Don’t Give Power To the Negatives

Do not give negativesEcclesiastes 9:7-8 “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.”

I hate to admit it, but I think I’m more of a see the glass “half-empty” person than a see it “half- full” optimist. I give disappointment and unmet expectations far too much power in my life. I want to change that.

Not long ago I invited a few people for dinner. On the morning of the event, half of those coming bailed out. Yep. Half. At first I was so disappointed I almost cancelled the whole thing. But rather than stewing on it (and empowering the negatives) I found myself adjusting both the menu and my attitude. I decided to discard my original expectations for the night, and let God set a new agenda. Guess what. We had a great evening! Actually, a far better one than I had even hoped for originally. I’m convinced it never would have happened had I continued to fuel the let-down.

The problem with allowing negatives to overshadow the positives is that it drains us of joy. And God wants us to be joyful people (Galatians 5:22). No doubt life in a fallen world can be hard, but much in life exists for our enjoyment. As my friend Rod Woods says, “Joy is a matter of how you focus.” Will I let the fact the cashier short-changed me for the pastry I purchased eclipse its wonderful tastiness? When I evaluate my class, will I let the one student who fumbled through his speech override those students who worked hard? Will I let the rejection of one friend cancel out the faithfulness of three others?

One of the wisest persons who ever lived encouraged us to celebrate life. Enjoy our food and drink. Enjoy our relationships. Enjoy our hard work. He recognized our tendencies to let worry and regret sabotage our happiness. God gives us opportunities each day to discover hidden pockets of pleasure. The more energy we exert in looking for the good, the weaker our disappointments will become.

So don’t let the little foxes in life spoil your vine. Express your gratitude for the half-full glasses and before you know it, overflowing joy will fill you to the brim.

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