One of the hardest things about writing a blog is actually writing a blog. Simply put, nobody’s life is that interesting.
My kids are sometimes my best source of original material.
Like someone looking at the Mona Lisa and trying to discern the meaning behind her smile, I find myself staring at my three year old Emma in the hopes she might share something both humorous and insightful with me.
I trawl through the news and through the other blogs looking for possible topics.
What are we going to do today?
Yesterday, I was going to write a snarky post about an interview I recently overheard on Christian television. It was something ridiculous and silly.
Living in secular New England, we don’t get a lot of Christian television and our household doesn’t get cable, which pretty much puts our family on par with the Flintstones. Visiting my parents this past week, they had the television tuned into a local Christian television network. For a blogger this is a content rich environment. The host of the evening show asked a silly question, which seemed to characterize everything I felt was wrong with evangelical Christianity.
I wrote a post and then I discarded it.
I’ve often found it helpful in my writing process to simply wait and think about what I’m about to say before I hit “publish”. Wait a day. . .Wait two days. . .Do I really want to say this? Is there a better way to say it? Once it’s out there, you cannot “undo it.”
One thing I’ve come to realize is that it’s always easy to “go negative.” It’s easy to be negative about other people. It’s especially easy to go negative in a blog. There is very little accountability here.
I can feel so smug and smart. Like the Pharisee who kneeled in prayer across from a tax collector in Luke 18, I tell you, “Thank God, I am not like that person.”
In the end, it doesn’t take a genius, or even a particularly good writer, to share how much someone else is screwed up. It’s always easy to mock others.
What I’ve also learned through life and personal experience is that there is cost to being negative. Sometimes the cost doesn’t seem discernible and yet it exists. There is a cost to me, and even a cost to those closet to me. Being negative is a kind of poison to my soul. It alters my perspective towards people, circumstances and life itself.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 the Apostle Paul shares. . .
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Taken on its face, Paul’s words seem curious and out of place in a world, where so many things seem wrong and messed up. In this world, complaining seems so much more natural. Complaining and being negative can even seem real and authentic.
Yet the question I find myself asking is whether there is something to be gained in adapting a more thankful posture?
Don’t get me wrong, this is not about being thankful for the worst parts of life, or adopting a stoic perspective, instead it’s about learning to find those slender slivers of hope and goodness, that pierce the darkness. It’s learning to hear God’s still small voice. I believe there is something to be learned and gained by focusing on God’s blessings, and on the very best, instead of the very worst of people. It’s not always easy, but I cannot help but feel this is a better way.