The weekend is upon us! A few more work hours and then we can declare “party time” until Monday. Maybe this is your approach to the weekend, or maybe you dread the weekend because you have to work, or the traffic is worse. However you feel about the two days sandwiched in between Friday and Monday, let me be the first to say, “Have a great weekend!”
Shut Out the Negative
Everywhere we turn, there are negatives. The news is full of bad news. When I was watching Fox News faithfully, I felt more on edge. It is good to be informed, but watching it constantly and dwelling on all the crises and potential catastrophes kept my mind filled with fear instead of God’s promises. There is a reason the Bible tells us to keep our minds on concentrated on Him.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Recently, a friend of mind deleted her Facebook account. She decided it was not blessing her life. Most of us who spend a lot of time on Facebook can understand how easy it is to get sucked in to other people’s lives in unhelpful and potentially unhealthy ways. Not only that, but she has almost completely stopped watching TV. She will occasionally turn something on, but she is extremely careful to make sure it is something that will not fill her mind with garbage – and she usually falls asleep in the first five minutes anyway. ~smile~
I asked her recently if she missed the outlets she had given up, and she convincingly replied “No, not really.” She’s reading a lot, she’s bright eyed, and she’s enjoying her time with people. She really does seem happier these days!
Find the negative sources in your life and ditch them! Even if it means giving up some hobbies you enjoy, it may be worth it if those hobbies are encouraging you to stay mired in negativity.
Speak the Positive
This is where I occasionally need a good swift kick in the rear! When I am tired, disillusioned, or not feeling my best, I can start spouting out negative comments.
It’s snowing again? Really?
This station has too many commercials. It’s infuriating!
I hate cleaning!
Do you really want Vietnamese food again? Yuck! (Eric loves it, I do not….)
There will always be something to complain about if we are in the mood to fuss. I’ve never been in the market for a good gripe and not been able to find one. Some days I literally want to throw a 3-year-old fit just because I don’t feel great. Do you ever get the urge to stomp your feet and scream?
The obvious, and yet not so obvious, antidote to falling into the abyss of negativity is to speak what is good. In order to make positive statements, we must first have positive thoughts.
It’s snowing again? Really? No, wait. Snow does complicate travel, but it is also beautiful. Imagine how green spring with be in just a few weeks. Ramsey (our golden retriever) *loves* the snow and has such a good time playing it. And snow reminds us of how clean we are before God when we repent and He washes us white as snow. And when it snows, we are more likely to have extended family time. Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of your creation – even the snow. ~smile~
This station has too many commercials. It’s infuriating! Wait. You know what… the commercials give me a chance to finish chores. Several five minute commercial breaks allow me time to empty the dishwasher, put clothes in the dryer, take leisurely bathroom breaks, and return e-mails! Commercials encourage me to accomplish tasks so I don’t get sucked in to a TV coma!
I hate cleaning! But, I can turn on worship music while I clean. The time goes by much more quickly and I feel so spiritually refreshed by the time I’m done. Not to mention, the end result of cleaning is a tidy home that makes me feel at peace.
Do you really want Vietnamese again? Yuck! Okay, just because I did not like the first several dishes I tried does not mean I won’t like the next item I try. I will keep looking. It is worth it because I know how much you love this restaurant and I love to see you happy.
Even just writing out these scenarios made me feel better inside. It is freeing to find and express the positive. Life just seems happier when we do! Perhaps we are victimized by our own sinful thoughts?!
Give Your Problems a New Name
Mom was talking to me about a challenge she and Dad were facing, and she said, “We have another opportunity to trust God.” Though her voice did not sound excited and energized, she was speaking truth and reframing their situation. It was not ideal, but on the plus side, they were going to have the opportunity to see God work in their lives. Seeing how God provides is exciting. Like the old gospel song Through It All says, “For if I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know God could solve them, I’d never know what faith in God could do.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.– 1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:5-7 (ESV)
When you start giving your problems a new name, you may encounter some eye-rolling from your friends and family. That’s okay. You need not stay in the depths of despair simply because misery loves company. You should not lie to yourself and act like there are no challenges in your life, but you can reframe those challenges into something positive.
Problem: They are cutting my hours at work. How am I going to make ends meet?
Reframe: They are cutting my hours at work. It is exciting to see how God is going to care for me. This may be the time He opens the door for me to get a better job. Maybe I’ll be able to use this extra time to serve in the church. He has always provided for me in the past, and I am sure He will do it again!
Problem: My best friend is clearly upset with me, and I don’t know why. Will our friendship survive?
Reframe: My best friend is clearly upset with me, and I don’t know why. Though I don’t look forward to it, I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with her and find out what is bothering her. It won’t be comfortable, but I think our friendship can be even closer after we have a good air-clearing session.
Wallow or Worship
When life hands me disappointments, I am also handed a choice. Wallow or worship? I can lie down in my problem and thrash about, beating myself up and wondering where God is in all of this. Or, I can lift my hands, surrender to God’s will (even when it’s unclear), and worship Him through the storm. One method satisfies my flesh (It’s all about me, and I’m MAD!). And the other method makes me step back and glorify God instead of myself (It’s not about me, and God is going to be glorified in this situation).
As you zip into your weekend, I would challenge you to reframe all of your problems this week. When you have a negative, turn it into a positive. When you are disappointed, turn to God and ask Him to help you trust in His master design. After a week of dwelling on good, see if your overall mood and countenance has changed. Even ask those around you if they notice a change in you. ~smile~
Challenge your sweetie to do the same. Spend a week or longer reframing your problems into possibilities and positives. Do it every day for a few weeks and it will become a habit. Imagine how much happier your future home will be if you both approach life with this attitude!
Your attitude is powerful, and it can make or break your connection!
Will you try reframing your problems this week?