6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Could your nickname be ‘Eeyore’? Are you known as ‘Negative Nellie’ or, ‘Gloomy Gus’? Being a negative person and being a Christian is not a workable combination. Let’s see what we can do about that.


INTRODUCTION: "Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning; which I doubt." "Why, what's the matter?" "Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it." "Can't all what?" said Pooh. "Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush." Basically, Eeyore’s stance was it wasn’t a good morning but for no particular reason. And his excuse for his gloom? Well, everyone can’t be in a good mood. Could your nickname be ‘Eeyore’? Are you known as ‘Negative Nellie’ or, ‘Gloomy Gus’? Being a negative person and being a Christian is not a workable combination. Let’s see what we can do about that.

1) What’s going on in our negative minds?

• We’re thinking the worst. Eeyore, “There’s only one rain cloud in the entire sky and somehow I’m not surprised it’s raining on me.” Are you the type of person who is looking for or expecting the worst in every situation? Pessimistic is defined as, "a tendency to stress the negative, or unfavorable, or to take the gloomiest possible view." We can become so negative that we can even take a positive situation and turn it into a negative. Eeyore, “It works. I didn’t expect it to. “I know it’s going well now but I’m just waiting for the bottom to drop out’. We talk ourselves into misery, gloom and doom. We can’t enjoy the good things in life because we’re just waiting for them to turn sour. The joy of life gets stolen from us because we blot out the sun and place a dark cloud over everything. Basically, if we want to bad enough, we can find something negative about anything. The pessimist says, “My cup runneth over; what a mess!”

• We turn being negative into a positive thing. Eeyore, “I never get my hopes up so I never get let down.” In our Eeyore syndrome, we get to the point where we’ll justify our negative attitude. “But it’s good to be this way. That way I don’t get my hopes up. This way I won’t be so disappointed when something bad happens.” We think it’s just wise self-protection to think this way but actually it’s just negativity disguised as wisdom. It’s a defense mechanism. Chances are we’ve been hurt so much in the past that we decide we’re not going to allow ourselves to be hurt again. So we develop this defense mechanism of never getting our hopes up; lest we fall hard and break-again. But no matter how we dress it up, it’s still negativity. And we don’t have to live this way-depriving ourselves of life’s joys.

• We use absolutes. Pooh: Have you ever had one of those days when you just can't win, Eeyore? Eeyore: Yup, I know how that feels. I could see Eeyore going on to say, “One of those days? That describes all of my days!” When bad things happen to you, do you use words like ‘always’ or ‘never’? Do you say things like “I can never win”, or, “This always happens to me”? Or what about words like ‘nothing’ or ‘everything’? “Nothing ever goes right for me”. “Everything’s a mess in my life”. Not that every use of absolute words are in a negative sense, but they often are. In this usage we see everything from a negative perspective. If we were to really step back we would see that it obviously wasn’t true. Even if we would intellectually acknowledge that, we would still need to take a look at why we tend to go to absolute statements when something bad happens. In the right frame of mind we would conclude that everything isn’t a mess yet when difficulties arise we see things in an absolutely negative way.

• What’s the use in trying? Eeyore: It's not much of a tail, but I'm sort of attached to it. Christopher Robin: There now. Did I get your tail back on properly, Eeyore? Eeyore: No matter. Most likely lose it again anyway. “I’ll try but it won’t do any good.” This is where we have developed a self-fulfilling prophecy about our lives. If I conclude that I’m going to fail chances are, I will. This is where the Eeyore syndrome has taken its toll and it has debilitated us to the point of giving up. This can happen in our relationship with God. We haven’t gotten what we want form God so we develop a pessimistic attitude about prayer. “I’ll try but it won’t do any good.” The pessimist says God won’t answer my prayer. This also transcends into living for Jesus. We get discouraged when we try to do the right thing but since we feel we’re failing miserably, we eventually say, “What’s the use in trying anymore? I give up.” Then, unfortunately, we develop a pessimistic attitude about ourselves. Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water. "Pathetic," he said. "That's what it is. Pathetic." We conclude, in our gloomy state, that we’re just pitiful beings who will never get it right. What’s the use in trying anymore?

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