A friend's daughter recently went on a school trip to
and the Galapagos Islands. (How come they
never had field trips like that when I was in high school?) One of the pictures
she took showed her standing on 0.00 latitude. If you stand on one side,
everything moves in a clockwise direction (think of water going down a drain),
while on the other side it's counter clockwise.
As writers and readers, our lives can go in one of two directions - positive or negative. Think of yourself as standing on 0.00 latitude and choosing which side you'll stand on. We may face many setbacks such as rejection, difficulty finding an agent, getting a contract, bringing our writing to a publishable level, etc. Readers, you face difficulties in your life as well. Perhaps you're pursuing a degree, seeking employment, or dealing with relationship problems. How you address these issues also applies to you.
Our attitude will often determine our outcome. Allowing negative thoughts to fester in our minds will produce fear, hopelessness, and the desire to quit. It's the road to failure. On the other hand, a positive attitude and a commitment to excellence will set us up for success.
How do we remain positive when things look bad?
1. A thankful heart - It's almost impossible to be negative when you're counting your blessings. Maybe life hasn't worked out the way we'd hoped, but we can be grateful for all the successes.
2. Did you know the Word of God commands us to rejoice in the Lord? Did you know that God laughs? Did you know that laughter is like medicine?
If we've asked Jesus to forgive our sins and committed our lives to Him, we have joy within us. I'm not talking about happiness, which is an emotion that ebbs and flows depending on our circumstances.
True joy is present in any situation. Are we always aware of it. No. A recent speaker at our church used an example of sweet tea. It's made by using a bunch of teabags and a whole lot of sugar while the water is boiling. Then, ice can be added. Someone who doesn't know how to make it properly would hand you a glass of cold tea and a lot of sugar packets. What happens when you add the sugar? It sinks to the bottom. Only with vigorous stirring can you get the sugar to melt and distribute throughout the glass.
When we allow negative thought patterns, our joy sinks to the bottom of the glass. It takes some stirring to sweeten our "tea." Making our requests known to God and then celebrating the answer before we see it stirs our joy level. Singing, worshiping the Lord, immersing ourselves in Scripture all change our focus from the negative to the positive side of our problem.
This analogy helped me see the way out of the hole I'd dug for myself with negative thoughts. I knew what to do, but I seemed stuck. God answered my prayer, and the teachings and ministry we had last month helped me to step onto the positive side.
Writers and Readers: When desperate times come, how do you maintain your joy?
Photo Credit: HollyEReid