What I’m Giving Up for Lent

My husband typically thinks of himself as an Eeyore to my Tigger. He likes to expect the worst so he can be pleasantly surprised if something good happens, while I sometimes nauseate even myself with what one loved one calls my “joyful positivity.”

But lately he’s pointed out my attitude has taken a downturn. “When did you become so negative?” he has asked me more than once. I couldn’t point to any particular event.

The truth is, life is hard. It beats you down, wears you out, disappoints you and kicks optimism to the curb. Weariness builds upon weariness until cynicism and negativity become our go-to coping mechanisms.

Time for a Reset

So here we are at the kickoff of the Lenten season, when I needed an excuse for an attitude reset. When I prayed the Lord would show me something I needed to give up for Lent, I immediately—and I mean immediately—heard that small and still voice say, “Negativity.”

Not meals or chocolate or binging TV series or reading thrillers. God’s concern for me goes deeper than that. He wants me to fix my eyes on the living hope this season represents. He wants me to take my every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. He wants my joy to be full in Him. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.—Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

When I’m spewing negativity, I’m focusing on what could be—disappointment and failure—and not things that are and will be, such as God’s constant help and presence and the victory I have in Him. I’m caught up in my own pity party to which no one else is invited. And the problem is rooted in my heart, because out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

Down with Defeat and Disappointment

Negativity puts me in league with my accuser, who wants me to doubt and drift and be a Debbie Downer in the lives of people God has appointed me to build up. 

Nope. Done with that. I will not permit pain to be the lens through which I see my life. I will not allow defeat and disappointment to define me. I am a daughter of the King of Kings, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Of His love and faithfulness, I can be positive.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:31-32; 37-39 (NIV)