Have you ever found yourself speaking negatively about your day? Like when someone asks you how your weekend was, you say: “It was great but too short,” or “I went to the Army-Navy game but Navy lost.” While I can absolutely understand being down about Navy’s loss last weekend, it didn’t need to color my whole weekend.
Confession: I am a chronic “but”-er in conversations.
There’s always something else I can add to the conversation that leads it in a negative direction. As I reflected on this, I came to the conclusion that it’s not the words that come out of my mouth that are negative, but my thoughts. Instead of focusing on the positive, I tend to zero in on the negative in situations, even good ones!
I hate to admit it to myself but I’m a glass half empty kind of person. But that’s not who we’re made to be.
At the beginning of Advent 1986, Pope Saint John Paul II famously said that “We are the Easter people and alleluia is our song!”
If we are truly made to be the Easter people, then we must welcome true joy into every facet of our lives.
Joy can be defined as the abiding peace that comes from recognizing God’s Presence. It is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that stands firm through hardship and moves our souls to take action, to rejoice. This week, we celebrated Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” means “to rejoice.” The Church calls us during this season of Advent to recognize Christ’s coming presence in the form of joy made flesh.
Joy is a state of being, something that we actively choose. When we make the decision to embrace a deep faith and trust in God, a joyful soul is the result. But, you may ask, in the moment when I’m about to tack on that negative phrase to a plain old sentence about my life, how to I go about being joyful?
First, I need to ask myself a question: “Is my extra ‘but’ phrase making anyone’s day better, more joyful?”
Joy isn’t just going to happen by itself. I need to choose it and help others choose it by speaking in a way that brings Christ’s presence to the forefront. I’ve found that I can’t quit my negativity cold turkey by just biting my tongue. Old habits die hard and walking away from them hasn’t worked for me. So in order to allow myself to see the positive rather than the negative and to live a joyful life, I’ve started small.
Each morning, I wake up and the first thing I do is say one simple prayer: “Lord, your will be done today. Help me to choose joy.” If I don’t ask God for his grace daily, I fail to see his Presence and I lose that peace. In asking that God’s will be done, I turn my life over to him and place my trust in him daily, knowing that his plan is better than my own.
At the close of Advent, I want to have made the world a more joyful place. Getting rid of negativity is one way I can do that. How will you? Let us know in the comments!