Welcome back! I appreciate your support in my battle against negativity and efforts to be more positive. It’s time to share the lessons learned from day two of my negativity diet. I hope you’re enjoying my journey to a more positive and optimistic life. If you missed Day 1, you can read all about it here.
My theme for today is part of 2 Corinthians 10:5, which commands us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Obviously this isn’t going to happen overnight and may not happen during my entire lifetime, but it is a worthy goal to work towards. Thankfully I know that I’m not in this on my own. In fact, I’m quite aware that, left solely to my human nature, it might not even be possible. However, with God, all things are possible and I trust Him to work these changes in my heart, mind and tongue.
The first negative thought of day two occurred when I tried to get my jam packed mail from my tiny mailbox. The bulk of the mail was political advertisements for the upcoming primary election. As I managed to wrestle the pile of mail from the box a bunch of the political ads fell on the ground, which, naturally, was dirty. The negative thought was something like, “argh these politicians are driving me crazy and wasting money and.” You’re thinking I forgot something. Nope. Before I went on with my mental rant I remembered our experiment, took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and reminded myself that they’re just doing their job. Personally I prefer to do research rather than rely on ads, so the ads did all go straight into the recycling bin, but at least the little inconvenience and few seconds of irritation didn’t last long or turn into a bad mood. The positive part of me counts that as a success.
Weirdly Dressed Person
Before paying such close scrutiny to my positive versus negative thoughts I probably wouldn’t have even noticed this particular judgmental thought. Apparently I think I’m the fashion police; at least in my own mind. Yes, part of my last job was to coach people on professional appearance but now I’m a writer, not a fashion consultant. Thankfully this thought never left the confines of my brain. Still, I felt so guilty I actually thought about not sharing. But guilt doesn’t help; whereas sharing might help others learn from my mistake and because I’m not naming names hopefully this won’t hurt anyone.
Ok, so I’m in a place of business where most of the staff is dressed professionally. This is someplace I frequent and everyone is really pleasant there (which is part of why I frequent the place). One of the staff members walks in wearing this totally unprofessional outfit that is also not age appropriate. Negative thought, “What is she thinking? How can she not know that she looks ridiculous?” Immediately I feel convicted of being judgmental. Thankfully I didn’t speak these thoughts out loud. For all I know it could be her day off and she just popped in to pick up something she left behind. She is a super nice lady. But even if she is coming in to work, it shouldn’t matter to me. I’m neither her boss nor her client. I smiled brightly at her and she smiled back. Had I not let the thought go already she probably would have seen some sign of unpleasantness on my face and our interaction wouldn’t have been as nice. So, apparently I have some character building to do but I prayed about it and it’s in God’s hands. I know that He will work on my heart in His good time.
The front door was left totally open and even the screen door was unlocked. In the past, I’d normally either make a big show of locking the door (deluding myself into thinking this might make others more likely to lock the door when that is totally not the case) or lock it quietly but add it to the security violation calendar. Yes, I realize that you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy. Who on earth keeps a household security violation calendar? Well, we have had conversations about how often this kind of thing occurs and it was mutually agreed that rather than argue, I would just make notes on a calendar and then at the end of the year we’d revisit the issue. I really don’t like keeping the calendar. I just don’t know how else to get people to lock the door. Asking, begging, explaining crime statistics, showing articles from police officers saying how important it is and other strategies haven’t worked. But you know what I realized? I’d never prayed about it. We’re supposed to cast all of our worries on the Lord. Well I’m giving this one to Him and ditching the security violation calendar. Whatever happens, it’s in God’s hands. Before I was done praying the irritation had lifted. I quietly locked the door and enjoyed the rest of a very pleasant evening with my husband (who even made me a vegan dinner, despite his being a carnivore).
So far, the experiment is going well. More eye opening than I expected, but I do want to learn and grow and I realize that this is part of the process. If I weren’t a Christian I think my self esteem would be shot but I know that I am precious in His sight. Had I done this experiment before accepting Jesus as my savior the negativity occurrences would have been far more significant. He has been working on my heart for years. There’s a lot more work left to do, but thanks to Him, I’ve come a long way. If you would like to learn more about true Christianity (having a personal, life changing relationship with Jesus Christ), here is a short video that I think you’ll find helpful: http://billygraham.org/specialsections/steps-to-peace/steps-to-peace.asp. May God bless you and help us all to release negativity and embrace optimism.