“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.”
Shannon L. Alder
Something I have been thinking about a lot over the past couple days is Lent. Not that I have ever given anything up for Lent but because it just began and quite a few people I know have been talking about it, which doesn’t surprise me much. In fact, what we would, should, could give up, even if it’s only for 40 days, can make for good water cooler conversation. If nothing else, it’s much better than politics and much much better than yet another conversation about the Super Bowl.
Anyway, I was thinking about what I
would should give up and decided to play along this year by giving up negative thoughts, poor reactions to situations, and limiting my exposure, to the greatest extent possible anyway, to people and things that cause them. Believe it or not, I’m not perfect and I do struggle in this area.
As far as real people go, that’s easy peasy. I will avoid soul sucking vampires, drama queens, negative Nellies, and perpetual victims who constantly whine, complain, and wallow in self-pitty by ducking into the bathroom when I see them coming, pretending I just got a phone call, or saying, “I’d love to chat but I am late for a meeting” or something. Yeah, not entirely honest but better than toxic people raining on my parade.
For the hateful and chronically angry bloggers and Internet trolls who seem to live to exhaust me with their pessimism and pull me into their sad life of chaos, twisted thoughts, and drama, that’s easy peasy-er. Block, ban, delete, ignore, and pray.
The rest is a little more difficult but won’t be impossible because, after all, the one thing nobody can take away from me is the way I choose to respond to situations I can’t control and what others say and do. My problem, I have learned, isn’t always that people and circumstances are negative but rather how I chose to react.
Complaining, blaming, becoming angry, fretting, criticizing, and needlessly reacting at all when walking away would be the best thing to do aren’t going to change the perpetually perturbed that surround me, anything that’s going on in the world, or any situation I may personally find myself in.
Regardless of who or what I may face in the next 40 days, my attitude will be completely positive and edifying. After all, I can’t have a positive freedom in Christ life and a negative and un-Christlike attitude at.the same time, it won’t work.
When negativity controls my thoughts, and it too often does, it affects my behavior, influences my actions, and undermines opportunities for me to focus on the God who is gracious enough to grant me my next breath and to be a light in the darkness of a fallen world.
My goal for the end of the 40 days is to, hopefully, realize how powerful my thoughts are and never be negative again.
My motto for the next 40 days:
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly [petty, annoying, distracting, not edifying] things.”
– Colossians 3:2