).