Ever since my conversation with Diana last week, I’ve been working on re-framing my thinking to be more positive. I want to “not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of [my] mind” (Rom. 12:2) and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). I want to “beat my body and make it my slave” (1 Cor. 9:27), exercising discipline and self-control over my thoughts so that I am not ruled by my emotions. It’s ironically discipline that often results in freedom.
I’ve even come up with my own acronym (and you know it’s getting serious when acronyms get involved)! The acronym I am starting to speak over myself is SLR. I’m a camera girl, so to me, this has traditionally meant Single-Lens Reflex, but I’ve rebranded it in my brain to mean: Stop. Laugh. Roll it off.
Every time something happens that causes me to begin feeling upset (or mad or frustrated or frazzled or anxious or stressed – so, basically, everything), I want to SLR: Stop, Laugh and let it Roll off my shoulders. I started implementing SLR last week and, naturally, as soon as I decided to not let things bother me, it feels like everything has been going wrong. The instant I decided to actively exercise discipline over my thoughts in an effort to moderate negative emotions, life went haywire.
On day one of Operation SLR, a maintenance crew came to do work on my apartment. But in the process of window repair, they moved my heavy queen-sized bed, making it off-center from the paintings I had just nailed into the wall the day prior. Upon arriving home from work, I also discovered that one corner of the bed frame had been placed on top of my pajamas when the maintenance crew moved the bed.
I tried rescuing my pajama pants on my own – and then tried moving the bed on my own – all to no avail. I started to get really irritated (why can’t anyone ever just do their job right?!) when I remembered to SLR: Stop, Laugh, and Roll it off. I took a deep breath and called my apartment office. The maintenance crew was back within the hour to right the situation. It was a non-event. And I was glad I didn’t allow myself to get more worked up about it.
On days two through five of Operation SLR, I missed the mascara tube with the wand, getting black goop all over my left hand while running late for work; felt isolated, ignored and rejected at a social event; had another driver try changing lanes into my car on the freeway again; experienced double standards in the workplace and had my song suggestion shot down at choir rehearsal. Each time, I had to ask myself, “Is your frustration helping or hurting the situation?”
Diana made the comment to me that a difference between her mindset and mine is that I tend to think, “Why does everything happen to me?” But, according to Diana, “All of those things happen to me, too. I just choose not to focus on them.” So, in addition to SLR, I started trying to pick out the positive events in my week: a man helped me carry heavy boxes of donations to a shelter; I was selected for a solo in choir; I made a new friend at church and an acquaintance took the time to teach me a new software program.
On Sunday, rounding out the end of my first week implementing the power of positive thinking, I was determined to finish strong. So, of course, when I backed out of my parking spot on the way to church, the re-bar protruding from a parking block caught under my front bumper and pulled it off. I just sighed, got out of my car, and walked around front to examine the damage.
It’s going to cost between $700 and $1200 to repair my brand new car, and my insurance agent said that my premium may go up since “you are responsible for not having a collision with a stationary object.” Right. Because the protruding re-bar was totally my fault. Thanks a lot, insurance guy.
I got through Sunday by looking forward to a dinner I’d planned for Wednesday night. A fancy restaurant in town is offering a discounted menu for charity, and I made a reservation for six with a group from church – a group that includes Bo, much to the delight of my giddy inner girly girl with a mega crush on this dreamboat of a man.
But on Monday morning, I was awoken by an early morning text message from Bo: “Hey… sorry to have to bail on you for dinner… but I just realized it’s on Wednesday night… and I have a standing date that night for accountability/discipleship with my roommate. Have fun and eat an undercooked steak for me!”
I definitely Stopped in my tracks. And might have Laughed a low, embittered grunt. And then I Rolled over and pulled the covers back over my head.
Being positive is overrated.