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Just a Thought

July 19, 2008

We all here the cliche, o he’s a “half-full” kind of guy or she’s a “half-empty” kind of girl… somehow we say that our personality is either optimistic or pessimistic. I kind of believe that it has to do with character. I mean think about it: what are the fruits of the spirit? what were the words of Jesus like?

I would have to say that I don’t believe it’s fair to use your personality as an excuse to say that you’re a pessimist. Instead, I think that it’s an issue of renewing your mind and changing the way you think. I can say this because in my flesh I am naturally negative and see the bad side of things. However, I make a conscious effort to change the way I think and try to see things how God would see them. This does not mean that everything is always rose colored. No, but it does mean that I am searching for the hand of God in every situation. This is something that you can practice. You can choose the thoughts that you will dwell on. You can choose to worry about the worst possible situation or you can pray for the best outcome. You can dwell on the negative or you can contend for the positive as the Lord takes you through the dirt.

Or even in day to day living– think about the things that upset you or cause you to have negative thoughts. The guy cut you off, you ran out of bread, you were offended by what he said, you stubbed your toe, you had to wait in a long line, your computer is running slow, you spilled your coke… Little things. But those little things add up. And pretty soon you’re so negative that no one can stand being around you. I have people like this in my life and they are no fun to be around for sure.

Anyway, I’m not perfect at being positive all the time and I find myself complaining too, but we can at least make a concerted effort to change the way we think and perceive situations. With enough practice it becomes habit and the way we naturally function. Just like any other habit you try to change, transforming your thoughts takes practice and sometimes great effort and even concentration. Before you know it, the Lord is changing how you think and the Holy Spirit is giving you better thoughts.

We want to be givers of life, not death.

Something else that kind of goes along with this: David Grotheim taught me a value and practice that I hold onto– “Always think the best of someone.” This is so vital. I cannot tell you how much it has changed the way I see other people and even how much trouble this “simple” (I quote it because it takes a lot to change your thought patterns in this area) practice saves you. When you are one, able to stop being so concerned about what others think of you and their motives, then it frees you a lot. And two, when you can think the best of the other person, it saves you from cursing them with your thoughts and words as well as judging them for something that you don’t even know is true or not. Plus, a lot of times, the person is not malicious and isn’t out to get you like you think (although there are those rare occasions). But for the most part, people aren’t out to get you and you don’t have to always think the worst of them. If you can’t see the whole picture then don’t fill it in with your negative thoughts of that person. Even if the person has some flaws (b/c we all do), try to see the best in them and see them how God does. I assure you God doesn’t think the malicious thoughts that we sometimes have of other people. Maybe David could explain it better.

Well, them’s my two cents for what it’s worth. The end.

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