Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 3: Optimist Challenge

Day 3: Let go of those negative feelings that are keeping your heart, and attitude, in bondage.

Negativity can take root in our hearts during a bad marriage, a damaged friendship, a termination at work, a condescending boss, or as a result of painful childhood experiences.

These types of "seeds" of hurt can sometimes root deeply into our hearts and we may not ever realized that they are still there.

If you find yourself with a negative attitude lately, have you considered when it all started, and why are you continuing with that mindset?

Is it possible you have been seeing the glass as half empty for so long, that you cant even remember a time when you were really positive?

If so, could that negativity be a result of "seeds" planted in your heart long ago? Could those seeds be sprouting weeds and choking out your optimistic outlook on life and your spiritual walk with God?

Those seeds of negativity that may have been planted deep into our hearts usually stay close to the surface, ready to emerge at any time with just a little nourishment and fertilizer (a.k.a., frustrations, anger, pressures or temptations). The good news is, is that they are also easy to pull out!

Consider this analogy - if you planted a garden, and only watered and fertilized one section of it, which section do you think would grow? The one that was given the most attention, of course!

Our hearts are like a garden. A garden full of all types of emotions and feelings, and through the daily actions and thoughts that we act on each day, we are in essence watering and fertilizing one section of our heart.

If I asked you which part of your heart garden you were spending the most time on, would it be the side that grows all of your positive thoughts, or the side that grows mainly negative thoughts?

Whichever section you focus on the most, is the section that is growing, and the roots are getting more deeply rooted each and every day.

So if you have been fertilizing those negative seeds, it may be time to do some gardening girlfriend!

Go get out your gardening tools - your spiritual gardening tools that is - like your bible, your journal if you have one, your phone if you want to enlist friends to pray for you, and last but not least, your knee pads.

Ephesians 4:26-27 In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

Challenge: Ask God to reveal what the root causes are for your negativity or pessimism, and pray for the strength, courage, perseverance and desire to dig up all those old feelings (do some weed pulling!). Deal with your emotions about them, and ask God to help you toss out all those ugly seeds that have no place being in a beautiful garden that God created.

If you have a hard time with this at first, just start brainstorming about what your "seeds" may be, that caused those ugly "weeds" to grow. For example........

If unforgiveness is the culprit, ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you, and/or to forgive you for blaming God for what happened. Unforgiveness is like a a toxic poison that you ingest, but then sit around and wait for the other person to suffer - not going to happen! Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, even if the other person does not deserve it.

If an addiction is the culprit, pray for Gods strength to break that addiction. Addiction meaning - anything that has a stronghold on your heart - such as anger, unforgiveness, lying, cheating, pornography, and so on. Addictions can be as emotional as they can be physical. Seek out professional counsel to help you recover, if you need that extra support. Confide in a trusted friend and ask them to pray for you daily. Commit to God, and any friends and family that need to know of your commitment, your pledge to break free of that stronghold on your heart.

If you hate your job, hate your boss, hate your dog, or hate any situation that is going on in your life, ask God to help you see the situation or person from His perspective. Ask Him to allow you to see His presence in the midst of what is going on. Pray for His guidance on how to make the situation better, or to open doors for you to walk through to make positive changes. If things cant change right away, remember that if God brought you to it, He can get you through it.

To sum it up, just do a quick self examination today.

Discover what your negativity culprit is. Consider what can you do to overcome Satans attack to allow your culprit to keep you down and out. Spend some time in prayer, requesting that God open your ears to hear what He has to say, even if the truth hurts.

And lastly - plan on having setbacks - true change and spiritual healing do not come easily or happen overnight.

But lucky for us, our God is a patient God. As the old saying goes, LET GO & LET GOD.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words that challenge me and encourage me. My FEELINGS can be all over the place, but I KNOW the truth of His Word. Trying to make His truth the dominant thoughts of my life and not my fickle, ever-changing feelings. God is teaching me through His word, others and you. Thank you for your willingness to share your heart!

Lori said...

Letting go of the negative feelings in my heart...I have one particular person in my extended family that tends to be negative and worrisome. In the past it has been very hard for me to be around this person without letting my mind go wild with negative thoughts...About four months ago I started daily praying for this person, asking God to bring me to the point that there was love for her in my heart that over-flowed! Daily, I kept praying...miraculously (God does perform miracles!) I asked her to do the Chronological Bible study with me and now our conversations are all about the daily reading! I look forward to our visits. God can do anything! Pray, pray, pray!

Have a GREAT Friday, gals, seeking God through His Word.
Love you all,
Mesa, AZ

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder, He who has put me in it will see me through it! HAlelujah!!!!! He who calls me is faithful and can do it.
Thank you and God bless you all ladies!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder, He who has put me in it will see me through it! HAlelujah!!!!! He who calls me is faithful and can do it.

Thank you and God bless you all ladies!


Angie said...

When you started this challenge I knew it would not relate to me. I am an optimist. I see the good in most everything and everyone including those people that can cause road rage. I easily let things roll off my back. So of course this challenge wouldn't relate to me. That is until today.
You could have been sitting across the table talking to just me. Making me realize the hurt inside me now, coming from unforgiveness, can cause such a big negative impact in my heart. It has been that toxic poison that I was waiting to hurt the other person but it is eating away at me.
Thank you for allowing God to work through you. Thank you for helping me realize it is time to get out the gardening tools.

Kelly said...

I think unforgiveness towards someone I work with has made me negative about that person, and I am praying today to ask God to help me uproot those negative weeds...thank you for the clarity of your post today!

Tracey said...

I know that I was blaming God for certain situations in my life and have asked for His forgiveness in these areas. I have also asked for His eyes on the situation to help me see things from His perspective. Thanks for the reminder.

Brandi said...

I am gardening. I definitely have some pulling to do! I pray God will help me see things differently. Thank you for this challenge.

Anonymous said...

So many times, I hear or read things and think, ok nothing new, but lately even the "old" seems new again, or maybe I'm just seeing it in a new light and a healing heart. I know now, without a doubt that God led me this challenge -cause each day is directly related to the day I'm having and things I'm thinking. It's like it's His way of answering my prayers and thoughts.
Thanks again.

Carmen said...

I love my husband, I know he is the man that God had for my life to show me his cares but right now life took us in a position that reminds me some failures from my past with people especially. With your words, today, I realize I have some bad seeds rooted in my heart. I am willing to work on it. God is in my side.
Thank you Tracie.

Joyful said...

Tracie, I'm basically an optimistic person. However....I needed to hear this today.

"...ask God to help you see the situation... from His perspective. Ask Him to allow you to see His presence in the midst of what is going on." "If things can't change right away, remember that if God brought you to it, He can get you through it." "LET GO & LET GOD."

Less than 24 hours ago I found out my Dad has cancer. Fearful thoughts want to invade my mind and pull me down. Optimism is hard to see in this new reality.

Praying I will not allow negative "what if's" to hold my heart and attitude in bondage. Thanks for this challenge today. Very timely.

Love & prayers,

Crystal said...

Dear Tracie,

Today I struggled with negativity. My husband and I went through some problems a few years ago, so I have had trust issues with him, and unfortunately, sometimes they are merited. We haven't had a problem now for almost six months that I know of, but today he was in a situation where I was worried, and my mind went straight to the negativity and the worst-case scenarios.

I know that he still needs to earn back the trust that he lost, but I need to turn to God when I'm worried and release my husband to Him.

Thanks for letting me share. I think your challenge has helped me recognize these things, so I can look at the situations with a fresh pair of eyes and not just in the moment.


marilyn said...

There are definitely so old well rooted long standing roots of negativity to be uprooted in my heart. But there a fresh ones planted daily too and I can see that quickly uprooting these before they are any stronger is important. Thank God that He is the Gardener and He wants to clean up the mess with my permission and co-operation.

B His Girl said...

I am optimistic about most things, however this post brought something to mind that I view as negative. HMMMMM....wasn't expecting that. B

Lisa V - in NJ said...

You've reminded me that I need to go to God continually in prayer about my work situation. The tending garden analogy is great. There is a reason I'm where I am. And if for now I must endure, then so be it. But like you suggested, I should ask Him to show me the situation from His perspective. Thank you for the nudge.

Sheena said...

i read this yesterday and tried to post a comment but my computer got jammed so i couldn't.Then this Morn something unexpected happened and it reread this challenge and realized tat my garden has a lot of tending to do.I pray that even as i spend time with God this week, He will show me areas in my life thats needs tending.

Thank you for your lovely and timely post.

Sweet Blessings
Sheena Jeremiah

Anonymous said...

Let go and let God!
He is holding me. I'm not holding Him. Thank you Father!!

Karen C.

Tracey said...

These are great! Since I'm taking an Anger Management class through church, I feel like your blogs are going hand in hand with the class. Thanks for taking your time to help others.