I have a confession.
I am a pessimist.
I am a pessimist with anxiety issues.
I am not just the glass is half empty but I am the glass is half empty and there is a water shortage and what if we run out of clean water and then we will all have to start carrying water from streams and running it through homemade filtration systems made from panty hose and water bottles.
Oh, you already knew that? Glad we sorted that out. I have to make a conscious decision every day (and sometimes several times a day!) to look for the best in all situations. There are several ways I have learned to deal with negativity. I have recently been reading in Galatians 6
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (ESV)
1. Be Bold
Verse one encourages Christians to “restore him a spirit of gentleness” anyone who is caught in sin. Keyword here being gentleness! And let’s not forget the second part of that verse – KEEP WATCH ON YOURSELF, LEST YOU TOO BE TEMPTED. Gossip and negativity go hand in hand and it is so easy to get caught up in it. It starts out as one small question like, “I wonder where so and so has been?”. This question may start out as innocent but you or someone else might answer, “Well I heard they were doing this or that with so and so”.
This is your chance to BE BOLD. You have several choices here, you can engage in the conversation about so and so which usually spirals downward into a mindless dribble of all the gossip you have heard about your mutual friends until no one has anything nice left to say OR you can stop it.
Let me tell you, I am guilty as the next southern belle for having a love affair with gossip. My name is Elizabeth and I like to gossip but lately I have felt convicted about it. When someone slides up close to you to tell you something that is none of your business, I want you to flip open to Galatians and say, “wait just a minute! I have to keep watch on myself or I am going to be tempted to participate in this slander” and if it is me scooting up next to you, can you restore me with gentleness?
Next time someone is being negative around you, be bold and ask them why, there might be something else going on they might need to talk about with you. They might just need to be gently restored to the spirit with some scripture, kind words, or advice (or all three!).
Imagine you are an unmarried woman in your mid-twenties in 1967. You are just starting your life, maybe working at your first grown-up job, dating someone, just enjoying your life when you realize you are pregnant. Imagine the panic you would feel, the hopelessness. What are your options?
Would you consider an abortion?
Now imagine you are a couple that has prayed for a baby for years. You have been faithfully waiting for God to bestow the gift of a child. You a growing weary in your waiting but someone comes to you with the opportunity to raise another’s child.
Would you consider an adoption?
I know all of these people, they are my grandparents. two I have never met, I do not know their names, and two I love dearly. The woman chose life and allowed my grandparents to adopt her child and complete their family.
My Pawpaw has sweet Elvis hair, right?! He is the same one I wrote about in this post. I am thankful for all of them. I am thankful for my mother’s biological mom for living through nine months of pregnancy, staying healthy, and probably experiencing ridicule, a rude comment here, a side eye at the grocery store for not having a ring on her finger, friends or family questioning her decision.
Delivering a baby and then giving her away.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for Good Friday and for giving yourself for someone as lowly as me. Can’t wait to celebrate the Resurrection on Sunday! I am looking forward to the sunrise service.
Dear AK, Thanks for going to see Cinderella with me! I am so glad you enjoy movies and sit still, it was a good day to skip school and spend the day with you. Don’t worry, I will catch you up on what you missed at K3.
Dear cashier at Target, you are the bomb (do people still say that?). I am so impressed you rang up a buggy worth of Easter stuff without the toddler noticing. That takes skills, they should give you an Easter basket for your hard work.
Dear Lady in the Easter section, Thanks for not judging me for waiting until the last-minute to buy the Easter stuff WITH MY TODDLER. That was super helpful of you to help distract my kid while I snuck a chocolate bunny in my secret bag. While other moms (who also waited until the last-minute ahem, Judgy McJudgerson) were looking at me like I was crazy pointing at random things in the store for AK to look at so I could stealthily place items in a gift bag from the dollar spot, you started pointing at random things too! Way to work together for the better of all moms instead of judging each other.
Oh hello April, I didn’t notice you had arrived…other than the massive sinus headache I have had all week. I am going to need you to bring some of those April showers to wash this crap away. My black tin roof looks green. Okay? Thanks!
While I was in undergrad, my pawpaw had a very bad stroke that affected his speech and the right side (his dominant) of his body. He is able to walk and his speech has improved, it isn’t the same as it was before but he can communicate pretty well. Before he had the stroke he was always tinkering. Working on a lawn mower here or a boat there, making odds and ends, he was always busy, but the stroke has really slowed him down. One of the things he would make before he had the stroke was wind chimes. My mom has had one on her front porch for years and one day I told her I wished I could have one too but I didn’t think he was capable of making them anymore and I never really thought about it again. After a very hard first year of marriage including a house fire (you can read about here), we had a very big 1st birthday party for AK to celebrate her and moving back into our house. I was so surprised to receive this!
It was a Dr. Seuss birthday! I am not normally Thing 2 😉
It had taken him several months to make, but it is way better than any wind chime I could have bought in the store. I love to hear it every single day and when I get overwhelmed by all the silly things I have to take care of, I just listen to it and think of how hard he worked on it, how he persevered to give such a special gift with almost no use of his right hand. Continue reading