In Not Of: Gratitude in the Midst of Negativity

by Jess Wolstenholm on November 15, 2016

In the middle of what should be a season of thanksgiving, negativity is at a height.

It’s no wonder we see antagonistic headlines and social media posts everywhere we turn. Our culture has been largely built on negativity and popular opinion, especially surrounding politics. We have the right to say and post what we think and feel. But most people abuse this freedom, diminishing its value.

Over the past few months leading up to the election, I was surprised at how many times my 8 year old came home from school with political commentary to share. Where is she hearing all of this? I thought. And then I remembered how much the little people in our homes listen and repeat what they hear.

It’s hard for adults to “use their words” in conversations surrounding issues they are passionate about. It’s difficult to rise above “the sky is falling” narrative presented by the media. But how will we teach our children to be thankful for the many blessings they enjoy if we’re constantly focused on all that is wrong?

Despite the negativity that surrounds us, we can be ambassadors for gratitude and peace with these five habits that start at home. . .

  1. Use Your Words. Replace words of doom and gloom with words like hopeful and thankful; expectant and optimistic.
  2. Look For The Good. Find the bright side in the midst of tough situations, even if it’s hard.
  3. Practice Peace. With words, actions and thoughts.
  4. Spread Love. Look for opportunities to bless others, even in the simplest ways.
  5. Be Inspired To Act. Let frustrations fuel our hands instead of our mouths.

When speaking through the prophet Jeremiah to the Israelites exiled in Babylon, God instructs his people to get settled, to basically set up camp and plan to stay awhile. Jeremiah says,

“And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7

We may feel like being negative and complaining about the state we are in (in our nation or just in our lives) but when we settle in and find the good, God will work to bring hope and a bright future to those who seek him.

This is how we raise children who live IN our messy world but do not become jaded and defeated because OF it. They are watching, they are listening. Are we leading them with our thankful words and actions towards the bright hope of Jesus?

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