Thursday, December 18, 2014

Leave the Negativity out of the Nativity

Photo Courtesy of Imagery Majestic/
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV

I'm so thankful that our pastor has been focused on JOY during this season of advent.  One thing I would hate to do is forget about Joy and let the hustle and bustle of Christmas suck the energy and life out of my soul the way that negativity and stress can often do.  In order to train my brain to think POSITIVELY, I have to look at what negative thoughts look like versus positive thoughts.

  • Negative Notion                                                               
"I can't believe I have MORE paperwork to fill out for my daughter to qualify for Medicaid.  This has been taking months, and now we have to wait longer???"

  • Joyful Juxtaposition
"Yes!  We are one step closer to getting the coverage we need.  AND, I was just able to call a care coordinator DIRECTLY; a REAL LIVE PERSON to schedule our home visit!"

  • Negative Notion
"I am chilled to the bone by this pouring rain and now I have to walk ALL THE WAY into the supermarket to push a wet cart through the store, stand in line, and then walk all the way back to my car getting myself and the groceries soaked."

  • Joyful Juxtaposition
"We have the money to buy food.  Not only that, but we have the money even after I have been out of work for over 6 months.  That is a miracle.  And I get to push the food in a cart, and drive it home in my car rather than carry it on my head for miles."

  • Negative Notion
"Now I have to get a work permit to work with children here in the state of Nevada?  What did I just have the background check done for with the school district?  Why do I have to jump through all these hoops?"

  • Joyful Juxtaposition
"This makes me very thankful because now I know what measures are taken to ensure the safety of our children."

The examples I just gave you are things that I TOTALLY thought FIRST...I went NEGATIVE FIRST!  Then, after reading and studying the book of Philippians, and after another day of prayer and fasting (I did that a couple of weeks ago), I saw the OBVIOUS joyful perspective with which I should be approaching these situations.

If you catch yourself going negative...thinking: many Christmas parties do we have to attend? 
Ugh...why do I have to work the day before and after Christmas?  
Ugh...why does my Grandma make so many cookies, when she KNOWS I'm trying to lose weight? 
Pray for God to show you the joy. 
Look at how many friends and family we have, that we are invited to so many parties; imagine how life would be without them.  
Or, I'm so fortunate to have a job, and working around this special holiday gives me a chance to encounter more people and tell them, and SHOW them what a difference that little baby in the manager has made to the world.  
Or, I'm so lucky to have a Grandma who loves us and is healthy enough HERSELF to still be baking this HUGE amount of cookies.  We should take half of the cookies to a homeless shelter.  
Trust me, I know it's hard to do this.  We live in a world that thrives on drama and negativity (just look at the volumes of successful "reality tv" shows there are and try to think of an episode that doesn't have drama and negavity at its core.)  I once took a fiction-writing course via mail correspondence.  I remember my teacher sending my papers back saying, "Where's the conflict?"  My response was, "Well, does there HAVE to be conflict?"  His response was, "Yes, or else no one finds it interesting enough to continue reading it."  Hopefully, this piece that I'm writing HERE will serve as a reminder for all of us for what a "positive" thought verses a "negative" thought can look like, and how we can make the POSITIVE thoughts happen on a more regular basis. 

Pray:  Heavenly Father, as we ready ourselves for Christmas, help us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and how EVERY good and perfect thing comes from you; so we can trust in you, and look at things in a positive light because you are holy, true and sovereign.  Help us to meditate on things that perfect, just, and righteous; not the negative.  Amen.

~Tammie Hefty

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