There are aliens all around me. They suck the living joy right out of me before I even recognize them. Sometimes they are disguised as a clerk, or a stranger, but mostly they come in the form of my husband.
Last weekend I had my latest encounter. The little creature suctioned itself to my forehead â€“ its tentacles sprawled all around - as soon as husband started his complaints. With each breath my husband took, the alien sucked out a little more joy. With each ounce of joy that slipped from my mind, my energy seemed to go from my body. With in minutes, I was being pulled down by the shear weight of the thing. It wasnâ€™t so little anymore. Head in hands, I contemplated my fate. I knew the end was near.
Okay, maybe the creature wasnâ€™t real. The feelings were real, though. With each complaint, I felt my energy seep from my body. I quickly went from being happy about life in general and simply enjoying the day to needing a nap. What on earth had happened to me?
Thinking back on the situation, I kept returning to the scripture â€œthe joy of the Lord is my strength.â€ Every time I had thought of strength, I pictured a muscled bound guy lifting heavy weights or the big muscle man at the circus. There had to be more.
Pulling out my trusted concordance, I searched for the true meaning of strength. According to Strongâ€™s it is a fortified place or a rock. This definition is a far cry from Websterâ€™s definition that strength is the power of body, mind, position, etc. (and far from the muscle man pictured in my head)
â€œThe joy of the Lord is my strength.â€ It is the solid place I make my stand. It is the beginning. I needed to think on that for a while.
What exactly is the joy of the Lord? For me it is the confidence that He died so that I could live. It is the knowledge that He cared so much that He preferred to suffer instead of allowing me to suffer. It is also the understanding of the kind of life that He wants me to live â€“ an abundant life of joy overflowing. I picture Him pouring waves of smiles over my head. (I have a vivid imagination.)
It is with these understandings that I can build up my positions and fortify my walls so that they can stand against the storm. Understanding and Knowledge are my ability to survive and to make it through. This is a concept I have know, so how or why had I let this little alien, this insignificant creature just suck away my very ability to stand?
It didnâ€™t take much thought to pinpoint the moment of invasion. It happened right at the time that my husband started his barrage of negative comments. â€œWe donâ€™t have . . .â€ â€œWe arenâ€™t . . .â€ â€œWeâ€™ll never . . .â€ But how had it happened? I began to understand that spending time with someone who is focused on the negative is like having a balloon with a pin sized hole. Before you know it, the whole thing is flat and you never even noticed there was a leak. I had sprung a leak.
With this new wisdom, I determined not to fall victim again. Negativity (the new name for my little alien creature) has the power to rule my very thoughts if he gets just a leg in (or a tentacle). I wasnâ€™t letting him back in.
People have the right to complain, just not around me. It takes far more energy to complain than to enjoy what you have, which is probably why the complainer sucks the energy out of everyone around. (It also takes more muscles to frown than to smile, but that is for another day)
Being positive or learning to find the silver lining is a gift or an art or a challenge, depending on how you look at it. â€œWhat ever is true, honest, right, pure, lovely, or of good repute â€“ think on these things.â€ If my mind is full of God, then Negativity has no place to attach. Without negativity, I keep my joy. I keep my strength. I win.