“…acknowledge the negatives, but focus on the positives.”
Life is a crazy thing, is it not? It seems like just when you think you have things under control, figured out, or handled…it happens again. The “it” being life. In the movie 500 Days of Summer Tom asks Summer “What happened?” in reference to why things didn’t work out with her last boyfriend. Summer smiles simply and calmly replies, “What always happens…life.” How true that is.
l i f e h a p p e n s.
Right now, it feels like life is happening so fast. It feels like every paper ever written ever is swirling around in a huge gust of wind and it seems like there’s no way to catch them all, or put the pages back together. Dramatic, I know, but hey, it works. On each of the pages are different moments. Some are filled with pain. Some or filled with laughter. Others are filled with the essence of curiosity and wonder, while there are those that are filled with fear and disappointment. The pages themselves are blurred, but their contents are not. So, as I run through this tornado of sorts, it’s hard to focus in on just one paper because they’re all flying around me so quickly. However, what I can focus on so quickly and so acutely are the negative marks/moments on these papers. You know…the “i’m not good enough,” “i can’t do this,” “i don’t understand this,” “i’m not understood,” “i need to work harder,” “i’m a crappy student,” “i’m a bad friend,” “i’m a bad daughter,” “i’m too selfish,” the list goes on…
I think the worst part about the negative list is that I can’t sit here and say that everything mentioned is a lie. Each item holds some form of merit. It may not hold as much merit as I give it, but the merit still stands.
But what about the positives? What is it about me that can’t so easily focus on the positives? (As I write this my mind is playing devil’s advocate with itself and I’m tempted to delete everything that I’ve just written, but I want to be honest and raw, so I’m going to try to keep typing…)
The key word here is “focus.” I acknowledge the positives and readily and willingly bring them up, but that’s not what I dwell on, or at least…not when it comes to myself. That’s not what I let resonate with me. Why? Because I don’t trust the Lord like I should. Because I don’t want to trust Him like I should. Because I don’t understand His character and I want an explanation for everything, but He is God and I am not and I can’t always get what I want. AND THAT’S SO HARD. I typed that out, but that doesn’t mean that I’m 100% okay with it.
There needs to be a switch. Instead of focusing on the negatives and acknowledging the positives, I need to acknowledge the negatives, but focus on the positives. I think we all do. A great friend of mine told me this. The friend said, “you didn’t even mean to, but without realizing it, just then you brought up only the negatives about (insert situation here) because you’re annoyed. And that’s not you.”
My gut reaction was to say, “Shut up! No, I didn’t. I don’t care.” But, instead I paused and took in what was said to me. My friend was right. I allowed my mood to dictate everything I said, because I felt that it gave me reason and justification to say what I did.
What if God was the same way? What if He allowed his mood to dictate how he treats and loves us? What if God wasn’t consistent, and like us, let his feelings control a lot of his responses and actions?
Just think about that for a moment. Really think on it…
Thankful He’s not like that? I know I am.
I was reading Esther this morning, a story that I know well. As I was reading, I was trying to picture everything like a movie. (No, not the one that was produced a few years ago). I was trying to picture everything as if I was there and was watching from some tree or something a far off. In verse 7 of chapter 2 it says, “The young woman (Esther) was lovely and beautiful.” And as the chapter continues we learn that The King becomes enthralled with Esther and her beauty. She finds favor with the King. As the book continues we learn that even though Esther is a Jew the King still welcomes her into his court. (Btw, the fact that she is a Jew is a big “NO NO,” for lack of a better way to articulate it, in the kingdom). But the King loves and accepts her anyways. He acknowledged the negative (which isn’t really a negative, but it is in this story), but instead focused on the positive. God does the same thing. He sees our brokenness, loves us through that, and chooses to focus on His son that redeemed us. So when Jesus looks at us, He sees us as “lovely and beautiful.”
WHY DON’T I UNDERSTAND THAT? (Also, I literally just put two and two together. I wasn’t going to add the part about Esther in this post, but when I was re-reading, everything sort of clicked. It may not be that big of a deal to those of y’all that read this, but to me it was a really cool and perfectly timed moment. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.)
So, what’s my point? Ya know…I’m not sure. Because I don’t have it all together and often when I blog I learn as I type. I want what the Lord has for me, but I often want it my way. I abuse the fact that He sees me as lovely and I spit in His face by criticizing not only myself, but the other sons and daughters that He’s created. The struggle comes when I try so hard, too hard. The struggle comes when I refuse to trust God. The struggle comes when I think that my efforts are what’s going to make a difference, make me feel better, make God love me more.
[God, Thank You. Help…]