Posted tagged ‘negativity’

Negative Feast or Negative Fast

October 14, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     October 14, 2018

                          

Years ago an amazing woman named Jeannie Dohner came to our church and talked about “The Negative Fast”. Jeannie had dealt with cancer on two different occasions and in the midst of our struggles she had noticed how negative her viewpoint had become about many things that were really blessings. During that second bout with cancer God impressed upon her the idea of “fasting” from the negative. She would not say that the negative fast cured her, but it did set her mind and attitude in a better direction. 

There are plenty of people in this world who feast on the negative. They can see the bad in anything and anyone. They would have found something to gripe about when Jesus fed the 5,000! They get tired of days that are sunny and 72 degrees. Everything in the world is too expensive, even items in the free pile!

Negative people consume our energy; they dent our zest for life. I’m not sure how they got that way. Perhaps some of life’s problems and struggles pounded them for so long that they could no longer see anything positive. Maybe they’re a spitting image of either their mom or their dad! That is, their negativity is a learned behavior. They may even complain about how negative their dad was!

In our political climate there is a buffet of negativity. How many of us have grown tired of the negative political ads that paint one candidate as being the incarnation of evil and the other candidate as the new messiah? Don’t you just want to grind your teeth when one of those TV ads comes on? 

And yet those ads are effective in changing people’s minds! That’s why there’s a never-ending flow of them! “Negative Nellie” wins more times than “Positive Peter”.

Which points to a sad truth! That we are more effected or influenced by the negative than we are by the positive! We tend to believe negative news more than upbeat stories. 

What if we took a fast from the negative this coming week? What would that do for us? What would that do for the people around us? Perhaps, just perhaps, it might even cause the naysayers to stutter on their thoughts.

Maybe, just maybe.

Where Do Children See Hope?

July 17, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           July 17, 2017

                             

      One eight year old boy sees it at school!

The shoes that he wore to school each day were so worn out that they were held together by duct tape that was wrapped around them. His mom didn’t seem to be that concerned about it. The school social worker called me and told me about the situation, told me his shoe size, and I went to a shoe store and bought him a new pair of shoes. He didn’t know that the shoes had been purchased by our congregation…and that was okay! To this day he believes that the shoes came from the school…and that gave him hope! He saw that his school hoped for his best!

My six year old granddaughter sees hope in her mom!

Each night her mom kneels beside her bed and prays with her. Her mom reads her stories and tells her stories. Her mom tells her that she is very talented and very intelligent and whatever she does when she grows up she knows that she will do it well. Hope echoes from her mom’s words and actions. When our granddaughter hits a wall of uncertainness and apprehension her mom helps her climb over it and step up to a new level of accomplishment that hope has been a foundation for.

Where do our children see hope? Seeing is a bit different than finding. Seeing hope is the introduction for believing hope. They say that seeing is believing, but what are our children seeing?

One friend of mine made the point that our kids see or don’t see hope in us…the grown-up generations. They watch our reactions, they monitor our language, they investigate our consistency. How does my life convey hope to them?

Let’s be honest, our news stories and our Facebook posts quite often communicate cynicism, sarcasm, and negativity. When I watch the national news on TV in the early evening I usually am blasted with 27 minutes of what’s bad in the world, followed by a 3 minute feel good story. I’m thankful for the 3 minutes, but I wish that there were a few more stories of hope that inform my spirit.

How do children see hope in churches? Jesus gets talked about as being the hope of the world, but how do kids see that in the flesh and in action? Last Sunday at the small town small church I speak at most weeks a married couple gave five dollar bills to each of the four kids who were leaving for church camp that afternoon. The kids were told to use it however they wanted, and for whatever they wanted at camp. It was a gesture of their generosity that hoped for a great week for each of the campers. Their church is becoming a place of hope and blessing for them, not a place that mandates and controls.

I have to ask myself that question also: how do children see hope in me? Does my life paint a pitiful picture of what it means to be a follower of Jesus? Have the brush strokes of my days left a canvas of grace, peace, and hope or a rough portrait of bitterness, hatred, and spite?