positively not

Today was convacation, which is esentially a big teacher pep rally. The district paid big money for a big name speaker ( Jon Gorden - The Energy Bus).
And he was fine.
Well dressed, had lots of funny stories, name dropped, tossed in plenty of quotes, clever andecdotes and cliches to keep us entertained and possibly inspired.
His message fell a little flat with me. He talked a lot about "staying positive, good energy, work hard, don't ever give up" type stuff.
Emphasis on the positive energy talk. And truth be told, we teachers need it. Staff developments tend to lead to an abundance of texting, yawning and grumbling amungst the staff. There is lots and lots of complaining.
Negativity is draining and exhausting, but.......I'm not so sure that "staying positive" is the easy catch all solution my speaker would like to make it out to be.

You see, I don't Jesus ever told his disciples to just stay positive. To look on the sunny side or find the silver lining. He didn't placate or pretend.
I read recently that "positive thinking" is just another word for faith.
I strongly disagree.
Staying positive is good. I'd rather be around someone who is going to make an effort and point out good things rather than tear down or complain.
But it isn't the same as faith, at least not a faith in anything other than self.
Positive thinking is defined as a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. Google power of positive thinking and you will find lots of stuff like this:
"A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds."
My faith in God calls me to believe not in specific situations or daily outcomes, but in the ultimate goodness of God.

The goodness of God and my own personal happiness, health and success aren't necessarily the same thing. I'm not saying God doesn't want me happy or healthy. I'm sure He wants good things for me, but most of all He wants me to rely on Him....and well to be honest I tend to do that the least when everything is going along super great.

I can't find too many examples of Jesus being Mr. Positive Energy Man. When he approached the woman at the well (John 4), he didn't try to butter her up with compliments or a list of her better attributes. He faced her with love and compassion and had her take an honest look at her actions. He never asked anyone to just get a better atitude or outlook on life. He asked for things that were much harder. Honesty, humility, and relationship. He didn't promise his followers promotions, or good health, or carefree happy days. He never told the disciples that if they could just be more positive that he could skip the whole cross thing.

Don't get me wrong. I am not endorsing a negative atitude. Nor do I think the Bible does either. (plenty of verses on controlling the tongue and renewing our minds), but I don't think there is a whole lot of power to positive thinking. That power has always come from a much greater source.

You see I don't really think Jesus cares if your glass was half full, or half empty. He just wants us to drink. (John 9:9-14).


Sarah said...

Right on the money, friend! And a great closing line, too. Awesome and thought-provoking, as usual.