Friday, September 23, 2011

Optimist Challenge Day 3

Get to the roots of your negativity - and start doing some weed pulling.  


Negativity can take root as a result of many "seeds" planted in our hearts during trying circumstances, such as a betrayal, illness, difficulty in a marriage, parenting challenges, a damaged friendship, a termination at work, family problems, a demeaning boss, or as a result of painful childhood experiences. The list of experiences that could cause negativity could be endless.

These "seeds" of hurt can sometimes root so deeply into the walls of our hearts, that we may not even realize they are there. Yet, all the while our thoughts are fertilizing them more and more, and they are growing stronger and stronger by the day.

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

Is it possible you have been seeing the glass as half empty for so long, that you cannot even remember a time when you saw it as half full?

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

Those seeds of negativity could also be commonly known as frustration, anger, stress, temptations and bitterness.  These seeds can get so deeply planted into our hearts that we forget they are there, until we realize the toll and the consequences they are having on our hearts.

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, and water, 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 particular 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 those 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 (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). 


Let's not give the devil a foothold in our hearts, by allowing him to use the pain of the past, or the challenges of the present, to fertilize the seeds of negativity that have been planted. God can make even the ugliest weeds begin to sprout flowers, we simply have to give Him permission to shower us with Living Water, and ask for His help with our gardening.

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


Day 3 Challenge Activity: Get to the roots of your negativity and start doing some weed pulling.

Ask God to reveal what the root causes are for your negativity or pessimism. Do some brainstorming about what 'seeds' may be causing ugly 'weeds' to grow in your heart. Consider keeping a list over the next day or so, as God brings things or memories to mind that you have not thought about lately.

Pray for the strength, courage, desire and perseverance to dig up all those old feelings. Deal with your emotions about them, get real with God, and ask God to help you toss out all those ugly weeds that have no place being in the beautiful garden of your heart that God created.

Ask Him to allow you to see His presence in the midst of what is going on in your circumstances. 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 cannot change right away, remember that if God brought you to it, He can get you through it.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

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28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your analogy of a garden. Its so simple and yet so true. Whatever we spend our time on, is what will grow. And I want my garden to be full of beautiful colorful flowers, not broken down weeds. Time to get to work and start pulling some weeds! lol =D
-Rubi

Kirsten said...

What a great reminder that what we spend time cultivating, that's what is going to grow and flourish in our lives. I definitely spend too much time nourishing the "weeds" in my heart. Time to do some digging.

SueBE (suebradfordedwards@yahoo.com) said...

One way that I've found to nurture the positive thoughts is to pass a compliment on to someone else. For one thing, it keeps me busy doing something other than fertilizing the weeds!
--SueBE

cjr said...

I NEED to start weeding. I pray that God will hear me and help me pull out all those years of weeds in my heart.

Pam said...

I do love yard work, so this analogy really works for me in giving me a clear picture. In gardening, I've found that I have to stay on top of the weeding. They sprout and grow quickly and if not taken out will take over before I know it. Hmmm, I believe I have some "weeding" to do in this heart of mine.

LaTara said...

Thank you so much! You hit the nail right on the head (as usual)! Time for me to start weeding. (smiles)

Lynn Bowman said...

I love this! I once heard it said that the grass is greener wherever you water it most. How true! Once again, it is a daily choice to "tend" those areas of our heart that are positive. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on whatsoever things are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable; things excellent and admirable. Now that's enough good stuff to keep our minds and hearts on. I always enjoyed playing in dirt as a child. I guess that was good training! Happy gardening!!

cupcake said...

Great analogy!

Jewels said...

I'm not sure about how to approach this challenge. I pray the Lord will show me how. I pray that He will lead me to find that "seed" in my life that is growing ugly weeds. There are things in my life that upset me at times, but I can't seem to pin point where all the frustration and annoyance I feel really comes from. I'm sure the Lord will guide me. Have a great weekend. Thanks everyone!

~MOM said...

I cannot express enough how timely this is for me. I'm still amazed that what God had already begun in me a few weeks ago regarding my negativity is being talked about step by step like this...now to continue with my "gardening"!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to share this challenge with my family. We have been through tough times lately and I think this will help everyone.

Debbie C said...

Bitter roots; as I have referred to them many times are seeded by the lack of forgiveness. We do need courage (from God)to dig up the roots & face them much like the Goliath in our lives. I pulling weeds! How about you? Great post! Thank you.

Laura said...

Tracie, I feel like everyday you are writing just to me. This line especially tugged at my heart today "...remember that if God brought you to it, He can get you through it. "

Thank you for letting God work through you.

In Christ,
Laura

Carla said...

I think I know most of my seeds of negativity, but they have been there so long I am not sure how to really uproot them. The desire is there but not the way. I will continue to seek God and look to Him for answers.

Anonymous said...

I like gardening and am very pictorial. I am going to find it hard to pull up the weeds. It's a constant process especially when we allow the weeds to self seed!

Raspberrymama said...

Today's devotional is so true! Weeds in a garden pop up daily. The verse that comes to my mind this morning is, "Bring all thoughts into captivity under the obedience of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 10:5 Like you said in the first devotional, "Negativity does not come from God." So if the thought is negative or fear-based, I have to capture it (pull it) immediately and replace it with God's truth!
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to bring us the truth...God is using you in great ways!

Diana said...

Such a great reminder, I love the analogy of a garden. The work in the garden can be so fruitful. I have been sowing seeds of negativity when I complain at work, and I need to sow some seeds of gratitude, for my family, friends, Proverbs 31 ministries. The song "Count Your Blessings" is a good one to remember. After all, this is the day that the Lord has made, I can rejoice and be glad. Blessings Diana

Janine said...

Okay, I'm starting Day 3 of being an Optimist. Thank you for the "homework assignment". It helps me to look back at each day and see how I am doing based on each assignment you have given. May we all have a blessed day!

Nancy said...

Definitely time to do some weed pulling! What a great analogy and where your 14 Days to a Happier Marriage is going to help. Thank-you.

Anonymous said...

Even more Awesome!!

one-step-at-a-time said...

Its so easy to let those negative seeds slip in and then to ignore that they are still growing. A lot of times I have found I push these thoughts away (not dealing with them or their roots) and then later on they spring up out of nowhere. I pray that by focusing on positive thoughts and emotions I will recognize the negatives and see them as something foreign to send back to where it came from.

Joanna said...

For too long I allowed bitterness and hurt to grow from seeds of mistrust planted during a time of misplaced confidence in a "leader" to become a hedge that cut me off from those who could genuinely help me and guide me. It was easier to believe the worst than to face disappointment down the road. But I missed so much fruit during that time! How true are your thoughts on seeds of negativity!

valerie in TX said...

I love the comment from "anonymous" about the weeds self-seeding. :) That's definitely me. I think I need to stop them from multiplying before I can start digging them out! :)

Linda said...

Wow! I needed to hear that. Looks like I will be gardening. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Negativity is something that needs to be nipped in the bud or like a nasty vine will take over very quickly. I once worked with a lady who had a very negative spirit and since we were in a very small office together it was very taxing on me. I was thankful when I was moved to another office.
Thanks so much for this post, I need to pull a few weeds myself.

Janet
gatorgirl66@hotmail.com

Mary S. said...

Okay, a couple of days behind, but so glad I was. Needed to hear this after a horrible negative weekend. Of my own doing I might add! Amazing how my negative thought can bring be down so quickly and leave me with no confidence!

Mansion Moms said...

I love the sentence that says "God can make even the ugliest weeds begin to sprout flowers...". I just wrote about being choosing to be a pretty weed or a bad grape on my blog last week. I am truly thankful for this challenge!

HeBGB said...

As we just harvested a garden full of pumpkins, this is no better illustration you could have used to make this weed pulling real for me. Time to pull on the gardening gloves and start tugging and pulling...some of those weeds have roots that go deep!