This email was sent by President Matthews to the Eastern Community in January 2022.
Dear Eastern Community,
I hope you had a blessed season of celebration as we enter into 2022. With this email, we continue familiarizing ourselves with a new Core Value each month, corresponding to each letter in EASTERN. You can read descriptions on this webpage. So far, we’ve explored E- Excellence, A- Authenticity, S- Stewardship, and T- Thoughtfulness. This month we’re looking at our second E - Enthusiasm.
Here’s how we’ve defined Enthusiasm:
Anchored by our hope and joy in Christ, we approach each situation with optimism, working toward favorable outcomes, and celebrating our successes.
In Philippians 4:4,8, the Apostle Paul gives us a simple, yet poignant charge: “Rejoice in the Lord always – again I will say it: Rejoice!...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
It’s true that life is unpredictable with seasons of difficulty, problems, and disappointments. Paul himself experienced imprisonment, hunger, physical abuse, and social ostracization. In the midst of it all, he was somehow full of enthusiasm. The verses above give us a window into the secret of his contentment...he continued to rejoice in the Lord, fixing his mind on things that were noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Enthusiasm shifts our mindset. It opens us to new possibilities while anchoring us in gratitude for who we are, whose we are, and what we already have.
A recent example of Enthusiasm and optimism is found in the latest edition of EASTERN magazine in the story of soccer goalkeeper Kerry Phillips ’22. Kerry shares not only about the joy she feels as she serves her soccer team as athletic chaplain, but also of her chosen optimism and enthusiasm in spite of physical setbacks.
“I’ve learned that sitting on the bench has enabled me to see what is happening on the field, and just as importantly, on the sidelines,” she shares. “I’ve had to lean into Christ to find my identity instead – and I want the same for other athletes – to know that they are worthy, loved, seen, and enough apart from what they can offer athletically.”
May we be inspired to follow the example of Kerry’s enthusiasm and optimism in spite of circumstances as push forward into the call that God has placed on our community.
Enthusiasm is not a denial of circumstances and situations, but rather a posture that we choose to “rejoice in all circumstances” and celebrate growth, however big or small. Our Eastern Community is a community that has so much to celebrate!
I want to encourage each one of us to do our part by considering the many blessings Christ has given us, and discerning how we can turn those blessings back into enthusiastic praise, celebration, and hope-filled collaboration toward new initiatives.
During January, I invite you to reflect on these questions below. Perhaps take your lunch break to reflect, journal during your quiet time, or consider using these for discussion at team or group meetings.
January Reflection Questions: E - Enthusiasm
- Do I experience the hope I have in Christ?
- Have I seen examples of enthusiasm around me?
- What things are limiting me from being more optimistic?
- How can I better put enthusiasm into practice in my own life, relationships, and work?
Let’s pray and encourage one another as we explore Enthusiasm and its implications this January. Thank you for bringing such unique and beautiful gifts to our Eastern Community. Have a great month!
With appreciation and enthusiasm,
Dr. Ronald A. Matthews
P.S. Core Values Cards: We still have some extra core values cards in the President’s Office if you don’t have one yet and would like one. Feel free to place the card on your wall or near your desk to help familiarize yourself with these values. (You can also download and print it here.)