I recently had a sort of epiphany, and if you don't mind, I'm going to try to hash it out "on paper" in hopes that you might be able to relate, provide some insight, or just need something to read this evening.
I'd like to start by saying I consider myself a fairly positive person...and "fairly" may not be a strong enough word. I strive to find the good in all situations and people, find joy in the smallest things (figuratively and literally), and been called "terminally cheerful." Needless to say, I'm a "glass half full" kind of girl to the core...(this may not come as a surprise to those of you who know me well...or know me at all). ☺
All that said, there have been times in my life (some more recently than others) that I have found it difficult to maintain my positivity, find my joy, and/or see the good in a given situation.
- A moment of disagreement causes me to doubt an entire friendship.
- Missing out on an evening activity causes me to resent my work schedule.
- A single matter in need of compromise/middle ground rather than being in total agreement in all matters causes me to question the relationship as a whole.
- A "closed door" of opportunity causes me to throw in the towel and not even look for the "open window."
These seeds of doubt/confusion grow into small ferns...bushes...even trees and cast their shadow on all of the good things in which I'm so accustomed to easily finding joy. (I feel like this sounds like some sort of depression medication commercial...it's not.) My first instinct is to mask these feelings and deal with them myself. Past experience (and common sense), however, has proven this to be a relatively futile means of coping.
What hit me today is that these negative feelings/emotions/thoughts that throw off my positive groove are not coincidence - this negativity has to be coming from somewhere. I'd be crazy to not be joyful about the job(s) I've been blessed with...or about the fact I have a job, period. I'd be out of my mind to think a loved one or friend loves me less because of one little point of conflict. I'd just be wrong to think God would deny me one opportunity without presenting another. Right? Right.
I came to the conclusion that feelings of doubt, confusion, and insecurity are coming from Satan. I don't really know why it took me so long to realize/articulate/embrace/understand this truth. I know I should be in the practice of being on the lookout for evil in my life, but I'm not, really. I attribute this lack of practice to my optimistic demeanor (see above).
As I thought about it all more, I realized how much sense it makes that the things that seem to not make sense in my life (i.e. the doubt, negativity, etc.) are coming from someone who does not have my best interests at heart. Satan is ever-present in this world, and we must, must, must be constantly on the lookout for him and the lies he spreads. "...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." -John 8:44
So, what should my(our) plan of action be when (I almost said "if and when," but there isn't really an "if" in this matter) this negativity shows up in my(our) thoughts and mind?