It starts something like this:
- You walk into church on Sunday and notice the woman from your last Bible study is looking at you weird.
- Throughout the service, you can’t get her off of your mind. Why would she look at you like that? It had to be what you said about the evils of tofu. She looks Vegan.
- You can’t concentrate at all. In fact, you’ve just noticed that she is sitting three rows ahead to your right and you’re pretty sure she’s looking at you out of the corner of her eye.
- She’s judging you. Yes.
- Like she’s never had a cookie. You think about pulling a pack of cookies from your purse and eating it right then just to irritate her.
- How dare her. Who does that in church? I mean, looking at people??
- You miss the entire sermon as you watch her, seething.
- But when they call for prayer, you decide to do the right thing: You pray she gets that chip off her shoulder.
- As the service ends, you watch as she gathers her things and walks toward the door. She is smiling at everyone she passes. Then, she purposefully gets in front of you. And walks. Ridiculously. Slow.
- It’s all a plot to make you angry. But, you’re not going to fall for it.
- At the exit, she notices you behind her, holds the door for you and smiles.
- She’s like a mastermind, that one.
- You just give her the eye—the same dirty eye she gave you earlier—and walk on without comment.
- You’re not going to let her ruin your day.
Not that I think like that.
Ok, yeah. I do sometimes.
The truth is that negative thinking is . . . well . . . sticky, isn’t it?
We start with a tiny thought that crosses our mind. Then other thoughts seem to stick to it as it rolls through our head, much like a snowball effect. By the time we’ve really rolled it over and over, it has turned into a huge ordeal that will probably never happen, and we’ve allowed the negative thought to take over us—and likely ruined our mindset for the rest of the day.
And I’ll admit, over the last 18 months into my new gig as a single mother, it’s been trending in my life. I’ve gone from looking for the silver lining, to waiting for the sky to fall. I find myself on the negative side of the fence way more often than I’d like to admit. If truth be told, I’ve put in a pool and spend hours sitting over there ruminating.
It can happen to the best of us. Especially after a long season of difficulty. We begin to expect the worst, because—hey—that’s all we’ve seen in quite a while. So much so, that we forget that the good often comes the same way. As the small things that annoy us build up in other areas of our lives, we can no longer see the good for the tall tales of bad we keep spinning.
But, I’m moving on from that negativity now. Not only because I know it’s toxic for me, but because it’s even more toxic for my children.
I don’t want my kids taking on this sticky habit of negativity.
Because there is great power in the way we allow ourselves to think. Taking a negative angle on life is easy, because it’s how the world lives. It’s all around us. Hey–everyone is doing it. But, we are called to live differently.
Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
We have to fight to see the good in this world.
Even more so, is the fight to be the good in this world.
But, that’s where God leads us.
Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about thinks that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Because, at the end of the day, we hold a lot of power in our children’s lives. The power to hurt, or heal. The power to build up, or tear down. The power to choose the positive, or the negative.
And I’m positive we hold the same power in our own.
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