Monday, October 31, 2005

Thinking positive

Gustave Caillebotte
Paris: A Rainy Day

"For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he..."
-Proverbs 23:7

Negative thinking has gripped me for most of my life. "What-ifs" and expecting the worst have characterized my thinking patterns. After all, if I expect the worst, I won't be disappointed, right?

For the past few years I have been focused on being more positive and finding the good in situations and people and I sense God calling me to take a step further, to begin to wait expectantly for the good to be manifest in bad things. My life is relatively peaceful, but, as with everyone, there are aspects of it that seem to plague me and crush my positive thinking. It is in these areas that God wants me to press through.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..."
-Romans 8:28

This verse has always been among my favorites and I have found comfort in it, but do I really believe it when things appear bleak? Do I accept the disappointments of life and await expectantly for God to bring about good in my life in spite of the circumstances? For example, if I need to go run errands and I find that my car doesn't start, do I view this as good or bad? According to the verse, God is going to bring about good things because of this small trial. My tendency is to get stressed, agitated and angry, and this spills out on the people around me, leading to further problems. What would happen if I dealt with this trial as if I expected something good to come out of it?

What about the big, seemingly overwhelming trials of life? Do I expect God to bring good out of a marriage problem? What about money problems? Or even child problems? Where is God in those?

Negativity leads to me carrying around overwhelming, heavy burdens that seem to have no obvious or possible solution. Positivity leads to taking a straight-forward look at the reality of my life and adopting an attitude of "this is what I have to work with" and going forward in it, knowing that God has my best interests at heart, expecting Him to work things out. Things may not work out as I expect, but it will be GOOD for me, that is God's promise.

Negativity has a way of spilling out of us through or words and our actions. We can paste a smile on our faces but we will eventually be found out. Life is going to bring struggles and hardships but a positive attitude will lighten the burden of these things. All things will eventually work out, but the journey will be more enjoyable with a trusting heart that is free of the burden of negativity.
"It shall be done for you as you have believed..."
-Matthew 8:13

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future.
-Proverbs 31:25