Have you read the post I’ve linked to over on the sidebar, On Cheerfulness? Well, please do — it’s well worth reading [and ht: Mom] — and then come right back over here. I have thoughts.
I loved that post. That idea that cheerfulness is old-fashioned, and simply the sign of someone being fake — how prevalent is that? Having come of age in a Nirvana-steeped generation, I quickly became aware of the fact that real people only expressed “angst” (and how overplayed a word is that?). “Being real” was highly valued. Being able to clearly communicate your frustration with life was the key to being cool. Hating yourself, complaining about every situation, as well as, of course, sticking it to the Man — all hallmarks of the kid who was truly in touch with themselves.
How many times did my attempt at being positive get met with scoffs, rolled eyes, and a “stop being so fake”? Not too many times, I’m sure, before I started to keep such thoughts to myself — and started to think maybe that really was just fake. Unfounded optimism. Delusional idealism. Maybe I was lying to myself, lying to the world, lying even to God. After all, the freedom to be real was the most important proof that you had a genuine relationship with God, right?
But that just never totally sat right with me. And I realized two things.
First, venting about every inconvenience, using course language because that’s how you feel inside, and denouncing everyone as an idiot is not being real; it’s being base. It’s giving into the lowest impulse of human nature.
Second, those lowest impulses are not the only real things that I experience. In fact, none of the things I process from my finite, human perspective are the entire reality. There are two realities constantly occurring. The principle of my outward man decaying while my inner man grows stronger sheds some light on the subject. Throw a little already-not-yet in the mix, and you have a very good argument for why a faith-filled, thankful response to life is Real. Just because I choose to focus my response on the greater Reality of the Kingdom, rather than the base reality of my carnal, still-being-sanctified flesh, doesn’t make me fake.
Uncool, maybe, but not fake.
I am challenged again to take the path of courage, patience, and good conscience, and live in the light of His glorious Kingdom.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. [— philippians 4:8]
I struggle with that mindset myself, as I am very pessimistic and critical. I often have mental “battles” where 1/2 of me thinks I should be cheerful and 1/2 of me thinks that it would be disingenuine. (is that a word? well, you know what I mean.)
This is good to ponder.
The fruit of the Spirit exhibited in my life is far more Real than any temporary level of “reality” that I may be facing.
I see you as one who always does take the path of courage and patience…
Thanks for passing on all of these gems…
I loved the blog – both yours and the other on cheerfulness. I’ve been meaning to leave Brietta a comment… now it was days ago (maybe weeks?) on her blog on giving thanks and this brings it back to mind for me…
a mentor of mine, and dear friend at that, shared with me something life transforming :
a gratitude journal. It’s a journal, separate from any others you may keep. Every morning, as soon as you are able, first thing preferably, grab your gratitude journal and jot down something you are thankful for. No writing anything else – save those thoughts for other journals or blogs. This is explicitly for giving thanks.
Talk about changing your day! Cheerfulness and optimism is almost impossible to resist. It seems that the floodgates of joy burst open when your day is new, fresh, and you are thankful. No matter how big or small the thanks is.. a sentence, or 10 pages… it becomes a lifestyle. And it becomes real, I mean really real.