List Limitations

DefeatI love lists.

Love, love, love them. I do have some digital lists, but many are still the old fashioned paper-and-pen variety. They decorate my kitchen counter and cupboards, my dashboard, and my desk. (Can I call this a decorating scheme?) I’ll buy cute pads of paper and always try to have an array of pens to choose from.

Today I felt defeated as I perused my list. I even wrote a new one to clean it up and make it all pretty-like. (Didn’t help.) It was overwhelming to see how much must be accomplished in the next 48 hours… on a weekend, no less. My reason for writing lists isn’t even all that cheerful: I know I can’t remember what needs doing!  Read more

No need to read between the lines

Between the LinesSometimes it’s just there in black and white.

As part of a leadership exercise, I recently took the Strengths Finder assessment to determine my top five strength themes. While no inventory can adequately categorize a person (because God made us as unique individuals), it always fascinates me to see what a researcher will identify about me from my answers to a series of questions. And often how accurately.

My results from Strengths Finder (SF) were no different. I actually giggled aloud at some of the statements in the synopses. And how readily they pertain to my pessimism. Check it out:  Read more

Lovely /ˈləvlē/

Lovely 2I confess I find this word in Paul’s list to be the least connected to all the others in Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (ASV, emphasis added)

Not that I don’t like lovely, mind you. I sure do. It’s just that when I hear the word, I always think of something pretty, or aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Occasionally, I hear it used to describe a particularly charming or kind woman, as well. And my definition isn’t too far off of Merriam-Webster’sRead more

In the silence

SilenceNo news is bad news in my little world.

I found (yet) another place where my pessimism reigns: communication. Specifically, the lack thereof. To me, the absence of information can only be interpreted negatively. Though there are juvenile aspects to this tendency (likely the residue from middle school girls’  tactics of ignoring someone when mad), I recognize that a large portion of it is simply my bias:

  • If a lengthy period of time elapses between communication with a friend, I routinely begin to wonder whether something is amiss in our relationship.
  • When someone offers feedback on a portion of my work, but doesn’t mention another aspect, I assume they didn’t appreciate the part they chose not to discuss with me.
  • After posting a new blog, and receiving no comments from readers, I immediately believe the content didn’t resonate with anyone and therefore wasn’t valuable.  Read more

Sleeping on it

RestYesterday didn’t start all that well.

I was awake for hours in the dark of the night. I spent more of it awake than asleep. (I’d love to tell you that I did something constructive or spiritual. But I didn’t. I just got irritated.)

I was greeted with some difficult news as soon as I sat down at my desk. Given my lack of rest, it took more of an emotional toll than it normally would. I had a very negative reaction to it, even though I knew I would respond differently — less pessimistically — with more rest in my system.

My post yesterday was a somewhat sarcastic rendition of my day’s events: the truth that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), but that I’d have to wait almost 24 hours to get another fresh start. I have noticed, however, that almost everything does seem to look a little brighter at the dawn of a new day. I subscribe to the notion that we should “sleep” on whatever is bothering us for a night.  Read more

Just /jəst/

JustWith so much injustice happening the world-over, how are we to ‘think on’ things that are just?

It’s a four-letter word we use as an adjective, usually to to describe that something is “fitting” or “appropriate.” Some Bible translations render today’s word as “right” or “fair.” Paul urges his hearers to think on things that are just, as a way to guard their minds from anxiety and fear. In Biblical terms, “just” means  Read more

Guarded

EnjoytherideIt was almost comedic. Our outlook biases are so mismatched.

There we sat in her living room. Stacks of paper sequestered neatly in manilla folders, alongside a laptop and coffee mugs. We met to discuss the Bible study we’ve written and our next steps with it. (I’ll tell you more about the study another time, I promise.)

After plotting a loose project map and timeline, our dialog turned to what might come of this study… how God could use it to reach into hearts of women. I wish you could have heard it. Listen in on some clips of our conversation:  Read more

Rooting for good

Finding the goodSometimes the doctor’s call isn’t good news.

I can’t imagine physicians like calling their patients with life-changing diagnoses. A woman I know got such a call yesterday. Cancer. Breast cancer. When I spoke with her today, she shared her news with me very candidly. As I listened and mentally noted what her next steps were, my subconscious began to process what it would be like to receive such news… partly because I just had my annual mammogram on Monday of this week. I have no reason for concern. (But then there’s never reason for concern… until there’s concern. See, I told you I’m a pessimist!)  Read more

Pollyannaism

PollyannaI didn’t even know this was a thing. Until today.

I started some mental meandering on who the most classic optimist is/was. Pollyanna (from the 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter) is the archetype. But I had no idea that there is a whole “principle” bearing this character’s name. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Pollyanna Principle (courtesy of the all-knowing Wikipedia):  Read more