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I remember when I was in high school, there was a girl in our class who was just never pacified. It didn’t matter what she had bought, where she had been, who she was dating…she was just miserable. She complained about something every. single. day. Needless to say, she had very few friends, and no one really liked to be around her.
In college, there was a girl in a rival sorority who was just all around negative. It didn’t matter what anyone did, what anyone said, what someone had accomplished, she was going to have something bad or unpleasant or indifferent to say about it. (I only know this, because she was friends with one of my sorority sisters, and we hung out on occasion.)
You remember hearing the phrase growing up that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch? It isn’t just in reference to trouble makers and reputation. One person’s bad attitude and outlook on life can spoil your happiness, your success and your future.
The truth is, that your personal well-being (both mentally and emotionally) is highly dependent on the outlook those who surround you have on life.
Have you ever been really excited about something, and wanted to share it with someone…only to have that someone that you shared it with give you a blank stare or a shrug of indifference? That kind of negativity can wear on your dreams and your goals. Think about it…if you shared every piece of exciting news with someone, only to have them act like it wasn’t a big deal or that it didn’t matter, eventually you would start to feel like it didn’t matter and that it wasn’t a big deal.
It’s kind of like peer-pressure. Remember being asked to drink, or do drugs, or have sex in high school? Because that’s what everyone was doing? Life outlook is similar. It’s contagious. When you surround yourself with people who don’t have ambition, or drive, or determination, or who are always miserable and complaining about something, pretty soon you’ll find yourself in the same situation.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that sometimes we have to cut people out of our lives, in order to move forward and embrace the role that God has called us to play in life.
I’d never really read the full story of Abraham in the bible (and I won’t share it all with you now, but I encourage you to read it when you get a chance), but during a [surprise, surprise] Joyce Meyer sermon a few weeks ago, she was talking about how the plan that God had for Abraham was not initially FOR him. The plan was originally for Abraham’s (back then, he was known as Abram) father.
In Genesis 11:31, it says that “Terah took his son Abram (and a whole bunch of other family members)…and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. BUT when they came to Haran, they settled there.”
Take notice of the bold print words in that passage…But. They. Settled. God initially called Abraham’s father to go into the land of Canaan, but instead of continuing on, and doing God’s will, they stopped. They gave up on God’s will, got lazy and just quit. If you know any of the back-story to this passage, you know that Abram’s father and mother were whiney and full of negativity and doubt. They were lazy. They didn’t go after God’s will, and they complained a lot.
The story continues on and Abraham ends up going into Canaan on his own. Without his father and mother. God told him him Genesis 12:1 to “leave his father’s household” and go into the land that he would show him. If Abraham hadn’t left his father and mother, their attitude of laziness and negativity would have most likely rubbed off on him. He might not have left Haran…he might have just sat there for the rest of his life; influenced by the pessimism of those around him and never knowing the greatness of what God had called him to.
Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we have to sever the ties with people in our lives. We have to let go. We have to accept and acknowledge that some people, even people we love and care about, just aren’t good for us.
Life is too short. And living a life surrounded by people who do nothing more than drag you down, is a waste of your own precious time. People who can’t see the beauty in the life that we’ve been given, damper our own spirits and leave us feeling miserable and incomplete.
Misery loves company.
Are there people in your life who drag you down with their gloomy outlook and
less-than-sunny disposition? Do you need to limit your time with them?
Have you ever been one of those people?
How did you pull yourself out of it?
I’m including this post as part of the Project 16:9 series, but don’t have any follow-up questions or assignments for you guys right now. The questions listed above can be discussed in your personal journal or in the comments.
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