Monday, January 14, 2013

Reviving My Positivity

About eight years ago, I took the Strength Finders Test. My number one strength was Positivity. I have always been a pretty positive thinker, so it was no surprise. There have been times in my past where my positivity pushed me into denial. Being a Pollyanna is usually easier than dealing with the realities of life that aren't so pleasant. It's easier to just stick my head in the sand until "This, too, shall come to pass."

But those eight years have involved some pretty tough challenges: some visible to those around me, and some just between God and me. My faith has been challenged, even shaken to the core. There were times when it felt like it would be easier to just give it up. In fact, I have grown to strongly dislike the phrase, "This, too, shall come to pass." I'm tired of waiting for things to pass! I want to live now! Maybe I took it a little too literally.

Through the challenges of the past few years, I've tried to become more of a realist. But I have often leaned more toward being a sarcastic cynic. And that can be ugly.

The first Sunday in January, our pastor gave us each a small piece of dissolvable paper. He asked us to write something on that paper that we didn't want to take into 2013 with us, something we were choosing to leave behind, whether it was a sin, a bad habit or whatever. I knew immediately what I wanted to leave in 2012: my negativity. You know, those nagging, complaining thoughts that roll around in your head. Some of those ugly thoughts are about myself. Some are about my family members and coworkers... even my friends. And sometimes, I almost enjoyed dwelling on them, using them to make myself look like a saint and everyone else in my life like lazy, spoiled and ungrateful. God forgive me!

In my attempts to revive my positivity, I am memorizing Philippians 4:8-9 in the Message:
Summing it all up, friends, 
I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on these things: 
true, noble, reputable, 
authentic, compelling, gracious--
the best, not the worst; 
the beautiful, not the ugly; 
things to praise, not things to curse. 
Put into practice what you learned from me, 
what you heard, saw and realized. 
Do that and God, who works all things together, 
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Wow, to be worked into God's most excellent harmonies! That's what I want to work toward in 2013. I hope that a year's time is long enough for me to put a dent in the number of negative thoughts I choose to allow a parking place in my brain!

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!