I love the optimism that Charles Schulz gave to Charlie Brown.
Charlie was birthed in the comic strip, “Peanuts.” Many of us grew up reading the funny pages and “Peanuts” was a staple. Charlie Brown went on to star in theater, television and on the silver screen.
I rooted for CB every time Lucy offered to hold a football for him as he would attempt to kick an imaginary field goal. Lucy successfully tempted CB to make his run to kick the ball and always, at the last minute, she would pull the ball away and Charlie would soar into the air and crash. I didn’t see every cartoon, so maybe one day Lucy let him kick it.
It was easy for many of us to identify with Charlie Brown. We have all had our ball to kick. We too, have endured antagonists, real and imagined. Charlie Brown and his tribe provided many opportunities for us to see ourselves through laughter.
I rooted for Charlie Brown every time he lined up to make his run for the kick. I knew Lucy was going to yank the ball away. I think even he knew she was going to do it to him again. But every time he ran, he ran with all his might, believing that this was the time she would let him kick it.
Leaders often develop similar blind optimism. “This time is different. We can do this. Let’s try again.”
We’ve all had our Lucys that convince us that circumstances have changed. It’s safe to go back into the water. We find out soon, that if we keep doing things the same way, we end up with the same results.
Optimism is often irrelevant.
Effective leaders are gifted with discernment. If a project isn’t going well and things seem to be messy, pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the way forward. If I would have prayed this prayer more often, there would have been many footballs I wouldn’t have tried to kick.
I believe in the revelatory power of the Spirit of God. I believe in spiritual discernment. There is a spiritual difference between optimism and faith.
A fresh anointing may require a new path.
Charlie Brown should have played soccer.