I am quite the charmer, and clearly no Pollyanna.
To say that something is good is difficult for me. I see the underside of things first, including my own issues (I’d be a better friend if I wasn’t so lazy to pick up the phone). Failures define the accomplishments (I passed the test only because I didn’t fail). When good things happen it is due to the lack of a mistake, the omission of the faulty part (We were on time because the car didn’t give us any trouble). Somehow the negatives loom darker than the positives shine, and it is only in the absence of the darkness that I come around to see the light (I don’t hate my new haircut; I guess it’ll do).
Once in a while I see the good things first, but I’m rarely surprised when the shoe drops. I’ve been waiting for it all along. Unfairness rules. Frustrations lurk in every corner. It doesn’t do any good to do good, because something will come up right behind you and ruin it.
This sunny viewpoint has been known to cause personal and interpersonal problems. Negativity affects mood; frowning causes lines and wrinkles. Frequent pessimism can lead to anxiety and depression. Criticism doesn’t stop when I turn away from the magnifying mirror. It extends to those around me: I see your flaws too. You really should fix that.
I am aware that no one likes to be around someone who highlights the bad, that nobody likes a sourpuss. I accept that curmudgeonliness is not an attractive personality characteristic; unfortunately, it’s where I live.
On the clear other end of the spectrum, God created everything from nothing. He created the light, and the sky, the earth and the water, the trees and the plants, the sun, moon, and stars, all the animals and people, and he did it in six days and then he rested. He saw that it was good, excellent even, and he never looked back (Genesis 1:1-31).
I want a smidgen of this confident positivity.
What I try to remember in my Debbie Downer moments is that God says everything is for good, and this includes the bad stuff. There is a silver lining to every cloud. He promised that there would be troubles, but we can survive them with his help and power.
It’s this silver lining that I’d like to be able to recognize and hold onto, the assertion that good will come from bad every time, even if it’s not in my lifetime. It may be that I’m not meant to see it, and it doesn’t do any good to set up camp on it.
I’ve learned how to handle myself when Negative Nancy threatens to take over: I pray. I meditate on an image of smiling Jesus. I purposefully think about the wonderful world that God made us. When I get desperate, I dive into the Bible.
I should do that first. I hate that I don’t think of it right away.
And there I go again.
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. James 1:17-18 (NLT)