Quick question I’d like for you to ponder before you begin reading: how many minutes of your day do you spend laughing? How many times do you let yourself sit back, take a deep breath, a smile in acknowledgement of the beauty God surrounds us with?
I make goals for myself all the time. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll read about those goals. Some days, my goal is to read three chapters for school (a bold one). Others, it’s to push myself to stay active all day rather than just for a 30-minute HIIT workout. Setting these daily goals has encouraged me to, well, accomplish them. The other day, I captioned my picture on instagram with my goal, simply because I couldn’t think of a clever caption. That simple caption – that day’s goal – has become a promise I’ll make to myself every single day.
Lately, I’ve been missing my home in SLO (yes, you can call it “SLOme”) – my friends, my church, my confidence that I established there. I send up prayers each day that God will help me stay close to Him and that he’ll keep my focused first and foremost on my relationship with Him no matter where I am. He hears me and He cares for me – I know that, but I’ve been struggling on my own part. Leaving my daily-devotional until right before bed when I’m too exhausted to give it any energy, wasting wishes on a boyfriend, and simply letting the amazing fact that Jesus died on the cross for me slip to the back of my mind and rest there until I finally open my bible.
On Monday night, I finished my devotional and lie in bed listening to my favorite worship music, trying my hardest to shove every distraction that’s been following me around for the past two months out of my head. I begged God to help me, to lift those heavy rocks out and handle them because I just can’t. Frustration settled in as the perfect song that put my feelings into lyrics wouldn’t play in my ears, I quit clicking the “skip” button, closed my eyes, and hoped the next song would, well, squeeze me out of this distraction-maze I was lost in.
“Have Your Way” by Britt Nicole came on. If you’ve never heard it, I encourage you to find the lyrics and listen to the song. Britt’s words seem to match, or maybe perfectly describe, just about any struggle you try to handle on your own. Of course, tears came and with them, I heard God say something like, “Just trust me. I love you in Chino Hills just like I love you in SLO. Let me have control again.” And that was absolutely all I needed to hear.
I woke up on Tuesday morning with no intention of my usual gym-session or 5 mile run. I filled 20 minutes of my morning with some power yoga and then refueled with a big bowl of strawberry-banana sweetness (aka “nice-cream”), snapped a pic and posted it, and walked my fluffy friend around our neighborhood to get a head start on my stepping-goal (for my fitbit) before a long day at work.
That caption, daily-goal included, set the tone for my entire day – pure positivity. And the author? You could say it was me, because I typed it, but God deserves the credit. He wrote it, and by doing so has completely changed my way of thinking. By helping me recognize negative thoughts/feelings when they come and immediately flipping them around into a productive alternative that embraces whatever benefits the situation has to offer, God has shown me that the source of most of those distractions that fog my windshield and try to push my faith and happiness farther down my list of priorities is a loss of control to powerful negativity. When I let these distractions – the fears, worries, and concerns about what’s happening or what could happen – consume my thoughts, I let them push to the back of my mind the blessings I’m surrounded by.
If this idea sounds too complex, or maybe too cheesy, too good to be true, pray for an open mind. Pray for the willingness, desire, passion to seek out the positivity He’s filled each day with. When these daily blessings become your focus, they have more power, more uplifting energy that turns every potentially gloomy thought into a bright, optimistic reminder of God’s love.
And that’s the magic. If God is a magician, his best performances are the ones that leave us in awe of His grace and mercy, and ultimately turn us – His audience – into his sidekicks, living to glorify His name and His crazy, crazy love. This morning, He reminded me of all this in Phillipians 4:8 –
With all of that being said, what I want for you to understand most from this, is that it’s really not that hard. I’m not preaching that we all paste smiles on our faces like clowns, but rather that we favor the thoughts that bring joy, laughter, even motivation and encouragement.
It’s been about two weeks since I started, and some days have come and gone smoothly, leaving me more hyped up and smiley than ever, and some days have come and gone much slower than the others, leaving behind some questions and a few situations I could spend lots of time and energy worrying about. So, to promise you that maintaining a purely positive mentally would be unrealistic.
What I can promise you, if you stick to it with prayer, optimism, and faith, is growth and a little more maturity (there’s always room), laughter and maybe some more of that youthful imagination and creativity, motivation and productivity, and, for those of us who have given our lives up, an even stronger relationship with Jesus.
Please, give it a try. Don’t quit when a negative thought comes to mind, just turn it around and ask God what He’s showing you. Start right now, or start tomorrow. Whenever you choose to, just start.
Don’t forget to share it with me, too! As always, tag me and #hungryhaley on instgram when you try a recipe, and now you can hashtag #purelypositive to show me some more. I can’t wait to see your experiences! Thank you again for reading, and I wish you guys happy days of pure positivity!