“It really does not matter”, Job said, “even if you kill me I will still trust in God”. Why do so many people seem to see the world through such a bleak lens? The attitude they carry is the negative victim mentality. They talk in extremes. They focus on the no’s rather than the yeses. By their attitude, demeanor and behavior they honestly don’t believe that the Lord is in control or that He is good. They think like Eeyore who started nearly every sentence with “oh no”. Somehow they feel their brand of suffering and hardship is worse that that of anyone else. Eeyore simply cannot not find a positive in his circumstances.
When we first moved to Waukegan we lived in a 2-flat that the renter before us had painted the darkest most obnoxious shade of brick red ever. I did not want to to take the time and money to paint over it, so in spite of the fact that it did not go with anything in my color scheme, I left it that color. One day, my landlady (and by then close friend) was having tea with me and all of a sudden she stood up with determination and decided that the red had to go. As we began putting the first of a few coats of primer on the walls we began to notice something. The room was really transformed. It went from a dark, cave-like feel to an open, bright feel. The room felt bigger. The new paint reflected light and helped me see even in the previously dark corner recesses! I think that is very similar to people we call Eeyores. They are so used to the dark walls of their lives that it affects their perspective! The darkness of the red paint is so normal that it is not even noticed. Those around think That’s just the way she is.
I am having a hard time with the Eeyores in my life. One of my Eeyores is so negative that when given a gift, she still complains and wants something different or more or…Yes, some days are hard to see the glass as half full. Some days I am worried and upset. Sometimes I am more of a pessimist. And I cannot deny that people are suffering and facing enormous challenges that are daunting, if not overwhelming. But, we still have a choice. We can live a defeated, self absorbed life, asking “why me” and focusing on everything as though we were a target; OR we can lean into God and trust that He is good and He is in control and choose to live in Hope! …recognizing that it is not all about us and that we live in a broken world. Not to spoil the ending but everything is going to be ok! I know how it ends – and it is happily ever after!!!!
I wonder if being an Eeyore can be changed?! This friend of Winnie the Pooh has his house knocked down with regularity. He always rebuilds it but it seems that he expects misfortune to happen. He doesn’t problem solve. He doesn’t even try to prevent it! The issue for me is how to help those who focus on the obstacles, those who have lost heart, those who are stuck without being sucked into their black hole of gloom and despair. I remember hearing a story once about an Eeyore who bought a used car from a friend. The friend who sold it to him knew that cars need maintenance and there are always problems that arise, especially with used cars. In order to protect himself from his negative friend, the seller added the following to the contract. The purchase agreement literally said, “If the buyer ever complains about anything related to this car, he will immediately pay the seller $5 cash for each negative statement.”When the pessimist buyer saw it, he smiled broadly. He laughed loudly. He signed the contract. He NEVER said a negative word to about that car. In fact, he made a point of focusing on the good parts about the car every single time he saw the seller! Every. Single. Time. Just as his complaining had become a habit, he now chose to be positive (at least about the car).
There is so much to be thankful for. Even in the struggles God is there. Even when we cannot change our circumstances we can change the way we think about them. Anxiety and defeat gets us nowhere. Complaining only makes the journey longer. Comparison is an endless slide down. Paul said to the church in Corinth, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.”
We will survive. It could always be worse. When did our faith become dependent on our circumstances? When did our joy require blessings to be called joy? Paul goes on the say that we do not lose heart! I affirm my faith when I pray when hope seems faint. How do I keep from being an Eeyore? By nurturing my heart. By counting my blessings. By worship and praise. By serving and giving my life, my time and money away. By being generous. By smiling. By laughter. By love. By giving hugs. By forgiving. By honoring others and putting them first.
Bonus bullet points
- My attitude matters.
- I can change my attitude
- All people bring joy. Some bring it when they arrive and some when they leave. I know what group I want to be in!