I’m not good enough.
I’m not good at my job.
I can’t complete this project.
Everyone thinks I’m stupid.
We’ve all had these negative thoughts. They’re always in the back of our heads trying to get through the walls we put up to keep them out. Negativity is like a poison. It doesn’t discriminate between different people, and it has no regard for happiness or someone’s life. It leads them to a very dark place. We see the results of them with people who lack self-confidence, and even in extreme conditions, they take their own lives. The question becomes how do we overcome negativity? Is it something that we can remove?
Unfortunately, negativity will always be around and ready to pounce. The question becomes how do we overcome negativity and continue living our lives to the fullest?
Paul encourages us to continue doing the work God requires of us in Philippians 2:12-13:
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more critical. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Even through difficult times, if we focus on doing God’s work, we will not be unhappy. It doesn’t mean that the road is going to be easy, but it isn’t impossible.
Trying to become better keeps you from being bitter. ~Pastor Kelvin Nygren
Just like negativity, bitterness is the same thing. Rather than you being focused on negative thoughts about yourself, it brings in the negative thoughts in regards to other people. Jealousy is a huge part of bitterness and leads to resentment. Think about all your friends that post pictures of all their beautiful trips on Facebook. How does that make you feel? Many people will look at the photos and wish that was their life. You know it as Facebook Envy. It’s important to make sure that we don’t go down this hole. It’s a dangerous place to be. The next question is if we’re able to continue to move forward, what’s the next step in the journey?
God always wants you to be on a mission. Without a goal or purpose that has a result, what is there to drive us forward? Where would we go if we didn’t know what we’re trying to obtain? The good news is that God has given everyone a mission. While everyone’s mission is executed differently, the overall goals are the same:
As Pastor Bart discussed in the morning service, imagine being on the side of a busy road like the Dodge Expressway in Omaha or maybe the Interstate. Would you feel comfortable standing on the side of the road? Probably not. But think about putting on a bright orange safety vest. Would you feel more comfortable with the vest? Some people won’t. Plain and simple. But think about all the construction workers that go there every day to work. With those orange vests, they can feel more confident that they won’t have any issues with not being seen unless someone is not paying attention. So pay attention. Know when God is giving you a sign to reach out to someone. Now, you’re not leading everyone to salvation, but you can let God use you to plant the seed. Once that seed is planted, He will do the rest of the work. He asks that we be open and available for Him to use us.
Probably one of the most important things we can do in our lives is rest. If we continue to chug along without resting, we’ll run out of steam. Thomas the Train may have been the little engine that could, but he wasn’t the little engine that could all the time. He had to refuel and rest before pulling all those cars behind him. The same is true for us. We need to know when we’re too tired to continue because our quality of work will decrease. If we’re not efficient and effective, there would be no point. Think about this, even Jesus took breaks, and He was perfect in every way. He knew that He wouldn’t be helping anyone if he ran himself dry. He knew that rest was essential at specific times.
No matter where you’re at, make sure always to move, be mindful and take the time to rest.