It is easier for me to say what I am not. Years ago I encountered a particular style of leadership and being the church that didn’t jive with me. It was easy to point out what I disagreed with, what I felt was wrong, and what I would not do. It was a breeze to communicate what I am I not. You can even get a small following to agree.
The difficult task is to move from the “here is what I am against” to the “here is what I am for!” Anyone can be a movie critic and say what was good or lousy about a movie and movie critics have their place in the industry. However, to make a movie and create something takes a whole lot more courage and hard work.
I heard Wayne Schmidt say,
“Nothing drains passion like cynicism.”
I have been pretty good at saying who I am not. I’ve been fairly comfortable communicating what I am against. The role of cynic has come easy for me.
But, I want to create. I want to contagiously bring energy, change, life, and passion. I desire to do the hard work of discovering and communicating what I am and what I am for. I have become a cynic about the comfort and power of cynicism.
So, what am I against?
How do you stay focused on creating rather than just merely critiquing?
The core truth is that we are God’s beloved.
However, it can be so easy to listen to the voices that demand we prove that we are valuable. We may believe that we need to do something spectacular to show that we deserve and will receive love.
Here is a great quote to remind us that we are God’s beloved. It is written from the perspective of God writing to you.
“I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse… yes, even your child… wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.” – Henri Nouwen from “Life of the Beloved”
What if we read this each day? How might that change our interactions and attitudes?
I asked, “Vicki, would you say that I am an optimistic person?” She replied with, “Not really.”
My mom routinely preached being positive to me:
“No one likes to hang out with a negative person.”
One of my mentors used to yell out, “Attitude Check” and we responded with “Praise the Lord!”
I even read “Life Is Tremendous” by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones back in the day!
I always thought of myself as an optimist (maybe I was overly optimistic) so I was disappointed at Vicki’s response to me. But, I knew it was true.
How did pessimism claw into my thoughts and words?
I am optimistic that 2011 will be different. There will be a rebirth of my attitude. I claimed “positivity” as my theme for the year. I need it, but I think the people around me will appreciate it even more. I desire to be a life bringer, to see solutions, to give others courage, to believe the best in people, and to live more out of faith.
“Attitude Check?!” 🙂