If you are frustrated by a negative mindset, read on for the antidote! Hint: It has to do with remembering…
Tell me I’m not the only one.
When life gets hard and the days tend toward long and exhausting, I find myself feeling like everything is wrong and nothing is ever going to change. I begin to lose hope, and the negative mindset threatens to invade and take over.
I don’t usually catch it as it begins, but I abruptly find myself quite miserable one day. And then, with that awareness comes God’s rescue.
He gently reminds me of how he has shown me His goodness in the past, led and guided me, or provided for me, and that memory becomes the antidote to the negative mindset. But remembering is hard. More challenging than looking for God’s goodness each day, for sure. It takes intentionality, and I’ve learned I’m not the only one who struggles with it!
The ancient Israelites struggled with the same issue. It didn’t seem to matter how many times God showed up and provided, miraculously protected, or showed them His glory. Shortly after, they would continually fall into negativity and freak out the next time something bothered them.
We don’t get too far into Exodus before we start seeing examples. First, God delivers them from Egypt, then from the pursuing Egyptian army. They watched the plagues unfold, witnessed the pillar of fire, and the seas parting for them. They also walked between the walls of water on dry ground and joined Moses and Miriam in a song of remembrance. God provided water from a rock and then manna, yet they got thirsty and automatically assumed a negative mindset as their journey continued. They were sure God would abandon them to die in the desert.
Every. Single. Time.
It’s easy to shake our heads at them, but we’ll find the same patterns if we analyze ourselves carefully. There’s nothing the devil loves more than to immobilize Christians, and he can effectively do that by getting our focus on ourselves and our immediate need. If he can get us thinking the worst, then he’s got us distracted.
Intentionally put our minds on the Lord by remembering what He has done for us in the past. What do you think the outcome would have been if the people had kept their sights on the Lord and taken 5 minutes to remember the plagues, the pillar of fire, or the Egyptian army overwhelmed by the water? They would have received an incredible gift that’s available to us as well.
They would have experienced peace.
Remembering how God provided protection in the past would have bolstered their faith. That would have allowed them to ask for water from a positive mental state, knowing God would provide, rather than freak out and assume the worst from a negative mindset. Instead, they made this mistake over and over again. Exodus documents this pattern over and over. Interestingly, God instructs them multiple times to remember. He prompts them to make memorials and even has them build the ark to hold manna and other objects to help them remember!
As we read through Exodus, we need to learn from the Israelites. They didn’t cultivate a positive mindset and made big messes. We are privy to the whole story and how it ends, which gives us an opportunity to learn to cultivate a positive mindset and be intentional about remembering God’s goodness.
Remembering what He has done in the past will help us trust Him now and with our future. It keeps our focus on Him and off of ourselves, which is the difference between a positive and negative mindset. These can be examples from the Bible or even our own life. Either one will bolster our faith when we need a rescue from a negative mindset.
I guess I’m in good company. Even God’s chosen people fell prey to the trap of a negative mindset. They were blindly following an unseen God and living in uncertainty. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the Bible with the whole story to bolster their confidence, but we have the blessing of the perspective from the entire story.
It is very similar to how we are navigating the current virus and political unrest with so many unknowns. We don’t have the whole story right now but must make the choice to trust God through whatever has brought on the negative mindset. Be intentional to remember what God has done in your life and for you. That will prove to be the antidote to the negative mindset that brings fear.
If nothing else, we can remember that God gave us the story of the Israelites to show us we can trust Him.
What good news. I’m not the only one!