Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grape Food?

I was sitting in a Alateen meeting in the spring of 1978. It was customary to go around the room and share problems & accomplishments. Me, I was there because I had a lot of problems, and my life had really gone off track. Let's just say my mother was kidding when she said "get help, or get out."

After a few meetings I decided to share a problem with the group. I don't remember what it was, but one of the girls there said quietly, "you need and attitude of gratitude."

It didn't compute, so I asked here. "What's grape food?" As gracious as most of the kids were, they still snickered. "Gratitude!" she replied. I felt embarrassed, but I didn't ask what that meant either, for fear of sounding even dumber.

Well, I have learned a lot about gratitude since that time. And this week, the faithful will be sharing their own experiences with the mood changing drug, gratitude.

I have to admit it, some days I am a glass half empty, and other days I am glass half full person. I know that part of that comes from my temperament mix, and part of it comes from some really poor choices that really did end me up in some stinky and depressing circumstances. I also noticed that I am a lot more positive when I can see my way out of a situation, even if it requires a monumental effort on my part.

I have heard lot of "positive confession" teaching over the years at church. Some of it is very good, and some of it was presumption and denial of situations and character defects that really needed to be dealt with.

If things aren't going well, I want to give you permission to say, "I don't feel good today." It is good to go to our Christian friends and ask for prayer. In those prayers God is able to show us: faithfulness, give us wisdom, peace and comfort. They are essential in us bearing one another's burdens. That's the good side of crying out.

The Bible also says that our words have power. If we can prophesy, then we can curse. Let's face it, if we can pray and believe that God will move on our behalf, then we have same power to be negative in the spiritual realm.

James 3:9a With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse.

It is very important to stay away from cursing ourselves and others. I am not thrilled with my job situation. So I am simply praying for a better job situation that is minus the hours of commuting. I ask for pray for the new situation while being attentive to the lessons I am supposed to be learning from this one.

If we belittle someone, or do any sort of name calling, we are cursing God's beloved. Look, I have kids who don't make the best choices all the time, but I always look for places to say, "You must be proud of yourself." or " You did a great job!" It is the focus on what is done right that creates and opportunity for them to do something else well.

My little one is ENERGETIC and runs in the house. Last week she took me out with two cups of hot coffee as I rounded the corner for the dining room table. It was very stupid of her. As upset as I was, I said "No more running in the house!"

And finally there are things we don't say, but run in our minds as an internal dialog. this in the one that i have the most trouble with. And it spills over to the tongue sometimes.

Proverbs 23:7 (ASV) 7 For as he thinketh within himself, so is he.

It is very truthful: I am what I think I am. Some days it is hard not say "I am a failure as a ________. or to not feel shame for something I should have said, or handled differently.

Thank God Jesus loves just the way I am.

How about you, what's your internal dialog like?


Tonjia Rolan said...

Echart Tolle's "A New Earth: understanding your life's purpose" specifically addresses our internal dialogues, where they come from, and recognizing and overcoming them. We must first learn to control our thoughts before we can control our tongues, and it is a constant battle for me.
My life changed radically for the better when I quit cursing myself with negative thoughts and words and replaced those with positive self dialogue. It is a process that takes effort and time and a continuing challenge. I believe that this is one of the most important life altering tactics available to mankind. Now that I am kind to myself, it is easier to be kind to others. The spoken word is powerful indeed. It frames our thoughts about our world.

Tracy said...

This is such a good Word David!!

As to your query about my internal dialog - when left to my own devices I will tend toward selfishness and negativity. The only way I've found to combat that tendency is through relationship with God, how the Holy Spirit actually changes me! Also through sort of re-programming my mind, by the power of the Holy Spirit, by spending daily time in His Word; be that time morning devotions, or having a card I can carry with a verse or two that I'm trying to memorize, or reading Word-centered things. I try to consciously make my mind think on, and my mouth speak, what is true according to the Word verses fleeting emotions or what others say. I agree with you however that God blesses me with the opportunity to share my feelings with trusted friends who are so good to care about me and pray for me.

Whateverman said...

My internal dialog is one of skepticism. That is, when thoughts and feelings bubble to the surface, I don't necessarily trust where they came from.

This includes both the good and the bad. I'll allow myself to be happy or be sad, but when those feelings/thoughts drive other actions, I make sure I understand why I'm happy or sad. For example, I'm having a great day, and in the middle of it I get a craving for a DQ sundae. Sundaes = calories, which means "don't let this good mood make me do things I might regret".

The same goes for negative feelings or "deep" thoughts or ideas for projects, etc.

Simply put, my internal dialog mostly involves not trusting myself fully.

Joyce Lighari said...

Once upon a time, my internal dialog was pretty positive. I worked with a half empty person and I was the half full - we complimented each other well and got a lot done.
Now, my internal dialog is mostly negative but I still push forward. I was perceived as a loser for a long time, I've been told I was a loser -- I am still determined to prove them all wrong. Someday.
Other than that, most of my internal dialog has to do with a dissertation and how to get people to sign on and do a bible study.

Tony C said...

I'm on the opposite side of Joyce. Year backs, my internal dialog was mostly negative which lead me to focus on the things I shouldn't. Today, I am find myself often shocked by bad news about someone because I tend to look at everyone differently...more positively.

Leading with the heart instead of the head has become my SOP...and I think I sleep better.