Saturday, February 27, 2016

SO Not Pollyanna

How many of you remember who Pollyanna is? She's a little girl in a movie named after her character. She was known for seeing the sunny side of life no matter what. Pollyanna is a term often used to make fun of people who are always chipper or glass half full types. 

  1. the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.

  2. The world, however, thrives on negativity. It cherishes whining, complaining, and griping. It welcomes it. And, honestly, the church is often just as bad. 

I have a confession. Negativity, focusing on the bad, is one of my struggles. Oh, I am not outright dissing people with gossip all the time (though I did partake). But it's the glass is not just half empty but it's probably not even filled with something I like type thinking that was getting me. 

The thing is, no one said a word to me about it, not even my friends and family. I live with children who have a lot of struggles. I live with a husband in a hard line of work. People understood when I complained or whined. They took pity on me. The fed the fire. 

Then, 2 Sundays ago, our pastor spoke from Ecclesiastes and about how we spend more time whining and complaining than we do with God each day. He mentioned Facebook, social media, and just flat out unhappiness with our situation. He asked if we spent as much time on things of God as we do with negative thinking. He didn't ask us to speak out, but in my head I was screaming, "NO! I DON'T". 

Unbeknownst to me, my husband was having the same conviction. You know how you walk out of church with a bit of a headache from the proverbial spiritual 2"x4" between the eyes from a really good sermon? Yeah, I think we were both rubbing for a while. 

I decided to try hard to make a change in my life. 

Not only am I trying hard to focus on God more in my day, to lean on Him more, and to have deeper and more meaningful prayers, but I am working hard on watching my words and my thoughts. I want them to be pleasing to God and a blessing to those who hear them. 

Here's the problem with that second part. It's HARD. It's so hard. I never, ever realized how much I spoke in a way God wouldn't be pleased with. I felt justified in complaining or talking about how others hadn't done me right. I mean, they should treat me right and my life WAS hard. But, eventually I had to say to myself, SO WHAT! 

OK, someone ticked me off. So what. 

Someone wasn't nice to me or hurt me. So what. 

It takes me a long time each day to deal with medical issues or special needs my kids have. SO WHAT! 

Christ took a beating like no one alive today can imagine. He was taken near death and plucked back just before he died at their hands only to have to carry a heavy piece of wood (which would have been hard for the healthiest of men) and then was nailed to that piece of wood in excruciating pain. Wahh, poor me. 

It's still hard. I work at it every day. I work at it every single minute of every single day. Sin is like that, isn't it? You fall into it so easily, almost without realizing it at the time. Then, when you want out it's the hardest thing in the world at the time. 

I tell you this not to hold myself up as some shining example. Please, don't be like me. Be like Christ. No, I tell you this for two reasons. 
  1. I want to admit I am a sinner who struggles with hard things and to share so I am more accountable for my words and thoughts. 
  2. I hope someone else might look into God's word on the subject if they are also struggling with this same issue.
 We need to turn back to God. We need to spend more time thinking about God, doing His will, and worshiping Him than anything else, but especially with thinking about our own hardships and lives (and ESPECIALLY the doings of others)

If you are wondering about the passage our pastor spoke from, it's in Ecclesiastes 3. Actually it's was a much smaller portion but I wanted to share it and the next week's portion since they obviously so together so beautifully in thought. 
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? - Ecclesiastes 3:9-22 (KJV)


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