Something Greater is Within Our Grasp.
Seek the Lord instead of the Negative
My cousin Sylvia was a high school English teacher. One day she told us about a book she was reading with her class-Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It was about a carnival that came to a small town. As you can guess by the title, it was not a good carnival.
How often do we look for or plan for negative things to happen to us in life? “I bet it will rain on Saturday and we won’t be able to have our picnic!” Or, “That driver cut me off on purpose!” Or, “So and so is out to get me!” Even, “I did something wrong and God is mad at me.”
Something Greater this way comes.
Jesus tells us, “Seek and ye shall find.” (Matthew 7:7) So, what, then, are we seeking? Are we seeking good or negative?
Seek the good.
Often, what we look for we find. If you loose a $20 bill, you look for it until you find it. You don’t go looking for something else while you are searching for that $20 bill. You keep focsed on what you are seeking.
Do we seek out the good in our lives? Do we give people the benefit of the doubt (as we want people to do for us)? Do we look with hope and happiness at our day? Do we plan for fun and good things?
When we seek the good, that is what we focus on. If we notice something negative, we tend to brush it off rather than dwell on it. After all, we are seeking good-that is what we have our eyes fixed upon, so that is what we notice. Just like looking for that $20 bill, we keep our focus on what we are looking for.
Jesus also said, “For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be.” (Matthew 6: 21) Now, He did mean this in the context of earthly treasures and physical possessions-what “decay destroys” and “thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). However, if we look at it through the lens of seeking what is good, we can think of what is good as our treasure.
If my treasure is goodness, there also is my heart. If what I seek or gravitate to is negativity, my heart is focused on negativity instead of what is good. My heart then is not focused on something greater-God’s goodness, care, and mercy. Instead, it is focused on something less-negativity and lack of trust in God.
Reframe our thoughts when they tend to be negative.
When we notice a negative thought wander through our minds or when we realize that we are purposely thinking or speaking negative thoughts, we can do three things: stop, ask God for help, and reframe our thoughts.
Stop your thoughts or words in their tracks. It might even be helpful to say “STOP” out loud to make a bigger impact.
2. Ask God for help.
Pray and ask God to help you to see how your negative thoughts are pulling you away from focusing on Him and His goodness. Ask Him to help you to focus on what is good-on God and His love and mercy.
3. Reframe our thoughts.
Flip your thought around. What is good? What are you greatful* for? What are the blessings you have in your life right now? How can you increase your faith, hope, and trust in God?
Refocus your thoughts and words on God, on something greater than negativity. Seek what is good, not negativity.
*Note on my use of greatful instead of grateful: To me, a grate is a grid or part of a cheese grater, not a condition of the heart. Our hearts can be great in love and gratitude; they can inspire us to greatness. I am greatful for the great things God has done for me. Thus, I spell
grateful greatful this way.
Seek Jesus-the greatest good.
Jesus is the something greater that we instinctively seek in our lives. He is our Lord and Savior. It is Him we should be fixing our eyes on and seeking out, not negativity.
When we focus on negativity instead of focusing on God, we are showing Him that we do not trust in Him as much as He calls us to. We are looking at things we do not like or imagining things happening that could be bad instead of looking upon the good and perfect gifts He has given us. These good and perfect gifts are not only physical things, like a home and food, but gifts and talents He has given to us that help make us who we are.
When we focus on God instead of focusing on negativity, we are showing Him that we see (at least in part) what He has done for us. We acknowledge His gifts to us and are greatful for them.
Sometimes we tend to be negative out of habit. Other times we feel like life is a challenge and thinking negatively is like a default setting for us. If we struggle with being negative, we can ask God to help us to shift our focus and conquer negative thoughts and words. He will help us.
Fix our eyes on Christ.
As I wrote this post, inspired by the phrase Something Greater, the song “Fix My Eyes” by For King and Country went through my mind. I am linking it here for you to enjoy. May we all keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the Something Greater in our very midst.
This post is part of a blog hop by Spoken Women, an online community of Catholic women nurturing their creative callings. Click HERE to view the next post in this series “Something Greater.”
Cate Labish says
Thank you for these words of encouragement, Mary! How true it is that our hearts gravitate toward the negative, almost as if we don’t feel deserving of good and perfect gifts from God. I love the simple advice of saying “stop!” and redirecting your thought right then and there. Otherwise the downward spiral continues.
Thank you, Cate. I like what you said-that negativity can be an indication that we don’t feel deserving of God’s gifts. That is a good observation.