Some days I bounce out of bed. Other days I drag.
Some days my prayers soar to the heavens. Other days I struggle to ask in faith.
Some days I speak encouraging words that build others up and inspire their faith. Other days I speak fearful, worrisome words that direct their eyes to circumstances and trouble their faith.
Some days I focus on every good and perfect gift God has given me. Other days I catalog everything I don’t like about my life and my circumstances.
I suspect I’m not alone. You struggle too. Staying positive when we feel negative is easier some days than others, and it’s almost always a battle.
But it’s a battle we must fight.
Negativity comes when we take our eyes off God and focus instead on our circumstances or feelings. Like a kitchen fire, it starts small but can quickly burn a house down. To tolerate or ignore it is to invite our own destruction.
So how do we quench the fires of negativity?
Here’s my three-step formula:
1. STOP. As soon as your brain starts walking down the path of negativity, put the brakes on. Reign in those thoughts and don’t allow them to run away with your happiness.
Negativity is sneaky. Like a looter during a power outage, it gathers everything that makes you happy and spirits it away. Then it heaps up everything bad it can find and presents the pile to you with a flourish and an evil grin.
As soon as we recognize this sneaky joy thief, we must take action. Sometimes this is as simple as saying aloud, “NO, I’m not going to think negatively, fret, or grumble.”
2. DROP. Drop the woe and replace it with wow. It’s not easy just to stop thinking negatively. We have to fill the void with something else. Philippians 4:8 tells us what that “something else” is: “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.”
Choosing to replace our negative, pessimistic, gloom and doom thoughts with positive, hope-filled, upward-looking thoughts is an act of self-discipline. If we practice, it will become easier and eventually become our default setting.
3. ROLL. Roll your cares off your frail, weak shoulders and onto God’s big, strong ones. As the old hymn says, “Have a little talk with Jesus.” It sounds simplistic, but praying about what we’re struggling with is amazingly powerful in at least three ways.
First, it moves us from powerlessly spinning our wheels to tapping into the greatest force for change available. Second, it forces us to acknowledge our helplessness and our need of God’s help. Finally, it opens the door for peace to enter our hearts.
Philippians 4:6-7 commands us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So the next time negativity threatens your happiness, I encourage you to stop, drop, and roll. By tapping into the strength of self-discipline, the truth of God’s word, and the power of prayer, you can quench the fire of negativity and embrace the peace and joy God intends for you.
What about you? Do you struggle with negativity? How do you fight it? I'd love it if you'd share your thoughts in the comment box. If you're reading via email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, then scroll down to the bottom of the post to comment.