Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
“Pathetic,” he said. “That’s what it is. Pathetic.”
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
“As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that’s what it is.” (Excerpt from Winnie the Pooh)
Everyone knows an Eeyore, someone who is habitually negative or pessimistic and can find a way to rain on even the happiest of parades. Eeyores find problems in every solution, constantly expect the worst, and project their unhappiness on to everyone around them.
Eeyores must be stopped. They’re hurting themselves, they’re exhausting their friends, and they’re polluting the atmosphere in the 40-acre wood.
Chronic criticism and negativity poison relationships, assassinate joy, and damage faith, and at risk of offering pat, overly simplistic counsel let me suggest some potential cures for Eyore’s gloominess:
- Go on a “thank you” fast. Designate some time to express gratitude for every blessing you can identify regardless of how small it might be.
- Embark on a total life makeover, an aggressive but realistic campaign to overhaul your fitness, budget, friendships, hobbies, and self-esteem.
- Join a small group and inform them of your plans to change.
- If necessary get the appropriate therapy or medical help.
- Read…pray…worship…reach out—do whatever it takes to get in God’s presence and linger there. He adores you, and His ultimate plan for you is good.
It would be nice to have a better year than last year.
I would really like to be happier, healthier, and more financially fit.
It would be awesome to have more family time and to enjoy my life more than I did in 2012.
It would be really nice to please God and reach all of my personal and professional goals.
Unfortunately, most of those things won’t happen this year if they’re only nice wishes. If there is any hope of my 2013 dreams coming true it will be when my nice wishes become absolute necessities. I can keep on living without nice, but I won’t last long without necessary.
When vanity urges us to drop a few pounds it would be nice to lose weight. However when our doctor says, “Change your health and exercise patterns of you’ll die,” fitness becomes a necessity.
When the thought of more family time sounds “nice” it’s not likely that we’ll pay the price to change our family dynamics. However when we learn that we might lose our family if we don’t change, our family focus assumes a drastically greater urgency.
It seems that there are three options where our New Year resolutions are concerned:
- Do nothing and continue living the status quo
- Wait for bad news to compel us to change
- Cast a glorious vision of what life could be like, and then let that vision drive our resolve and direct our calendars in 2013
Let’s opt for the latter. Let’s be visionary men and women fueled by God-honoring dreams.
“…One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Well, it’s that time of year again—the time when the NBA shuffles its talent pool through some mid-season trades. Even though it’s a little weird to watch players get traded away to other franchises like human poker cards, the trades usually don’t bother me unless they involve one of my favorite players (I still don’t think the Lakers will move Pau Gasol). They’re usually just fodder for endless sports gossip and speculation.
However, as this year’s trade deadline approaches a persistent thought keeps running through my head, and I find myself wondering if I need to make any trades in my own life. I wonder if I’m still on target to hit the goals of my life and calling, or if I’ve gotten too comfortable in the status quo. If championship teams are willing to make tough trades to stay competitive in something as temporal as basketball, shouldn’t you and I be willing to trade or sacrifice in our pursuit of Jesus Christ?
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Are we in competitive shape–ready to run God’s race for us–or do we need to make some tough, intentional trades? Are we carrying any baggage that will bog us down, or are we on track to say, “I have done the will of Him who sent me”?
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit: RMTip21)
Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr
When I was a sophomore in college I tried talking my way out of a speeding ticket. It was one of those sneaky tickets where the officer didn’t actually catch my speed on radar, but instead “paced” me from his car in front of me. When I showed up for my court date I asked the judge what I thought was a brilliant question that would surely sway him in my favor. I asked: “When was the last time the police officer’s car had its speedometer calibrated?”
Instead of appreciating my inquiry and ordering an assessment of the patrol car’s speedometer accuracy, the judge shook his head, upheld my full fine, and dismissed me so he could move on to the next case. However, even though the question didn’t impress the court, I still think it’s one that we should consider—especially at the beginning of a New Year.
“When was the last time we had our hearts re-calibrated?”
It’s quite likely that the highs and lows and victories and defeats of 2011 have tweaked our hearts’ alignment and gotten them distracted from what is really important. Rather than fixating on a list of resolutions or things we need to change in 2012, I think we should start our year by taking time to quiet our souls and re-align them to the image and purpose of Christ.
In Psalm 131:2 King David wrote, “I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother is my soul within me.”
Quieting, stilling, and refocusing our souls on Jesus Christ is the starting point for a dynamic New Year.