In this world, we hear a lot about positivity. We hear people tell us to not let the negativity of others affect our attitudes.
That’s a powerful message.
People say that we should keep our heads up because ultimately, whatever we want in life, we’re going to have to work for. So if we want to accomplish our goals, we must not let anyone deter us.
We must be positive. See the glass half-full. See the sky as always sunny. And move on from gloom as quick as we possibly can.
The positivity message tells us to just keep swimming, because it’s gonna be alright. Don’t worry; be happy. And I do believe happiness is good, but we should have a reason for it.
What I want to know is this. In a godless world, how can we be happy? How can we be positive? How can we know that life really will go on? How can we accomplish what we want to when it seems absolutely impossible?
Forgive me for being blunt here, but this is where I see that the positivity message cannot hold up.
Positivity does not offer lasting hope. But Jesus does.
Positivity is a form of self-empowerment: If you think it, you can do it. And that’s not all bad, truly. Sometimes the only thing we need to keep going is faith in ourselves and perseverance because we already have everything we need to do it.
Sometimes, when everyone around us is cutting us down with discouragement, we need to be the ones to step up and say, “Hey, look. The end is in sight. We can make it.” Pressing on toward something is valuable.
So the question is not, “Should we be positive?” but “How can we be positive?”
For me, having a good attitude by just “trying to” is like trying to sing or speak without taking a breath. Pulling the positivity card out of nowhere has no depth to it, no standing, because it becomes just words.
But it doesn’t have to be.
The missing message of positivity is this: we can have joy in every situation.
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
The secret to facing anything is doing them through the strength of Christ. That’s what gives us joy. That’s what lets us go on when things seem impossible. That’s what propels us through the times when we feel like giving up.
Not putting on a mask of happiness, but living it.
Positivity is something we can only truly grasp when we experience the joy of the Lord.
“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The joy of the Lord. Not the joy of nice things, a good relationship, a happy circumstance, no. This joy is knowing that we are loved. Knowing that His grace is lavished on us. The guaranteed assurance that we are new creations in Christ. Our pasts are not counted against us.
And we know this all because we have seen the cross. We have seen who Jesus is in the Bible. We have felt his presence in our lives. We have known His power.
And so the simple message of positivity just seems so shallow. “Be happy.” Okay, yes, but why should I be happy?
Because we are loved with an everlasting love by our Creator. We are treasured. We are provided for. We are never left on our own. And we are definitely never forsaken or forgotten about.
To be truly positive is about so much more than just feeling something – it’s what we can live in as Christians.
And that kind of positivity is the best of all.