How does negativity infect us?
I had a tightly scheduled trip to Eugene to interview some candidates for our bookkeeping position.
Because of congested airspace, I missed my connecting flight.
So just after lunchtime, I found myself listening as the kind reservationist explained that all the flights to Eugene were oversold, but they did have a seat on a midnight flight.
It was interesting how my old nature was so receptive to the negative thoughts (think lies from the enemy) that started floating my way.
Critical thoughts toward the airline industry, the people in charge of scheduling flights, and the lack of consideration in not delaying the outbound flight that left many of us stranded.
Criticism and judgment snuggled up against me and I started to wrap my arms around them to draw them closer. Those negative thoughts felt sort of…good. In a justified kind of way.
I started to wallow in how poorly I’d been treated. I found myself planning how I would spread that negativity to my friends in a humorous sort of way–—I am a victim, but handling it well. Add in a long-suffering sigh and a small shrug that says, “Oh, well. That’s life.”
But I took stock and realized I really wasn’t upset. I was just agreeing with those negative thoughts. Those thoughts that wanted to tamper with my peace.
So I chose to disagree with the author of negativity.
If God allowed my plane to leave without me, then I was good with it. I want to be available for whatever adventure he might have for me–—even if it was just learning this lesson.
And a seat opened up for me on a late afternoon flight.
With my tight schedule, I only had one day to work and interview. So I crammed as much into that day as I could and burned the candle into the next one.
My head hit the pillow after 3am and a leg cramp woke me four hours later. My alarm wasn’t set to go off for a while yet, so I lay there contemplating drifting back to sleep or driving into work for an hour before catching my flight home.
Again, negative thoughts started infiltrating my brain. “I’m so tired. I feel so awful.”
A moment later, I took stock. Sure, I felt a little off, but I wasn’t exhausted. I actually felt joy. Yeah, surprised me too.
But each time I agreed with one of those negative thoughts I did start feeling yucky and tired.
So, again, I chose to disagree with the liar.
It helps so much to recognize this as a battle in which the enemy is attempting to infiltrate our camp—-rather than accepting these thoughts as our own.
The enemy wants us to think we are fighting our own flesh, when we are really fighting against a terrorist that excels in stealthy operations against us
So I chose to lean into the smidgen of joy I felt, knowing joy gives us our strength (Neh. 8:10).
The more I leaned into it, the bigger it became. Joy is infectious.
It was kind of a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment, when I realized, that’s why Paul said to think on things that are lovely and pure and honorable (Phil. 4:8). We just feel better. Happier. Encouraged. And that joy fills us and explodes onto the people around us.
Who doesn’t want a joy bomb to land on them?
So, what we are thinking and agreeing with either slimes us (and those around us), or it spreads life in us and through us.
Father God, shine a light on my thought life. Show me what I am allowing in and believing to be my own thoughts. Reveal where I am agreeing with lies and the author of lies. Teach me about the fruit of Your Spirit and how to apply them to my life and the situations that come at me. Teach me how to walk in love and patience. How to let joy wrap its arms around me. Teach me how to accept myself and give myself the grace I so desperately need. The grace and love You lavish on me. Thank you that You are the fullness of those fruits—-love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. Teach me how to be more like You. I love you! In Jesus’ name, amen.