April 5, 2014

Positivity Is Power

Many people do not think it's possible to think positive in light of any situation. Indeed, some situations can be tragic beyond belief: death, sexual abuse, physical abuse, poverty, drug addiction, imprisonment, starvation, the list goes on. Most anyone would respond, "How on earth can you find positivity among any of those things?" The answer is, in our human selves, we can't. We can only find these things if we look to God for understanding and hope. There are times that we cannot see through our pain or sadness to find the silver lining. There are many situations in which one would say there is absolutely no silver lining. But if we look to Jesus, and we take a moment to step back from the situation and approach it as someone who is loved and protected by Our almighty Father, we are better able to see these things. That way when we put ourselves back into the reality of our situation, we are able to cope with it better and find joy in every circumstance, no matter how devastating.

I have a friend who's daughter fell off the curb and cut her whole face up badly in doing so. She stated what a blessing it was, and people looked at her like she was out of her mind. Until she went on to tell them that about five steps further ahead there was a very deadly snake hidden in the grass that the daughter would've stepped right on or near and most certainly been bit. The bite to this child from this particular snake would've absolutely been fatal. So the blessing? A scraped up face that will heal in a week or two, versus losing her daughter's life in an instant. Her daughter (who was 6 at the time) even stated, "Mommy, God saved me from that snake." Gratefulness and positivity, even in her pain. Another friend I know lost her child in a tragic car accident. Anyone would logically say there is absolutely no positive angle you can pull from that. But again, if you look deeply and lean on God, you will see it. God gave her that child to enjoy for all of those years, God has given her the memories that sustain her every single day and keep her near to her son. She finds joy in looking at his pictures, joy in remembering the times they spent together and how much they love each other still. Those are the hidden blessings that stem from a tragic occurrence.

I know another friend of mine who battled cancer, and he lost. In a matter of only four months he went from not knowing anything was wrong with him (working full time, playing on his basketball league, and being filled of life), to almost unrecognizable and passing away surrounded by friends and family. I was holding his hand when he received his diagnosis, and also when he took his last breath at the age of 34. This was only 2 years ago, and the pain is still deep in missing him. No blessing in that? Again, there are plenty present, but it took even me some time to see them. He brought joy to so many peoples lives, and that was evident by not only those surrounding him at the hospital, but those at his celebration of life, those that remember him every single year on his birthday and the anniversary of his death, and those that don't go day without thinking of him...of which I am one of those. The positive we bring out of this is that he is no longer in pain, he is no longer slowly wasting away, he is no longer wondering or scared of what will become of him. The positivity for those of us still here on earth, would be the memories, the time spent with him, seeing how many lives he impacted and the passion to keep his memory alive. The sheer gratitude of him existing in our lives for the period that he did.

This world knows a lot of pain, a lot of sin, a lot of unanswered questions. I know a rapist, I know a murderer, I know molester, I know a physical and emotional abuser, I know someone with a severe drug addiction, I know someone with a severe sexual addiction, I know someone with a deadly eating disorder. None of these are beautiful things, none of these are things that we enjoy to hear, see, or know about. But yet they are still reality on this earth, and we will be affected by them whether we like it or not. The difference is in how we approach these things? What will we take away from them? Will we learn to change the way we look at things, or will we let these things change us and our faith in God? I am not saying trauma is easy to overcome, I have had more than my fair share of many kinds of betrayal and assaults against me. But I am living proof that forgiveness and positivity can take you worlds apart from feeling like a victim, to feeling like a survivor. Positivity does not change your circumstances, but it does change how you are able to get through them. It gives you strength, it helps you focus on your blessings, it keeps you in the present instead of lingering in the past or fretting about the future. Positivity is a very underestimated emotion; yet it is also one of the most powerful. It takes much practice, but it is possible. We can find the good when we see God, we can find the good when we think of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. If he would give his life for our sins and suffer unbelievably more than any of us could ever imagine…doing all of this as a perfectly flawless and beautiful human, should there be one single thing in our lives that we cannot give thanks for what find gratefulness in?

That does not mean are supposed to jump for joy, send up balloons, or throw a party when something terrible happens. Of course not. But this does mean that in order for us to bear things better, in order for us to support others who are going through terrible ordeals, we need to focus on the positive and focus on healing. Focusing on the bad or staying in the past only keeps us in the clutches of the enemy, right where he wants us, slipping away from God. I hope the following verses will help you to see that finding the positive in things is not only possible, it is essential to live the joyful and abundant life that God desires for us to have. Through the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly…He never leaves our side for a moment. It is we who leave Him by giving up or becoming hateful towards Him and the situation we are in. Find your strength in Our Savior, find the blessings all around you in your life, and pull something positive from every situation in order to make you stronger for the next one trial to come. There will be more, but at the end, there will be the ultimate reward of seeing Jesus face-to-face and sitting at the right hand of God. Press on!

"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

"Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:5 AMP)

"Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you." (1 Peter 3:9 GNT)

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)

"Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27 AMP)

"Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts." (Proverbs 4:23 MSG)

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