Generations of kids (and adults, I suspect) have loved the stories about Winnie the Pooh – the wonderfully silly old bear and all his friends in the 100 Acre Woods: kind if timid Piglet; wise Owl; irrepressible Tigger and the wonderfully woeful Eeyore.
I thought of Eeyore the other day when I came across a rather startling statistic. The typical person has upwards of 10 to 20 thousand thoughts a day… and 80% of them are negative.
80% of what we think is negative so there is a lot more Eeyore in us than we thought!
Since few of us want to live that way – and as people of faith we are called to live in a positive, trusting state – what do we do? Although I believe the real remedy to most of what ails our spirits is a life-long process of growth and change, one “trick” that I have tried is this: when a negative thought comes up – be aware of it, especially if it is negativity towards another person or a situation.
Then try to replace it with a neutral thought – a thought of gratitude for any blessing – a prayer for help with the negativity. We are not powerless over our thoughts, something the Apostle Paul was on to when he wrote,
If there is anything true, or honorable or just or pure or pleasing or commendable – if there is anything excellent and worthy of praise – think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Smiling optimism and trust may come more easily for those of us who are Tiggers by nature, but God’s power is there to lift any of us up to a place where it is easier to see and rejoice in the true, the honorable and the excellent.