Friday, April 30

What Surrounds You?

Do you ever go through your day feeling like this man? Wading through a sea of mental and emotional filth, trying to pick out little fragments of faded hope to sustain you?

I'll be honest and say that I do. I look at the children neglected and abused by parents too addicted or warped or crass to care. I look at the families broken by shallow, selfish choices and the world that affirms those choices as alternative lifestyles, pursuit of happiness or "irronconcible differences". I watch good people who've never been taught any better get caught up in the drama and bad choices that will devastate them in the future.

It's easy to get depressed and frustrated when this is all you see. Easy to look at the wide world with all its evils and wonder how anyone can make an impact on such a train wreck.

In Sunday school as children we learn Phillipians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Growing up, I always thought that was a strange instruction. Ignoring bad things doesn't make them go away, after all. Walking around with my head in the clouds doesn't improve anyone's situation - or does it?

The last few years have taught me principle that is so simple it should perhaps have sunk into my spirit long ago: from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. If there is nothing good in my heart, I will have no life, hope, wisdom or joy to speak into the darkness that I walk through or to those lost in it. Choosing to focus my heart on good things does not mean that I don't see the garbage around me, only that I do not dwell on it. When I choose to seek higher things, and surround myself with positive, uplifting people and ideas I will have more to give. I can make an impact on the sea of garbage that is the modern world - one kind word or little act of compassion at a time.

If this is something you've already mastered, keep modeling it for those of us still working it out! If it's a new idea for you, I encourage you to check out Jumping Tandem's The Oath. It will be a good place to start.

(Or attend a Mary Kay event - there's nothing like spending time in a mutual appreciation society to jump start your positive outlook on life! I know... shameless promotion... but MK been such a tremendous blessing to me that I can't not share - you can skip this paragraph if you're not an MK fan; I'll understand.)

Whatever you choose to do, try listening to the words that come out of your mouth today and asking yourself if they promote life and joy in yourself and others.

If this excersize depresses you as it used to depress me, go to the library and pick up the most positive cd, dvd or audio book you can find (or for the techies, download it to your iPod) and plug into something good. Feed your spirit some beautiful things. Keep doing it until you get something good out. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day! Life is shorter than we think - don't waste your chance to live beautifully by wallowing in the dark.

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