Three Reasons for Our Negative-Sightedness and How To Improve It

Too often all we can see are the hard things in our days—the struggles, valleys, pits, and roadblocks. Yet no matter what our circumstances, goodness and beauty are just a look away.

Too often all we can see are the hard things in our days—the struggles, valleys, pits, and roadblocks. Yet no matter what our circumstances, goodness and beauty are just a look away. Click To Tweet

If that’s so, why don’t we take better notice? 

goodness and beauty


As I see it, there are three reasons for our negative-sightedness:

  1. We feel entitled to only good things in our lives (as if we even deserve one good thing).
  2. We have a mindset that easy is good and difficult is bad (not usually true in the end).
  3. We are just too busy to notice the daily moments that don’t require noticing. Our busyness blinds us to the gifts in our lives.

Our propensity to see the negative is the reason books like Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  become bestsellers. We need reminders and near-daily encouragement to notice and acknowledge the positives.

The Lord says,Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He’s not saying give thanks because everything is good, but through the grace of God, He will bring good out of everything.

And while we wait, He sends grace-drops, such as rainbows and sunsets and songbirds, to encourage us. 

Yet because the hard stuff draws our attention so readily (and does a dandy job of holding it captive), we often miss the beauty, joy, and blessings surrounding us.

Because the hard stuff draws our attention so readily (and does a dandy job of holding it captive), we often miss the beauty, joy, and blessings surrounding us. Click To Tweet

To notice the good that permeates our lives, we first need to open our eyes to its possibility. May I gently suggest resting in these promises:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18)

Seeing the Good

Finding space to breathe in God’s glory, to take a few minutes to put aside the craziness of the day and rest with Him, to bare my soul to Him, has been instrumental for me to notice God’s whispers of love. Bonnie Gray addresses this in depth in her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.

One of my other favorite (and highly effective) strategies for noticing the gems in my days is to take Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare; i.e., to count 3 gifts a day.

Here are some of my favorite blessings recorded during my recent “unplugged” vacation to the northern border of  Minnesota:


Wild blueberries–enough to have in pancakes and still bring some of Rachel’s favorite berries home to her.

Fishing was great, with plenty of fish to eat every day!

Fishing was great, with plenty of fish (walleye, crappie, northern pike, and smallmouth bass) to eat every day!

Such a blessing to this mama's heart to see how much the boys enjoyed all their togetherness.

Such a blessing to this mama’s heart to see how much the boys enjoyed all their togetherness.

A favorite view

A favorite view.

These guys - the whole lot. Love them!

These guys–the whole lot. Love them so!

Soaking in a natural whirlpool.

Soaking in a natural whirlpool.

Gorgeous flowers.

Gorgeous flowers.



Misty mornings.

Enchanting mornings.


Dragonflies to eat mosquitoes.


Loons and other critters.

Gorgeous sunsets.

Gorgeous sunsets.

(My complete list from this wonderful week of rest can be found tucked in the middle of the bulleted list below.)

Granted, it is more difficult to be negative while on vacation, but the practice of scouting out blessings and counting gifts remains helpful in any circumstance.

God doesn’t give promises He does not keep. In Christ, there is always goodness and blessings.

God doesn't give promises He does not keep. In Christ, there is always goodness and blessings. Click To Tweet

Next time, tough circumstances invade your day, may I challenge you to stop immediately and take notice of something good, beautiful, or helpful instead of allowing negativity free reign. Give thanks in it.

You will likely find your vision a little clearer and your day just a bit brighter. 

Let’s live each day standing on the promises of God. And His promises include a plan for our good. For that there is reason to give thanks. 

Enjoy “Standing on the Promises” sung by Alan Jackson. 


“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Reflection: Noticing the blessings in a broken world takes some intentionality.  Through the grace of God, the blessing of my daughter with special needs and Ann’s Joy Dare have transformed my eyesight to 20/40 positive and improving every day. How has God provided for your improved eyesight? Or are you still struggling in this area?

I’m once again linking up with Ann Voskamp’s 2014 Joy Dare, and catching up from the past 3 weeks. Find the linkup at A Holy Experience. Since beginning nearly 3 years ago, I’ve counted over 3,000 gifts!! What a blessing! #3050-3114, read the entire list by clicking here.

  • Zachary is released from cardiology followup—praise God!; Refreshing day spent with Zach—he always makes me laugh; Seafood!
  • Enjoying an evening with friends–a rare treat; Watching the boys interact with there special sister–heartwarming; Lightening bugs over the prairie
  • Successful night last night in the sleep disorder room w/ Rach; Early brkft at IHop w/ my girl;Clothes dryer that works!
  • Morning Bible time on the deck with hummingbirds playing chase around me; Watching first part of Sound of Music with the kids; These beauties—it’s like bringing the sun in
  • Last day of vaca prep before R&R begins!; Riding in a car w/ mobile app expert; Sharing blessing of extra garden produce
  • Those thoughtful people God places in our lives who help things be okay; Rach safely at Camp Courageous; Rest of us arrived at our destination
  • Great news of no permanent damage to our young friend’s spinal cord; Entry into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area; Relatively easy portages; Found one of the last open campsites before dark
  • Finding the campsite we wanted open; Getting into the fish—walleye for supper; The fun our boys have together
  • Enchanting foggy morning; Drying out from the nighttime storm; Fresh fish sandwich for lunch; Playing at Curtain Falls; Sitting among the dragonflies swooping around us eating their fill of mosquitoes
  • Finding peppermint plants; Exploring Iron Lake; An evening meal of butter-fried fish and Teriyaki noodles; Swimming with Zach and Joey
  • Jumping in Rebecca Falls; Laying on the rock with the boys as the stars and moon came out; Finding an large blueberry patch to pick to take home to Rach; Playing Hacky Sack in the middle of the BWCA with my boys; Canoeing and fishing with Joey as my canoe partner—he’s growing up so fast! 
  • Dave’s enjoyment of catching Crappie in the BWCA; Full moon over the lake; Readily finding a nice campsite on Lake Agnes; Seeing pelicans and a type of falcons, perhaps merlins
  • Safe leg out of Boundary Waters; Stopping to see Dave’s sister and brother-in-law on the way home; Greeted with all good news upon reconnection with family and friends
  • Orange and black flash of a morning warbler; Reunited as a family with Rach; Seeing how well our young diving accident friend is doing—thank you, Lord!
  • Entire family walk with a crazy funny Rach; Memories of Zach’s high school acting relived as he heads off to college tomorrow; Wildflowers brightening up the dinner table
  • Dan’s company to take Zach to Wheaton College Passage; Leaving Zach at college knowing it’s where he belongs; Prayer power = God’s peace
  • Good doctor report for Daniel; Results are in: No sleep apnea for Rach!; Traveling mercies for the more than 14 hours of driving we did over the past 2 days
  • Porch swinging with Rach; Peach jam canned; This little fellow sharing my morning Bible-reading spot
  • Afternoon of editing made better by being next to my girl on our deck swing; Dan “cooking” supper—frozen pizzas; Sounds of families enjoying time together in the park

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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