Monday, August 1, 2016

Are You That Negative Person?

Do you know a “Negative Nelly”? The person in your life who is always highlighting the terrible things on the news, sharing information about who is ill, dying or just died. The person who is quick to cast a shadow on well…anything and everything. Have you ever been a “Negative Nelly” when you are out with your family or friends? We all go through difficult moments where we experience loss and it is perfectly acceptable to grieve. However, have you considered that a person who is constantly focusing on the negative on an ongoing basis, when a person is not grieving, may not be following God’s plan?

 As Christians God has called us to be the Light of the World. A light shines the way for others. Christians are to be examples of joy to others. Have you ever noticed the light in someone’s eyes when they smile or laugh? The Bible instructs us to “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). It can be very difficult to rejoice, when our goals do not seem obtainable. God does not promises us happiness on this earth, yet he does ask us to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). We need joy, especially in the bad times. I think of the apostle Paul singing in jail. He could not have been happy to be shackled hand and foot in cold dark surroundings with little if any nourishment or comfort (Acts 16:25). Yet, in his dark hour he was praying and singing to God. It was such a witness to those around him that all the incarcerated felons wanted to stay near Paul and Silas even after they had the opportunity to go free. Paul was a light of joy and I want to be a light of joy to others during the rough times in life, look for something to praise and thank God for.

Perhaps it is your health, your job, your family, your friends. Look around in nature to find a bird, flower, or shining star. Or better yet, look at those less fortunate than yourself. Look at the homeless on the street corner, those in the hospitals, neighbors who are struggling. It doesn’t take much to find someone you know who needs our prayers. Often when we focus on ourselves we can be discouraged but when we find things we are thankful for, we are encouraged. Another great Bible text that illustrates this point is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Keep track of all the things you are thankful for and see if it lifts your spirit. Many times our friends can encourage us, if we share our struggles. Ask a friend to share what they are thankful for. Don’t be afraid to admit your heartache. It’s only when we are vulnerable that we can receive the help we desperately need.

 I recently read a little book entitled Finding Joy: Developing patterns for a joyful life by Jill Briscoe. This easy read is filled with biblical examples of God working in people’s lives. Briscoe suggests that there are “joy snatchers” eager to rob the blessing of joy God desires to instill in you. Recall Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” God wants us to be joyful with hope for a bright a glorious future (if not immediate than in the future New Jerusalem). Whether you are constantly faced with a “Negative Nelly” or you are struggling to find a light, hope, and something to be positive about, there is joy all around us if we take the time to look and talk about it.

 This post was written by: Monica Nudd I am a wife to a wonderful husband and a teacher since 2005. I previously taught in Maryland and Virginia before coming to Indiana in 2013. I enjoy challenging my students and planning inquiry-based lessons that engage my "kids." I earned a master's of education degree from University of Maryland with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction, teacher leadership, and mathematics. I previously earned a B.A. in elementary education from Washington Adventist University. I enjoy camping, cooking, traveling, and board games.
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  1. I like the concept of "joy snatchers". The devil can accomplish that through just about anything! If we become aware of that concept maybe we can catch the thief in the act and send him packing.

    1. I like the concept too. It can be easy to overlook but that is an easy way The devil can get to you if you are not aware.


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