In this Dark World, Make Sure Your Light Shines Brighter

It was a stereotypical Monday morning. You know, the type of Monday where everything was going wrong.

I woke up late after I turned off my alarm on accident.

My dad didn’t fill up the car with gas after he drove it the night before.

I didn’t factor in time for unexpected circumstances (like no gas).

I also didn’t remember my items for the Christmas party at work with a student so I had to make another unexpected stop at the grocery store.

As I’m pulling out of the grocery store headed to work, I get a phone call asking if I can pick someone up on the way to work.

I finally have all of my items and the person that needed a ride… and the green light goes from green to yellow faster than I expected.

As I came to a halt, the front of my car was slightly in the pedestrian crosswalk.

After about a minute of being stopped at the red light, a lady walked right up to my car in the intersection and pointed to the crosswalk. She gave me the angriest stare I had ever seen, pointed very angrily at the hood of my car, and then proceeded to mutter something under her breath and shake her head as she walked away.

I thought to myself, “Who does she think she is? If she had been here just a minute before this, she would have seen that I had to make a quick stop. Why can’t she just be joyful? Why does everybody have to be angry all the time? If this person wasn’t in the car with me, I would really have given her a piece of my mind!

And as God has done so many times in 2018, He convicted me right after I made that statement. I thought of the many times that I had allowed a bad mood to affect my behavior. I thought of the numerous times that I thought that I had a “right” to say something to someone else… point out their faults while ignoring my own. There have been times (like in the past week) when I believed that I could be selfish if others were also being selfish… because… why not? They deserved it, right?

My relationship with my fiancé has been vital for my spiritual growth. He has challenged  me in so many areas. One of those areas is my attitude and my mindset. He loves podcasts and learning new information related to becoming the best version of ourselves. As I’ve been struggling in the areas of my attitude and mindset lately, what did my amazing fiancé do? He started listening to podcasts and researching information to see how he could help.

One main idea he found was this: our attitude and our mindset WILL affect our behavior. If I have a bad attitude and a negative mindset, then my day will be laced with negativity, and my physical body will actually suffer. I’m more likely to be sick and have health issues. If I have a good attitude and a positive mindset, then my day will be laced with positivity, and my physical body will benefit. I am more likely to be healthy and strong and live a long life.

When I did the research myself, I stumbled across a Psychology Today article that described what this negative attitude and mindset looked like.

According to the aforementioned article, a negative attitude and mindset includes: self-defeating talk, negative assumptions, negative comparisons, negative rumination, disempowering beliefs about others, the desire to blame, the struggle to forgive self, and the fear of failure or making mistakes.

Um…

**gulp**

Hi, my name is Macey, and I am guilty of every single one of these. Self-proclaimed negative mindset, right here!

I realized that within two hours of being awake, I had done every single thing on this list. Let me walk you back through my day.

When I first woke up and my alarm clock had been turned off by yours truly, I said things in my head like, “You’re so stupid! Why didn’t you set multiple alarms?!”

You guessed it, self-defeating talk bolded for your, the reader’s, convenience.

I should have said something like, “Mistakes happen! At least I woke up alive and healthy and have a wonderful job to go to this morning where I have the privilege of having a Christmas party with a student before I move to another job.” All while beaming from ear to ear.

Instead of saying the positive comments like the ones that have been blocked off above, I allowed myself to participate in self-defeating talk. Therefore, my mindset shifted to one filled with negativity. I assumed that the rest of my day would not go as planned.

If I had spoken positive words to myself, my assumptions about my day would have been positive as well.

Fast forward to me sitting in the person’s driveway that I am picking up. I’m posting on my Macey’s Place Online instagram page, and when I’m done with my post, I scroll through the pictures of people I follow. With each swipe of my finger, I began to compare myself more and more to the pictures of these girls on my screen. “That girl looks like she has it all together. I bet she doesn’t forget to pick up the items she needs for a Christmas party.”

Negative comparisons do nothing but bring us down and breed more negativity. For me, this leads to negative rumination about my past. You know, remembering every single thing that you’ve done wrong since the womb?

If I had only stopped the comparisons in their tracks, listed out the ways that I am a magnificent/wonderful/valuable woman instead, and then pushed the negative commentary about my life story out of my mind, then I would have had a vastly different morning.

Cue the disempowering beliefs of the difficult lady at the red light. When she walked by and jabbed her pointer finger down at the hood of my car that had barged right into her straight path through the crosswalk, I allowed disempowering beliefs to enter my mind. Just like icing on the cake, I allowed her negative mood to send me spiraling down further. I decided that I had no choice but to respond negatively to such negativity as she was portraying.

But oh how I was wrong.

We need to shine our lights brighter in the face of negativity, not allow negativity to make our lights grow dim.

I allowed the negative events to shape my thought patterns into ones where I blamed others and even inanimate objects. I blamed my alarm clock, my dad (this one hurts my heart to think about–if you know my dad, you know he is an absolute sweetheart), the fact that candy canes weren’t on the front aisle right in my reach and at my convenience, even the stop light, and then the lady herself. All of these things were the reasons why I was not having a good attitude, a positive mindset, a wonderful and glorious morning.

Wrong.

I was the reason why my attitude was bad, my mindset was negative, and my morning was less than glorious.

There will be times when we fail or we make mistakes (like turning our alarms off and oversleeping). The key is to forgive others but especially ourselves and forgive readily and easily.

What my eventful morning taught me was to have joy no matter what. Things will go wrong. Plans will unexpectedly change. There will be figurative cars that barge right into the straight path that we are walking, but our attitudes and our mindsets do not have to follow the same up-and-down rollercoaster. They don’t have to change based on our feelings; they can remain constant. **For more on living on truth and not feelings, click here.**

I don’t know about you, friend, but I have found myself at a place full of tears lately… needing to understand how to be positive. My negative attitude and mindset has hurt many people like my fiancé, my family members, my friends… but above all, myself.

But there is a secret to maintaining a positive attitude and mindset… Jesus.

Jesus provides an answer to each of these eight negative attributes… a powerful and peace- and life-giving answer.

If you find yourself participating in self-defeating talk like I do sometimes, understand that those are lies. We’re telling ourselves lies, and we need to stop. So instead of participating, I am going to repeat what JESUS says about me. And you can repeat the same things knowing that Jesus says these things about you too.

He says, “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”

Isaiah 43:4

So, first, stop the self-defeating talk.

Second, don’t fall prey to your own negative assumptions. We have to base our facts on truth, not assumptions… and the only truth is God’s Word.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32

Third, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. God made each of us the unique individuals that we are, and He made each of us with a plan and with a purpose. No one else can fill our shoes, and we should stop trying to compare our reality to another person’s “highlight reel” on social media.

God says this about us, “They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!”

Zechariah 9:16b-17a

No jewel is the same. You are attractive and beautiful in your own way… just as God intended.

I want to pair the negative rumination of the past with forgiving ourselves because I believe that they go hand-in-hand. We have to understand that God forgives so easily when we are truly repentant and remorseful over our sin. When we come to Him and are repentant and ask for forgiveness, He chooses to never remember our sin again or hold it against us. If the God of the universe chooses to do that, why can’t we? He was nailed to a cross for our sins, yet He forgave us. I believe we can show ourselves some grace and forgive ourselves as well. Let’s choose to never remember our own sin again. It’s okay to forgive ourselves.

“And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

Hebrews 8:12

Disempowering beliefs about others…

This can be a tricky one, but the following verse helped me immensely. It talks about being concerned with ourselves and our own issues before being concerned about others. We should leave the sins of others for God to deal with instead of “playing God” in others’ lives. We should instead extend mercy, forgiveness, grace, and above all, love. God will handle the rest.

“Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Matthew 7:5

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

Lastly, friends, we’re going to make mistakes, and we’re going to fail. It’s part of life. But we can take ownership of these mistakes and failures, learn from them, and move on from them instead of choosing to blame others.

Way back in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose to blame others instead of owning up to their sin, and the blaming just made the situation worse. You can read about that here. Let’s try our best to live like Christ, yet let’s go to God in confession when we fail. He will forgive, and He will cleanse.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

It’s extremely difficult to let our lights shine when we allow a negative attitude and mindset to dim our brightness. It’s extremely difficult to let our lights shine when we allow the circumstances of this world as well as our feelings and emotions to sway us.

Many Christians face much worse than alarm clocks, unexpected grocery store runs, and ornery old women in crosswalks. Instead, they face no running water or no food, persecution for believing in Jesus and attending church, and the rampant spread of disease to name a few, yet their lights never dim and certainly never fade.

Today, I am thankful for a fiancé who does his research and lovingly shares it. I am thankful for the ability to research information for myself and for the enlightenment that comes from understanding myself a little bit better. I am thankful that I have the ability to put all of this into practice.

Above all, I am thankful for an attitude and mindset shift, and a God who is always willing to forgive and chooses to never remember my sin.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16

Let’s choose to have a positive attitude, a positive mindset, and let our lights shine for Jesus.

Much love,

Macey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s