It's painful to live in a world, in a country, where watching the news means seeing stories about parents killing or molesting or abusing their children. It's tough to live in a society where sex really doe sell just about anything. It's a battle to live in a world where demonic activity is glorified and exciting. Where violence is captivating, affairs are normal and foul language is so acceptable that hearing it doesn't even register any more.
I've heard a saying that goes something like, "What goes in must come out." But how does it come out? When does it come out? Does it even come out at all? Fully? Or are the words and the images and ideas burned into our mind's eye. Our soul.
Thinking about this made me wonder if I'm setting myself up for failure. If I, as a Christian woman trying to give up negative thinking as a way to draw closer to God, am filling my head with constant negativity with out thinking twice about it. What am I doing? It's all the little things. The shows and movies I watch. My work out playlist for the gym. The stupid "news" articles I read. None of it really promotes righteousness or positive thinking.
I've got a serious track record with depression. It is so easy for me to hold onto some little teeny tiny negative thing that happened to me or others close to me and let it eat me away. I still have a bad habit of doing that, it's just not as bad as before. I don't have time to be depressed with three kids. Plus, they fill me with a joy that is unlike any earthly joy I've ever experienced.
I read Ecclesiastes to see what it said about negativity and purpose and joy. For the most part, if you're just skimming, it seems like Debbie Downer wrote it. "Everything is meaningless..." over and over. However, several times in the book, King Solomon states that the best thing for man to do is to enjoy his labor. To work hard and enjoy productivity. It says, "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight..." (2:26 a) In this, I gathered that good things are given by God to those who are good in His eyes. Righteous people. People who love and serve God with everything they are and do. The book of Proverbs affirms this over and over. The entire Bible confirms this over and over.
In order for me to honor God, I must first rid myself of that which will corrupt my mind, the negative, the worldly, the evil. Think only on things of beauty and purity. It's so much easier said than done. I've been trying to do it and I find myself being negative without even realizing it until I'm knee deep in judgementalism and frustration.
Ways that I plan to continue to push out the negativity from my mind is to pray constantly. Eyes closed, eyes open. Between chores. During chores. While driving and before bed. When I wake in the morning and while I'm making breakfast. As much as I possibly can. Being in constant communication with God is never a bad thing.
Another way is to stop filling my head with certain things. I'm honestly going to have to stop reading the news for a little while. I get really upset and down after I read the news. I'm going to have to be much more selective about the shows I watch as well as the music I listen to. Instead of my usual playlist at the gym this morning, I listened to praise and worship music. I thought it would be a weird genre to work out to but in all honesty, it wasn't odd at all. And my workout didn't seem as tedious as it usually does.
Reading my Bible more regularly.
Being more sincere in my proclamations about my faith.
Keeping busy. Not that I'm ever NOT busy as a mom but even in my down time, being productive in some way is going to be key, I think. Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. I'm sure she enjoyed some r&r every once in a while but the Bible says that her lamp does not go out. She's always doing something, keeping busy, being productive and taking care of her family.
Tune in next week (or any other day for that matter as I may bring this up periodically in between the Wednesdays) for more on my journey to give up negative thinking for Lent... and hopefully for the rest of my life.