Sunday, January 27, 2008

Negativity

























I have been mulling over 11-12, now 13-14 the last 3 weeks.
In 11, it talks about differences, seek good counsel and be the person God meant you to be. 12 speaks to the enemy's target being the arena of your thoughts, instead we are to focus on the positive, transforming our lives, not allowing anyone else on the playground to mess with God's plan.
I sold Home Interiors for a while, and just loved it, the positive training and outlook have been a large part of my life. Mary Crowley wrote a book, "God didn't take time to make a Nobody" that has just meant so much to me. Her attitude is the same: Look at the bright side, don't focus on the darker, move on, focus, focus, focus. A few years ago I worked close by a co-worker who could not do anything but focus on the negative. After a very short time, I realized that constant battering on my positive thinking was affecting my life at work, at home, everywhere. Life for this co-worker began by their having to get out of bed in the morning, and drag to work. From the moment of arrival, it was negative this, and negative that. I began to feel so oppressed that I dreaded going to work. I was able to move away to a different work section, but lunch times and break times were the same. I began to find ways to go to another building, another area, etc, to remove myself from the side-effects of the constant battle to stay positive in the darkness of their continual battle. I thought that God had allowed me to sit close to the person to help them look at the positive side of life, but in thinking back, the continual negativity wore away at my positive side. I think we all have to work at staying positive, and sometimes having to be in such close relationship with one who doesn't have a positive outlook can really have long lasting consequences. I look at that time, and wonder if there was something I could have done differently to keep from being dragged down, or to reach out differently.
It is said that you should never jump into the water with a drowning person, because they will drag you down. You should instead throw them a life line. If I had known about Joel's book then, I would have been able to recommend it, and possibly gotten some light in a dark tunnel. I really like what he has to say about focusing on the positive. The last sentences of Chpt. 12: ...start thinking God's thoughts. God's thoughts will fill you with faith and hope and victory. God's thoughts will build you up and encourage you. They will give you the strength you need to keep on keeping on. God's thoughts will give you that can-do mentality.
In Chapter 13, "God made you, and He has programmed you for victory." Recently, I talked to a friend who said "I grew up in such dire circumstances, but God lifted me out of that mire, and I no longer have to drag it around with me, rolling it every once in a while, to remind myself." He has put his past behind him. It doesn't mean it still doesn't show up as a nail hole everyonce in a while, but he has moved on, made of himself a Godly man, with God's help. If he had focused on his negative, he wouldn't be where he is today, a respected pastor, with a wonderful Godly family, friends who respect him, a job where he can minister to others. As mentioned in "Your Best Life," this man asked God to work in him, and through him, with an attitude of faith. As Frank mentions, he didn't look at the mountain, and say, "Oh, woe is me." He asked God to look at the mountain and help him with it, either move it, or allow him to climb it.
I want that attitude to stay with me... to not see the mountain as too big to move, but how best to get it to move, with God's help and direction. FROG is a term another friend uses a lot, he once kept miniature frogs on his desk, swimming in a water filled planter. Fully Relying On God.
I want that to be real in my own life.

11 comments:

Patty said...

Thanks for blogging, Rozan. I'm glad you are mulling over those chapters. I feel like they are such helpful chapters. I like your quote about God not taking time to make a nobody. I know we are all special to God and that He wants us to be happy with who we are. I think you are right that negative people can have an adverse effect on our lives. We need to surround ourselves with positive people as much as we can. Even though there will always be some negative people in our lives, we don't have to get down and wallow around in the negativity with them. Joel says, "Don't let other people play games with your mind, deceiving you into thinking that your value has diminished." (That was in chapter eight, "Understanding Your Value") I'm glad you pointed out that even though we reprogram our minds for victory, there will be times when we slip back into defeat. The important thing to remember is that we don't need to stay in defeat. I liked it when you called it a "nail hole". I think of that as a little blemish in the wall but it can be repaired. We all have flaws, and sometimes they aren't so little. Sometimes they may even be mountains. Like Frank said, "Tell your mountains how big your God is!" I like that thought too, Rozan. I think it was God's perfect timing today in church to have our pastor talking about mountains. I kept thinking about that part of the blog.

Thanks so much for contributing, Rozan. Your insights brought a lot to the study.

Patty said...

I think these thoughts about negativity can lead us right into chapter 15---"Speaking Life-Changing Words". Joel starts that chapter by telling about the time his mother was diagnosed with cancer. She would not let negativity into her life. Joel says "She refused to speak words of defeat. She didn't complain about how sick or weak she felt, or how awful her life was, or how hopeless her situations looked. She chose to put God's words in her mind and in her mouth."

It's not always easy to stay positive, but I've learned a lot about positivity from my daughter Tori, who would not let any negative thoughts enter her mind after her accident. She never uttered negative words. Instead she encouraged all those around her.

R4C said...

"Finally, brothers, 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." Philippians 4:8

This is one of my favorite passages and as usual, God's word has never failed me. I have held to this scripture through many tough times in my marriage and in raising my children. When my husband or kids weren't perfect and society expected perfection-- you know the comments, "I wouldn't put up with that" or "I wouldn't allow that from my child," etc. And it is easy to dwell on the infraction and not to say it should be ignored or unpunished, but do you punish your husband and what action do you take exactly when you "don't allow a teenager to do something?" Of course, you stand firm but it is easy to start thinking negatively of your child, focusing only on the intolerable behavior and listening to the 'easy to give' advice of well-meaning friends and the only thing that you end up doing is making yourself feel like a failure as a parent or wife.
This scripture often helped me realize that if I changed my focus from what my husband or children were doing that was "intolerable" and focused on what they were doing right that they would have a better chance, be given an increased hope, in doing what was right. And if in a given crisis or perceived betrayal, we can hold to God's word, and think about such things that are true (we are not our infractions), noble (we are children of God), right (we are completely forgiven), pure (we are made pure through Christ), lovely (we are created by God), admirable(we are being sanctified)— find anything that is excellent or praiseworthy to think about, God's word will not return void. Trust HIM!!

Patty said...

Kim, Philippians 4:8 is also one of my favorite verses. I agree that we must focus on what we appreciate about our loved ones, and not on any perceived shortcomings they may have. When we focus on their strengths, we see more of them. I also know that we must love ourselves enough to take good care of ourselves. Sometimes it's so easy to take care of everyone else, we forget to take care of ourselves. I know I'm guilty of that from time to time. When we aren't in optimal health, we wear out and have nothing to give to our families or anyone else for that matter. Thank God for our families. God entrusted these lives to our care, and we are blessed to have them. Thanks so much for sharing the word with us, Kim. God bless you and yours.

Patty said...

Kim, I like how you broke Philippians 4:8 down into parts, pointing out that our mistakes don't define us and that we are pure, royal, sanctified beings created by God. Awesome! What more could we desire? I liked reading in chapter 15 about how Joel's mom kept speaking faith-filled words as she battled her cancer, and eventually she came out the victor. I also liked it when Joel advised us to speak protection over our children. He reminded us that in Psalms 91, God promised to give angels charge over us so that no evil can come near our household. I claim that promise because I used to be the world's worst worrier. Now I try to guard my mind against negative emotions such as worry. I also try not to dwell on anger and jealousy . I used to rage, envy, and fret, but I don't do that much any more because I found out that it accomplishes nothing but increased anxiety for me. As long as I believed these negative emotions brought me what I wanted, I was in conflict. Now I've watched enough Dr. Phil and read enough Jerry Jampolsky to realize that the negative emotions were keeping positive emotions such as peace, happiness, and love away. Although I know that expressing anger is a healthy and important part of my human experience, I also know that holding onto anger has never brought me peace, happiness, or love. Jealousy and worry have never brought me those positive emotions either. In fact, negativity is quite effective in keeping peace, happiness, and love away. When I let go of worry, anger, and jealousy, I start feeling so much better. I don't want to make myself and anyone else feel guilty or bad. Jampolsky says that negative emotions are generated by fear. When we get rid of them, it paves the way for positive emotions like peace, happiness, and love. May we feel positive emotions and speak life-changing words!

Patty said...

I'm experiencing positivity today as I celebrate with my family over the Super Bowl. My niece Courtney married Torrance "Tank" Daniels while they were both attending Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Tank played for the Philadelphia Eagles last season but was cut from the team this fall. He spent two weeks looking for work before the New York Giants signed him to their practice squad. A few months ago he was signed to the regular roster as # 52. Speaking of life-changing words, I know that my nephew Tank is thinking about every word he says now that he is being interviewed frequently by the media because he is going to the Super Bowl. He recently said, “Every guy in the NFL, you know, wants the experience before they're done. How fortunate am I to be a second year player you know from a division two school, from a small town, you know, to be in the NFL and yet, you know, they have that opportunity to be playing in the Super Bowl.” I like the way Tank is coming from a place of gratitude as he prepares for the big game Sunday. Go, Tank! Go, Giants!

Patty said...

I have to share this as well because I like the way Tank realizes God's imprint on his life.

This came from another article:

~Daniels, the first NFL player from Division II Harding University, said he spoke with linebackers Omar Gaither and Chris Gocong as well as Matt McCoy, who has since moved to the New Orleans Saints.

"They tell me, 'I'm so jealous,' and then they congratulate me and wish me luck," Daniels said. "Every time I hear something like that, it makes me realize how blessed I am. By no means after being cut by the Eagles did I think I'd be going to the Super Bowl. Heck, I didn't even know if I could even play in this league any longer."~

God is granting His favor on Tank's life.

Patty said...

"I am starting off my day on a postive note, aligning my thoughts and words with His," says Joel in Chapter 15. Like Frank, I realize how important it is to begin our day with God. I love this blog so much because I feel like every day, I have some place to go to express my thoughts and to record what I have been studying. I am so grateful and happy now that I have this opportunity. Sometimes I encounter mountains, but like Rozan and Frank pointed out, these mountains are not unmovable. God is with me to help me climb my mountains if I can not cast them in the sea. I have to tell my mountains sometimes just how big my God is and then by allowing Him to direct my steps, I can usually move them. If He wants me to climb them, then I have inner peace knowing that He is my companion through it all. Dr. Michael Beckwith says, "We are not victims who have to live a life of fear, doubt, and worry. There's a sacredness within all of us that reveals itself as we invite it to. With affirmative prayer and meditation, by studying and making a conscious contact with God, we experience a shift in attitude. And our attitude determines our character, our character determines our destiny--regardless of the past, regardless of present conditions." Dr. Beckwith knows all about struggles with attitude and character because he was once a rebellious drug user and dealer before he surrendered his life to the Lord. This reminds me of a quote Holly sent to me yesterday about attitude, and I think it is worth sharing on the blog. It is a quote about attitude by Charles Swindoll. He says, "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude."

Jeanie said...

Since starting this Bible Study and reading this wonderful book I've learned alot about being more positive in my thinking and doing. In conversing with others, if I hear a negative comment I try to reverse the thought into a positive one. Like Patty said about the cold and snow, there is beauty on a nice crisp 0 degree morning. All of you have pretty much said it all about being in a positive state of mind and not letting anger, negative and worry dwell in your head.
"All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace." In other words, "the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" Romans 8:6
"Contentment is natural wealth; luxury, artificial poverty." In other words, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Phil. 4:11
I used to fret, worry alot but now am more relaxed and at a peaceful state, because I know God is handling the problem along with me and I won't allow things to get me down anymore. I can't repeat enough how much I love this book!!

Patty said...

And I can't repeat enough how much I appreciate you, Jeanie, and all the other bloggers, for your contributions. Thanks for sharing those verses and quotes. There is so much wisdom in them. "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding," says Solomon in Proverbs 2:6. So thank you, Jeanie, Kim, Rozan, Holly, Frank, Elizabeth, and all the rest for sharing that wisdom with us so we all can continue to grow. You are a blessing!

Patty said...

I was just reading about negativity in Eckhart Tolle's A NEW EARTH. He says, "Unhappiness...is the inner equivalent of the environmental pollution of our planet. Negative states such as anger, anxiety, hatred, resentment, discontent, envy, jealousy, and so on, are not recognized as negative but as totally justified and are further misperceived not as self-created but as caused by someone else or some external factor." In other words, we hold someone else responsible for our negative feelings when in reality we are the ones who control our own attitudes. Shakespeare said, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." It's up to us to make sure that we stay aware of negativity and be full of forgiveness as Jesus was at the cross when He said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do."