I’m an optimist. In fact, I enjoy looking at the bright side of things. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I frequently discuss assuming the best of people with my children. Yes, sometimes people do cruel things, and sometimes people have ill-will. But most people, most of the time, mean well.
We’ve all heard the saying “Look on the bright side.” It can sound like an annoying cliche, but it’s actually simple yet amazing advice. Negativity doesn’t encourage hopefulness. Rather it focuses on difficulty and promotes defeat. Choosing to think positively enables us to step out of darkness and keep focus on the light of life.
Over the years I’ve experienced life on life’s terms, as it has taken unexpected twists and turns. It’s life, right? Things most definitely won’t always go our way or in our favor. It rains on the just, and the unjust. And WHEN this happens, we have a choice. We can slink away, crawl under a rock and stay there, OR, we can train our minds to pray and ask God to direct our thoughts in a positive direction.
I’m not an expert, so what I write is purely drawn from my own experiences. Over the years I have found that positive thinking has made a huge difference in how I recover from negative circumstances. The word teaches us that joy is synonymous with strength. “The joy of the Lord IS my strength.” Forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, making peace with God, letting go of the past, and choosing to think happy thoughts brings about joy and strength.
Jesus said, I have come as a light into the world, that whosoever believes in me should not abide in darkness. It is a powerful reality that we can choose to be happy and optimistic in spite of our circumstances.
December was a rough month for my family. We had a lot of sickness. We were up in the nights. We missed most of our family Christmas gatherings. We were in constant worry over high fevers and very ill children. It’s certainly not the hardest thing we’ve ever been through, but it was hard. It would have been easy to get discouraged and become negative. These are the moments when we really have to train our thoughts to focus on the positive. Like most everything else, it’s much easier to be half full when life is sailing along smoothly.
Positive thinking and self-talk can have a huge impact on how we view our lives, our home, and our family. If your mind tends to linger in the negatives, I wanna encourage you. Here’s some of my favorite ways of implementing positivity into my own heart, mind, and my home on the regular.
- Prayer. Studies have shown that people who pray are happier and healthier. Prayer is powerful. It should be our first line of defense, rather than a last resort. If you struggle with what to say in your prayers, try writing them out. Or even repeating scripture back to God. Find a verse that reflects your desires or a promise you want to cling to. As you pray, repeat the verse. We can’t always expect overnight results, but I can testify to the fact that prayer has worked over and over in my own life.
- Study and Memorize Bible Verses. It’s vital that we hide God’s word in our hearts. Scripture can bring a weary soul much comfort. The ability to recall meaningful verses when we need it will calm our spirit and help us think more clearly. I like to print out my favorites and place them on my refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
- Feed your Mind with Good. What we watch, read, and listen to affects our mind in ways we don’t always realize. Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippian believers, “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on THESE things. Phil 4:8. He continues on adding, “I can do all things through Christ which stregtheneth me.”
- Distance yourself from Negative People. I’m not saying remove all negative people from your life. But be careful…negativity is like a communicable disease. Recognize those who tend to be perpetually negative, and be careful how often you allow yourself to be around them or absorb their words. Don’t allow toxic people to rent space in your head.
- Have More FUN. Make the decision to laugh every day with your husband and children. Make relaxing and having fun together as a family a priority. A positive atmosphere creates a positive home filled with GOOD stuff: warmth, comfort, joy, forgiveness, peace, acceptance, and kindness. All of these things begin with a positive mindset.
If we truly realized how powerful our thoughts are, we would never think another negative thought again. And when we exchange negative thoughts for positive ones, the impact inside our homes and families will be incredible. I know you may be rolling your eyes as you read this, but I challenge you to try it. Wake up each morning and pray. Speak out loud words and scripture of positivity and truths to yourself. Then implement positivity with your husband and your children. Every day. Positivity is contagious too. Just watch and see.
Paul had it right. He clearly chose to look on the bright side. And because of his determination, God enabled him to make a change in the world. If we determine to follow the light, we are able to do much the same with God’s help. Life is tough, but if Christ could sing a hymn of praise before He faced what He faced on our behalf, then so can we.
If you catch yourself talking negatively, mentally or out loud…Remember that negative self talk comes from the father of lies. And we don’t wanna give Satan ANY power over our lives. Jesus will have the victory over here.
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12