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Kingdom Living

Thriving on Negativity and Chaos

June 6th, 2021 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

My training started out in clinical psychology. And that means you are always trying to figure out what is wrong with people and systems. For years, I really struggled with negativity and looking for problems…dwelling on difficult things. Someone would tell me good news and I could instantly think of a way it could go wrong and wasn’t afraid to say so.

God a new car? Did you hear about the recall?

Got that promotion you have been wanting? You know that means a new set of demands you may not be up for.

You see how it goes…maybe you know first hand how this works?

Man was that messed up! It is obvious in retrospect but not in the moment.

It has taken me quite some time of soul searching to come to understand just how unhelpful that kind of approach to life really is. In reality, it was thriving on chaos and it took me a while to understand that the world has chaos enough without me adding to the pile. There is so much joy that is missed…so much rejoicing with those who rejoice that is avoided. It is hard to make and keep friends when you approach life from a clinical perspective.

I finally learned to create and maintain filters on my language – to take those thoughts and hold them captive to Christ and find them wanting in comparison to the thoughts of Jesus.

We are not enslaved to our negative thoughts. By the grace of God we can convert our thinking and embrace the celebration of what is going well in the world without having to conjure up potential issues that might (but probably won’t) come up along the way.

This conversion of thinking brings true freedom!

Do you struggle with this or am I the only crazy one?

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Rudy Schellekens

    Of course you are the only crazy one… That would be a no brainer for people who live(d) life the way you described…
    More seriously: Many of us seem to look at the “other shoe” scenario. I believe part of that is associated with the negative outlook we have on humans in general.
    When something good happens to someone, what is an often first thought? I wonder what/who they know to get this promotion…
    even as children of God, as fellow heirs with Jesus we tend to denigrate ourselves, “but we are just sinners, anyway…”
    Recognizing our value from God’s perspective makes a world of difference in how we deal with stuff. We are blessed because we are children of the God of creation. We are loved, valuable, because of what God has done for us, because of who God has made us: A new creation!
    Changes the way we look at things in a most drastic way!

  • Kent Blake

    Well said Matt. For 10+ years I’ve done training in the corporate world on the topic you just touched on and recently have added a session for churches titled well-being and resilience from a Christian perspective. A division in psychology has been devoted to studying the issue you mentioned as of about 30 years ago. What you’re talking about is referred to as explanatory style. Everyone has a bent which lands us somewhere on a continuous scale between optimism/hopefulness and pessimism/hopelessness. I hope people will take you seriously and understand the impact that has on one’s life satisfaction. And I’m thankful you mentioned some Christian perspectives on the topic. Anyone can contact me if they want more information or might be interested in a session for their church on this topic.

    • Kent Blake

      That assessment I mentioned is available at the University of Pennsylvania Psychology website. I created a bit.ly link for my classes: (www.bit.ly/upenn77). It measures where you are on the continuous scale of hopelessness to hopefulness. A description a bit less ominous is a scale which measures ones optimism/pessimism. While this scale is pretty accurate — your position is not a set point — you can improve your hopefulness.

      I’d recommend one read Martin Seligman’s book Learned Optimism if you’re interested in learning more. Or contact me I’d be happy to talk with you.

      The psychologists findings after 40 years are solid science. But it’s not at all complete until you add in God’s revelation.

    • Kent Blake

      That assessment I mentioned is available at the University of Pennsylvania psychology website: (www.bit.my/upenn77). While this scale is pretty accurate — your position is not a set point — you can improve your hopefulness.

      The psychologists findings after 40 years are solid science. But it’s not at all complete until you add in God’s revelation.

  • Jerry Starling

    Nope. You’re not the only crazy one. Been there. Done that!

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