I’m a glass half empty kind of girl. In a recent devotion time here at Focus, the speaker asked the glass half empty people to raise their hands. I was the only one out of a group of thirty that raised my hand. Liars. (Did I mention I’m a little skeptical as well?)
Since these are people I respect, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they truly are glass half full kind of people. Perhaps they have already learned a lesson I believe God is teaching me: Pessimism does not breed a heart of gratitude. In fact, it makes it virtually impossible for me to delight myself in the Lord.
Until now, I have justified my negativity by saying that it’s just who I am or pointing out the positive side of seeing the glass as half empty. You may think there is no positive side, but there is. I can assess risks in plans and think through the possible ramifications of decisions. Every group needs someone to point out the blind spots. But that is where the benefits of being negative end. I believe God has gifted me to refine the ideas of others, but he has not gifted me to suck the life out of every good thing (which is what I tend to do).
Earlier this week I was reading GirlTalk where Carolyn Mahaney writes about an eighty/twenty split described by Lars Gren (Elisabeth Elliot’s husband):
A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.
I do not have a husband, but I do have a fiance. And to my regret, I have spent more of our engagement focusing on the twenty percent than the eighty percent. As God tenderly brought this to my attention, I saw that pessimism was not only sucking the life blood out of my relationship with my fiance but over many years had also robbed the joy from my relationship with Him.
I won’t wake up tomorrow and see my Splenda-free coffee cup as half full, but I’m asking the Lord to teach me how to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. Heaven forbid I take my God-given giftings and use them as excuses to indulge in sinful attitudes.
When is the last time you examined your tendencies to see if they are hindering your delight in the only One who is worthy?