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Positively Joyful

Positively Joyful

November 14, 2018

“We just need to get you Tiggerized.” -Tigger (speaking to Eeyore)

From childhood, I identify with the character Eeyore. I love and admire Tigger, with his positive spirit and boundless energy. But I get Eeyore. By nature, my attention is immediately drawn to problems and potential pitfalls.

So imagine my surprise when my supervisor recently remarked, “You realize you see the glass as half-full, right?”

Her rhetorical question caused me to wonder: How did I get Tiggerized?

A pivotal conversation from my early days as a Christian came to mind. In a tone dripping with self-contempt, I had shared with my mentor my decision to fast “for pride and selfishness”.

After a startled moment she burst into laughter, “Why are you fasting for those things? You don’t want to be prideful and selfish!”

That conversation sparked a change in perspective. Rather than trying to avoid the negative, I began cultivating the positive. Instead of fasting against pride and selfishness, I learned to petition for humility and generosity.

The apostle Paul personified positivity. Perhaps this is why I have always felt drawn to him. Written from prison, his letter to the Philippians uses the words “joy” and “rejoice” sixteen times. Often referred to as the “Epistle of Joy”, Paul’s words reveal how positivity and joy are intertwined.

Focusing on the positive is what he instructs us to do in Philippians 4: 8:

            Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)

Even before he penned these words, the apostle Paul lived them out. Consider his words in Philippians 1:12-14:

            Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (NIV)

Meant to restrict the spread of the gospel, Paul’s imprisonment actually produced the opposite result. Empowered disciples began to preach, causing the gospel to reach even more people. Although Paul realized some people preached from false motives, he still chose to focus on the positive:

            But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:18a NIV)

When Paul chose a positive perspective, he found a reason to rejoice. Positive shifts in perspective produce positively joyful people.

For me, the road to positive thinking did not lead to immediate results. My attention is naturally grabbed by whatever is not right or is not working well. But over the years, I have learned to use that first response as a reminder to look for the bright side in every situation.

In all honesty, I cannot say I have mastered the art of staying positive. It is so easy for me to focus on the negative. But when I do, I look like Eeyore as I shuffle through life with a long face. Tigger, with his contagious giggle and bounce, definitely lives life with so much more joy. I may not be a Tigger by nature, but by God’s grace and training, I am more like him than I ever thought possible.

Wherever you are in your journey, I pray you are able to find a positive perspective. And when we meet on the road, may we have a giggle in our hearts and a bounce in our steps. Because after all, bouncing is what Tiggers do best.

Positively Joyful

November 14, 2018

Positively Joyful

“We just need to get you Tiggerized.” -Tigger (speaking to Eeyore)

From childhood, I identify with the character Eeyore. I love and admire Tigger, with his positive spirit and boundless energy. But I get Eeyore. By nature, my attention is immediately drawn to problems and potential pitfalls.

So imagine my surprise when my supervisor recently remarked, “You realize you see the glass as half-full, right?”

Her rhetorical question caused me to wonder: How did I get Tiggerized?

A pivotal conversation from my early days as a Christian came to mind. In a tone dripping with self-contempt, I had shared with my mentor my decision to fast “for pride and selfishness”.

After a startled moment she burst into laughter, “Why are you fasting for those things? You don’t want to be prideful and selfish!”

That conversation sparked a change in perspective. Rather than trying to avoid the negative, I began cultivating the positive. Instead of fasting against pride and selfishness, I learned to petition for humility and generosity.

The apostle Paul personified positivity. Perhaps this is why I have always felt drawn to him. Written from prison, his letter to the Philippians uses the words “joy” and “rejoice” sixteen times. Often referred to as the “Epistle of Joy”, Paul’s words reveal how positivity and joy are intertwined.

Focusing on the positive is what he instructs us to do in Philippians 4: 8:

            Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)

Even before he penned these words, the apostle Paul lived them out. Consider his words in Philippians 1:12-14:

            Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (NIV)

Meant to restrict the spread of the gospel, Paul’s imprisonment actually produced the opposite result. Empowered disciples began to preach, causing the gospel to reach even more people. Although Paul realized some people preached from false motives, he still chose to focus on the positive:

            But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:18a NIV)

When Paul chose a positive perspective, he found a reason to rejoice. Positive shifts in perspective produce positively joyful people.

For me, the road to positive thinking did not lead to immediate results. My attention is naturally grabbed by whatever is not right or is not working well. But over the years, I have learned to use that first response as a reminder to look for the bright side in every situation.

In all honesty, I cannot say I have mastered the art of staying positive. It is so easy for me to focus on the negative. But when I do, I look like Eeyore as I shuffle through life with a long face. Tigger, with his contagious giggle and bounce, definitely lives life with so much more joy. I may not be a Tigger by nature, but by God’s grace and training, I am more like him than I ever thought possible.

Wherever you are in your journey, I pray you are able to find a positive perspective. And when we meet on the road, may we have a giggle in our hearts and a bounce in our steps. Because after all, bouncing is what Tiggers do best.

4 Comments

  1. Jody R on November 21, 2018 at 5:55 AM

    Oh Shirley, This is Great!!! Who can’t relate to the dichotomy of these two characters in The Hundred Acre Wood? 🙂 hehe! More seriously though, are your great examples from God’s perfect word and the apostle Paul’s example. We have so much, because of Jesus!, to rejoice about and remain positive about. Thank you for this reminder. And I will be “bouncing” in your path soon! Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!! (heart)

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on November 25, 2018 at 7:08 PM

      Thank you Jody! I appreciate your encouragement as always! I can’t wait to see you too!

  2. Armelle Neboit on December 6, 2018 at 1:02 AM

    Thank you Shirley for this great article as always. Yes it is amazing how Paul manages to focus on the positive in situations we would not naturally!
    I remember you back in Paris in the early 90s and you stroke me as being joyful! And you helped me tremendously at getting more positive at things. I am so happy for you about this comment of your supervisor, it is God’s gift for you!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on December 12, 2018 at 9:38 PM

      Merci Armelle! So nice to interact with you here. I am so looking forward to seeing you in Paris in a few weeks! Bisous!

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