Train Yourself to Walk On the Brighter Side

“It’s funny because when Dad brings me I’m 10 minutes early, but when you do I’m always late.”

This phrase slipped out of my son’s mouth and stabbed into my heart. But only for a moment–until I processed that it wasn’t really true. riverwalk

Okay, I admit, fifteen minutes always arrives quicker when I have to be somewhere. Especially when I have to get one of my children to a scheduled event. But although I’m not as punctual as I’d like to be, I’m also not always late. 

My youngest guy forgot all the times I’ve taken him where he needs to be on time. Or the many hours I’ve waited (or will wait) for him.

The negative comes to mind much quicker than those positive times. 

Isn’t that how it is for most of us?

Let’s experiment. Try this exercise: 

Take 30 seconds right now to make a list of all the negative things in your life. Ready? Go! 

Now take 30 seconds right now to make a list of all the positive things in your life. Ready? Go! 

Okay, which list did you find easier to compile? Which is longer? Are you surprised?

For many of us the negative is easier to think of. We’ve subconsciously trained ourselves to look for what’s wrong instead of what’s right. 

Have you ever had to describe your strengths? I find it much easier to come up with my weaknesses.

When you ask your children how their day went, do they have a grocery list of what went wrong instead of the high points? Do you struggle with criticizing your spouse instead of complimenting him? 

Negativity permeates our society. It seems like we are born complaining. Our news is filled with all the bad things that are happening. Frowns are plastered to faces. We walk out of the store muttering at the lack of service, leave the gas station cussing the gas prices, leave the restaurant mumbling about the poor food, and leave a ball game trumpeting the bad calls of the umpires.

The thing is, something is rarely as bad as it seems on the surface. But when the worst is what we look for, that is what we will see. By focusing on negative, we miss nearly all the positive. 

red flower

The Lord acknowledged that troubles exist in this world–that bad things happen (John 16:33). But He doesn’t want us to stay in the negative. The Father gave us His Son, in flesh, to die for the bad things, so we can live in glory with Him. He overcame the negative with the embodiment of positive–the perfect good.

Nothing is so bad that the Lord can’t redeem it. Through Jesus, we have been given the power to overcome the negative. Use it.

  • Use the power of thanksgiving to see circumstances in a new light. 
  • Use the power of prayer to gain strength and perspective.
  • Use the power of the Word to transform and define your thought process.
  • Use the power of community to garner encouragement and bolster confidence.
  • Use the power of Divine Worship to be bathed in forgiveness and truth.

After all, a bloody, battered Jesus dying a brutal criminal’s death certainly looked bad. But if the disciples were left to only see the negative, they’d have missed the glorious gift of the cross. 

If we remain entrenched in the negative, we’ll miss the glorious gifts of peace and joy. 

Don’t suffocate in the dark and ugly. Trust in the truth of redemption. Delight in the glorious gifts you’ve been given. 

Train yourself to walk on the brighter side. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Reflections: What’s the best way you have found to avoid the trap of negativity and consistently focus on positives?

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By His grace ≈

Julie

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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.

2 comments on “Train Yourself to Walk On the Brighter Side
  1. kds223 says:

    Awesome, on time post for me. I’ve had to face the fact that a lot. If the negativity I have dwelt upon came fron those who I will never change, want to remain an important figure, but absorb much of the best and thrive off of the worst. I made hard heavy decisions to be accountable for what we all may have, happiness.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      There will always be people and circumstances that try to pull us into the pit of negativity. But the Lord has provided ample support and means to find joy and peace. You nailed it–it really is about holding ourselves accountable for choosing the brighter road. May the Lord strengthen you as you continue on the better path.

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