The Numbing Effect: Positivity

One the biggest mantras today for success and self-preservation is positivity. Think positive, be positive, and do positive things, while having a positive attitude. And don’t get me wrong, I know there are times I allude to that philosophy and worldview, and I do think that positivity and the essence of it is great and definitely has a place in the culture and society today, simply because of all of the negativity that goes on, and to be honest, not many people enjoy actually being around people who are always negative. So, yeah, I get it. But for some time now it’s began to bother me.

The problem that I have witnessed is that when people are so positive, they disassociate from their own emotion it seems. As much as we want it to be, life is not all peaches and cream, smelling of strawberries, and what a lot of people do is they seem to negate that life is tough. And a person like me, it’s hard to open up to a person that is so positive as to where it seems as if nothing is ever wrong and if I try to share, I’ll be hit with a positivity speech. It’s hard to connect with people when the response to the pain of life and struggles is a simple “stay positive,” because either I’ll think they are full of it or I’ll build up a wall because they show no possibility of honesty or wisdom…I’m sorry. I got carried away, so moving on.

Now like I said previously, it definitely has it’s place, but so does negativity. And truth be told, often times negativity is reality, so we wind up in a conundrum when we disregard reality, because often times that means that things are not confronted or dealt with and all we do in turn is create more masks to wear, and things aren’t dealt with. On the flip side, positivity often forgets that things will not always turn out the way we want them, no matter how positive we were or how optimistic we are.

There is a saying that goes “to blessed to be stressed” that was referenced in a sermon I heard as a bad philosophy and that is so true! In theory it sounds nice, but it further pushes a gospel that assumes being a Christian means you will never be stressed out, have a bad day, or have any trying times, that life will be honky dory and if you feel stressed or anything of the liking, you are not doing something right. That is so far from the truth. Yes, the Bible has plenty of scriptures of God’s promises associated with positivity, but there are just as many that remind us of the hardships in life that shouldn’t be overlooked. I mean look at Jesus. There were many times he was stressed, tired, sad, and weary, but his livelihood was rested in that fact he knew who his Father was, and at the same time, he was vulnerable with other people so they could see that it was okay to cry or be angry.

Bottom line, if we aren’t careful and guard our hearts, positivity will numb us to the reality of the world around us and we will miss the opportunities to really minister effectively and or share Christ. It can truly desensitize us to deal with issues mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and even physically, because more times than not, people don’t need positivity, but a sincere raw truth about their situation spoken in love, which means it won’t always tickle their ears, although ear tickling is what many people are getting these days. Furthermore, there are some things, situations, and people that don’t deserve a positive response or there truly is not one that can be given for one reason or another. I mean Scripture points out that the obtaining of peace often comes by way of war, and some times a negative action does require a negative response (through wisdom, discernment, and direction), but I digress, I don’t want to go to deep of the trail here, plus I feel like I am beginning to ramble again.

With all that said, be positive as you strive to be your best self for a purpose, just be careful not to allow positivity to cloud your sight and the dire realities around you, that you become an anesthetic or band-aid, to the problem(s) you were meant to be an answer to.

Generally Speaking

We all strive to find our specific purpose for our lives, we anticipate finding out what our calling is, specific to our individual lives. However, Scripture tells us of things that God wills for all of us no matter who we are that I think are crucial to live out in order to effectively fulfill our individual life purpose. There are five things in particular that generally speaking I believe God purposes for each of us.

The first is to simply be thankful. No matter how bad things look, be grateful (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In order to be who God called us to be, we have to be thankful for what we have because it makes us who we are. As we go through life, there are plenty of things that we can complain about or legitimately be upset about, but I think that if we learn to be humble and grateful in the roughest times of our lives, we will become content and at peace. When we have a thankful heart, it’s easier to stay focused on what matters and trust God to handle things out of our control or guide us in the decisions to be made. God’s desire for us is to be thankful.

In a world where sex sells and it’s so glorified, many miss this one more than others. God’s will for His people is that they refrain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Sex was made for marriage, not for an extracurricular activity or dating auditions. In order to be all of who God has for us to be, fornication and immorality are serious hindrances to His plans. From dangerous emotional relationships, attachments to others that aren’t helping you to your destiny, which of course is harder to detach from if a child is involved, which I see far too often creates messy situations, or medical problems. Sex outside of marriage limits what you are able to give your spouse, because a piece of you was left with someone else, and living in sin will limit what God will do in, by, through, and for you.

In a world like we live in today, there is a lot of stupid talk; a lot of ignorance, some of which is warranted by a record of ignorant behavior.  As a result, God’s will for us is that we do good, in order to get people to stop talking (1 Peter 2:15). Just considering all of the talk against Christianity, let alone Christ, it mandates us, His people, to do good and to represent Christ well as much as we can so that foolish people will have less ignorant things to talk about.  Do more positive things, the more positive people will begin to speak. In whatever specific calling God has on your life, doing good I am sure is a root of it, because the more you represent the goodness of the Lord, that is what people will begin to talk about.

However, doing good or going against the grain of the world’s thinking or standards of what it is good and right can create a sense of fear. Yet, God’s purpose was that we wouldn’t operate in fear, but in power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Fulfilling God’s purpose for your life requires all three, no matter how big or small. In a world like ours, authority, power, love, sensibility and self-control are critical to substantially changing the culture we live in and impacting the world as we know it, because there will be times when God will need us to step outside of our comfort zone and demand us to take giant leaps of faith, sometimes blindly, but we have to trust that God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do, and that we are who He says we are.

All in all, whatever our individual purpose is, it’s all about growing the kingdom and being witnesses for Jesus in our homes to the far reaches of the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).  To effectively do this, the previous must become a priority for us. We must do good and love one another; we should be bold, self-controlled, sanctified, always being thankful.

There is much work to be done and being you for the purpose of being who it is that God destined you to be, it is essential that we strive to do these things wherever life brings us because they are core to walking in the center of the will of God.


Be Myself Again

It’s been a while since I have done a music piece, but this song by Eric Benét, “Be Myself Again,” I had to post this. It’s such a positive song and the truth is that sometimes we do lose our rhythm, those innate qualities that make us who we are as an individual, priceless and unique. We lose our true identity, whether we were trying to fit in intentionally or we unintentionally conform to the world around us. As a result, many times we wind up unhappy, unsatisfied and discontented, but that moment you decide to play the music of your soul, the melody God composed for us, that’s when our lives change forever. So if your life notes ever sound muffled, dull, off key, just plain sour, or all of the above, give it to the Lord and He can help you find your way again.

It’s an amazing freedom to be yourself without compromise. Listen to the song and rock out to it. Be you for a purpose. Be encouraged.