So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I admit it. There are times when I just plain whine about life. There are times when I complain and complain and complain. Something has not gone my way and I let everyone know about it. These are the times when my friends and family members cringe when they answer the phone.
There are also times when life has thrown me a curveball in the form of a closed door. These are the times when I am disappointed and I tend to close myself off to new opportunities as I ponder the past. Once again, talking to me can be a chore.
There are times when I beat up on myself for some mistake I made. I play it over and over again in my head. I think of what could have been. During these times, I usually write profusely in my journal, talk endlessly to God about it, or just internalize it, which manifests in sleepless nights and consumption of large amounts of chocolate.
Whatever the source of my negativity, it consumes a great deal of time for me and for others. It also blocks out opportunities for growth and new forms of blessings. The time wasted prevents me from solving problems, being innovative and enjoying life.
For this Lenten Season, I chose a behavioral commitment instead of giving up a food item. I chose to do silence as much possible. My times of commitment are 2 hours before work and 2 hours after my last activity. During the in between time, I try to spend the least amount of time possible talking to people, especially about negative things.
I admit, it’s been rough, but I’ve seen something interesting. When I do slip up and say something negative, I notice how my body reacts to the negativity. It zaps my energy. If someone is being negative around me, it zaps my energy.
When I think about all this energy zapping, I think of John 10:7-10, where Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd and the gate for his sheep. Jesus shepherds his sheep by protecting them and showing them the way to go.
Applying this to negative thinking and speaking, John 10:10 takes on a new meaning. Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Negativity is a thief, plain and simple. The only way to conquer this thief is to allow the True Shepherd to surround us with his love and care.
It is impossible to have a negative thought while thinking about Jesus. It is impossible to speak negatively when you talk about the goodness of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to stray when the gate you use is the one opened by the Good Shepherd.
Today, as you reflect, make a determination in heart and mind to combat negativity with the truth that the Good Shepherd came to give you life and life more abundantly.