The last few weeks I have been focusing on what I am grateful for and it has really helped balance my perspective and I also have been reflecting on how easy it is to get into a space where all we do is complain and whine about life. I hear so much complaining around me every day and it is so draining – it takes the joy right out of anything lovely and peaceful.
We are either trapped or released by the words we speak and think. We limit ourselves daily when we focus on what is not working and what we are lacking in our lives. We extinguish the joy and peace we could be experiencing when we allow negativity and general irritation to wrap itself around our mouths and minds. This is what slowly but surely begins to nibble away at our faith. It’s something of a vicious circle.
Faith grows – a little seed that begins to bud – it needs nurturing and care. The little stem of this faith plant is not quite strong enough to withstand the wind and other harsh elements of the great big world. So far so good and the little faith plant is taking root and has a bright, prosperous future ahead of it. Along comes a little 6 legged bug called ‘Whining’.
‘Whining’ starts to munch a little on Faith’s leaves and makes few small but barely noticeable little holes in the growing leaves. As Faith soaks up the sun’s rays another scurrying bug comes a along – he has been told by ‘Whining’ that there is a lovely little Faith plant that is deliciously juicy but not too far off the ground and can be easily munched on. His name is ‘Complaining’ caterpillar – he is a fat, hungry bug and once he gets going there is no stopping him. He sees little Faith plant and wastes no time in sinking his choppers into the most perfect tasting ‘faith and joy’ he has ever had the fortune of nibbling on.
‘Complaining’ invites ‘Moanbug’ the mite and ‘Moanbug’ invites ‘Irritation’, ‘Frustration’ and ‘Impossible’ to share the meal who in turn invites a host of other negative and insistently annoying, little but destructive bugs to join in on the feasting. Eventually the once radiant Faith plant is chewed to almost insignificance. A storm comes up and the Faith plant has no strength to stand against it and is pummeled to the earth – beaten and sapped of strength and sustenance.
Cute story…mmmm…. How many of us can relate to it? I have watched and experienced how one negative thought, one despondent word, one complaint and one session of moaning can come in and shake not only the person moaning and complaining’s faith but also the faith of those around them. It doesn’t just shake faith, it poisons a joyful heart. In its place it leaves a swarm of little nits and gnats that consistently bite and irritate the once peaceful space in our hearts and the thoughts of victory and hope. Been there before? Done that? Got the t-shirt and the smelly socks and shoelaces to go?
I have to physically tell myself to choose to feel another feeling when I feel the despondency sneaking in. In the past I indulgently allowed it – it was like tucking into an entire slab of chocolate and saying I’ll just have a few squares – before I knew it I would have polished off the lot and was still hankering for more.
Negativity grows and once when we indulge a little it keeps coming back for more – we have to stop it in its tracks right there and then. The words says “Think on that which is pure, true,lovely and holy.” God tells us this because He knows how strong those thoughts can become and how it takes just one or two “woe is me” moments to start breeding an empire of hungry negative little crawlies to destroy our faith just a few seconds flat. This was me, time and time again in my life. I always used to blame the devil – I seriously gave him all the credit for what was really my choice. The thoughts are there – it has always been my decision to allow them to bite in and chew down. Satan is just sitting back enjoying the show!
Right now – Robin and the kids and I… we wait. We could be vulnerable to many of the elements at this time of our walk – the storms brew big and the ‘worries’ lie in wait for any sign of weakness in our faith. We have to be strong and refuse the nats and nits that would gently settle on the leaves and slowly take a nip here and there, subtly biting into our juicy joy and hope. We have to resist the indulgent nature of our humanness and say no to the thoughts of fear and failure. We have to tame our tongues and refuse to speak it out – and instead replace it with statements of victory and praise. Never has there been a stronger bug spray than this – Let praise and thanksgiving – spray generously over all negative nits and may you know joy this day despite life!
God says that we hold the power of life and death in our tongues. So take hold of that tongue and start using it responsibly. No more whining about the guy who is not pulling off from the traffic light fast enough, or the wife who didn’t make the tea hot enough or the boss who doesn’t recognise your efforts.
No more feeling sorry for yourself and seeing only problems growing like sad little rubbish dumps at the bottom of your garden. Poison the words of doom and gloom when you do the budget for the month.
Start reigning in that tongue and stop dwelling on the thoughts that cause ulcers and sleepless nights. Focus instead on that which your Heavenly Father has already given you and that which He has promised. Yes, it is not handed to us in our laps – we have to work at it – we have to exercise our faith and disciplining of the tongue but at the end of the journey we will know victory, simply because we have chosen to.
I can honestly say that practicing this and being consciously aware of my thoughts and words has completely changed who I am. And I know that it is why I am still standing tall and not a quivering pile of wilted, chewed on leaves. Oh I remember giving in to it and quietly enjoying the victim mentality that came along with it or the aggressive control I felt thought it gave me – none of it changed the situation. None of that moaning, complaining and whining gave better moments with my family or a peaceful nights rest or increased my bank balance. I did however develop a spastic colon and gain 10 kilos (must have been all the chocolate indulgence…whoops).
Did you know? It takes equal amounts of energy to fear something that has not yet happened as it does to believe for something that has not yet happened. So it begs the question “Why do we choose fear and negativity?”
- It aids restful sleep
- It improves relationships
- It increases the flow of endorphins
- It makes you smile
- It draws you nearer to God
- It gives you a fresh and optimistic perspective
- It helps you find solutions
- It grows your faith …
- It makes you fun to be around 8)
Eventually you will reap the harvest of the words you speak – so make them count for you and not against you. Make them words you will remember with fondness and not regret. Make them part of your growth and not your destruction.
I have never known fear and negativity to grow into something wonderful, but faith… well it is a sure ingredient for joy, strength and hope.
…And hope keeps us moving forward and moving forward is what will get us to the destination we were actually intended for.
Have a super week and take hold of your destiny.
Yours in bug spray, Michelle