A patient man is better than one strong; and he that can rule himself, has more worth than he that winneth a city.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”
Have you ever been around a person who was completely negative? I don’t mean they had a bad day or were going through something hard and venting about it. I mean an Eeyore type of person. (Eeyore, was the fictional character, a donkey, in Winnie-the-Pooh.) These type of people can never find anything good to talk about in life, and are constantly moping or complaining. I’ll be honest, sometimes I’m drawn to these types. I want to be a friend to them, to encourage them. While I can be a friend to them, encourage and help them, etc., it’s ultimately up to the person, with God’s help, to become a healthy, balanced person.
(Note: I am not referring to someone who may be struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. These are very real health issues and should ALWAYS be addressed with compassion, love, and by those who are trained in this area. I hope to write some on mental health and Christians at some point in the future. It is an issue I feel strongly about).
So, being an Eeyore type is one end of the spectrum, but what about the other end? The people who are sickeningly sweet. The ones who you can’t talk to without getting a three point sermon on why your life is awesome. These types almost sing a musical for you every time you encounter them! This well-meaning type tends to lecture you, all in a positive way of course, about all the wonderful aspects of life. This seems good, but the problem is this type can never ever mention anything that is not positive! For example, if you called this type to say you were sick with Covid and couldn’t make it to dinner, they would reply “How wonderful! I just know you’ll be fine and it’s actually good that you have Covid to naturally boost your immunities!”
Their favorite phrases are probably “HOW WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!” and “AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!”
This type can never acknowledge a negative occurrence in life. They can never admit “well this stinks.” While this person sounds “positive”, the problem with this is in refusing to acknowledge the negative circumstance, they can never really empathize or even sympathize with others. They are out of touch with the reality that negatives happen and need to be acknowledged.
Of course I will not name names, but I have actually encountered both of these kinds of people in life- the Eeyores, and the Mary Poppins of the world. If each of these types would move more toward the middle of the continuum, they would be so much more palatable! They would honestly be effective, loving and lovable friends. But unless they get a grip on their attitude, they will remain completely detached from reality! The reality that life is filled with positives and negatives. (For those that are Christians- I know that in the end, in Heaven, life will be free from ALL negatives, but if we can’t be in touch with the reality of the present and the problems/blessings others experience right here and now how can we expect to be an effective friend or example?)
I love those in life who are just real, you know? They experience the full range of emotions as situations in life occur and they share it- the good and the bad- and remain strong, humble, resilient, far from perfect, beautiful souls! I hope to be that way. I want to be that way- relatable- on the good and bad days. I hope to be able to understand what others are going through (in the hard times), yet be a source of encouragement and positivity. Realistic and never fake. In the middle of the continuum. Always. Like the Velveteen Rabbit. (Except maybe not with my eyes dropping out and getting too loose in the joints. 😊)
Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
Blessings today and every day.