You Don’t Need That Kind of Negativity

negativity

Have you seen all those memes about removing negativity and negative people from your life?

Here are a few them.

If anyone ever tells you that you drink too much coffee, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If anyone tells you that you put too much parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If anyone tells you that you have too many cats, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

If Bohemian Rhapsody starts playing and the person you’re with doesn’t start singing along, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

They’re only meant to be a bit of fun but they do raise the question, should we make sure people around us only provide endless positivity?

There’s a guy in the Old Testament of the Bible named Micaiah who dares to stand up to the kings of two nations and say something that doesn’t really ooze positivity.

The king of Israel calls 400 prophets to ask, “Should we go to war or should hold back?”

So these ‘prophets’ are kind of like his government advisers.

They all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! God will give the king victory.”

Then another king named Jehoshaphat jumps in and says, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.”

The king of Israel says, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

Jehoshaphat replies, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.”

So the king calls for Micaiah.

Did you notice what the king of Israel said? “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me!” Talk about shooting the messenger. He hates Micaiah because he doesn’t stroke the king’s ego by telling him what he wants to hear.

How often do we only allow ourselves to be surrounded by those who agree with us?

How often have we dismissed those who bring us the truth, as difficult as it may be sometimes? Do we seek out people who have permission to challenge us or only those who will say what we like hearing?

After a bit of banter between Micaiah and the kings, Micaiah tells them the news they don’t want to hear. He tells them that God doesn’t want them to go to war. The king of Israel then sends Micaiah off to prison with orders that he be put on strict rations of bread and water.

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they go to war and it all ends in tears. And by tears I mean death. Not being willing to take notice of what he didn’t want to hear caused the king’s demise.

The 400 prophets said what the king wanted to hear, but it certainly didn’t benefit him. In the end, the fact that they wanted to please the king and weren’t prepared to stand on the side of right made them complicit in his death.

There certainly are times that we need some distance from negative people but there are also times we need to distance ourselves from those who ooze positivity when it’s not warranted.

Are we allowing ourselves to be challenged by things we don’t necessarily want to hear? Have we discovered how to discern the difference between negativity and people who love us enough to speak the truth?

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I Want to Be Alone

I Want to be Alone

How do you recharge? Does spending time with friends top up your batteries or do you like to withdraw?

There’s been a lot written about introverts needing to be alone to recharge and extroverts needing social interaction but I’m not sure it’s as simple as that. At least, it’s not that simple for me. Anyone who thinks that all humans can be neatly divided into two groups of any kind needs to get out more and meet some real people. Of course some will enjoy the experience of meeting real people more exhilarating than others.

I’m a bit of a peculiar mix in that while I am very much an introvert, I value being with others and socialising. I am very much at home speaking to large groups of people while at the same time I’m very happy just to be left alone. Large social gatherings can be fun for me but at other times I feel socially awkward and walking into a crowded place on my own almost always freaks me out. I can do it, but it’s freaky.

Despite what you might think, introverts don’t hate people or even being with people. (Well, maybe some do, but that’s a whole other issue.) It’s more that we have to ration ourselves socially so that we don’t become overwhelmed and drained.

I need time with others, especially with small groups of friends. I need time just with my family. I need time just with my wife. I need time just with God. I need time alone.

I sit here by myself
And you know I love it
You know I don’t want someone
To come pay a visit
I wanna be by myself
I came in this world alone
Me myself I

Joan Armatrading

Are you comfortable with your own company? How do you recharge? Does an extended time on your own refresh you or terrify you?

Are you an extrovert who believes that the ultimate torture would be to on your own for an extended period?

I’d really enjoy reading your comments and would love to know how you refresh and recharge.

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Soundtrack of my Life – Hey Laura

Soundtrack of my LifeThis is one of a regular series of articles highlighting some of the music that has played a part in my life.

You’ll find a range of songs from old to new. You’ll probably find music that has been part of the soundtrack of your life too.

You can also check out some of the other songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.

Hey Laura – Gregory Porter

Hey Laura comes from Gregory Porter’s 2013 album Liquid Spirit. It’s my firm belief that friends don’t let friends go through life without hearing Gregory Porter music. I first discovered him early last year and instantly needed to get my hands on more of his music. How did it take so long for me to hear something from him? Why didn’t anybody tell me? His voice is so incredibly smooth.

Gregory Porter was born in Sacramento and was raised in Bakersfield, California, where his mother was a minister. A 1989 graduate of Highland High School, he received a full-ride athletic scholarship to San Diego State University (SDSU Aztecs). A shoulder injury during his junior year of high school restricted his football career.

Porter moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn in 2004, along with his brother Lloyd. He worked as a chef at Lloyd’s restaurant Bread-Stuy (now defunct), where he also performed. Porter performed at other neighborhood venues including Sista’s Place and Solomon’s Porch, and moved on to Harlem club St. Nick’s Pub, where he maintained a weekly residency. Out of this residency evolved what would become Porter’s touring band.

Porter released two albums on the Motéma label, 2010’s Water and 2012’s Be Good, before signing with Blue Note Records (under Universal Music Group) on May 17, 2013. His third album, Liquid Spirit, was released on September 2, 2013, in Europe and on September 17, 2013, in the US. The album was produced by Brian Bacchus. The album won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Liquid Spirit enjoyed commercial success rarely achieved by albums in the jazz genre, reaching the top 10 on the UK album charts. It was certified gold by the BPI, selling over 100,000 units in the UK. – Wiki

 


I’d encourage you to get involved too. Let me know about some of the songs that are etched in your mind. What are the tunes that bring back a flood of memories every time their opening notes start cranking out on your stereo? Are there songs you love for their music and others that speak deeply through their lyrics?

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Soundtrack of my Life – Empty Me Out

Soundtrack of my LifeThis is one of a regular series of articles highlighting some of the music that has played a part in my life.

You’ll find a range of songs from old to new. You’ll probably find music that has been part of the soundtrack of your life too.

You can also check out some of the other songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.

Empty Me Out – Liz Vice

One of the newer songs that has very quickly become part of the soundtrack of my life is Empty Me Out from Liz Vice. To tell the truth, her entire There’s a Light album is part of that soundtrack.

I discovered Liz’s music last year and have been enjoying it ever since. There’s an incredible freshness to her music but there are tracks, such as Empty Me Out, that would feel at home on a classic album from any great soul singer. You can listen to her album just for the outstanding music but then you’d be missing the amazing way she weaves her faith into her lyrics.

Gospel, Soul, and R&B-infused artist Liz Vice is from Portland, Oregon. The songs from the album feature dynamic, soulful vocals, with lyrics that are classically influenced enough to feel timeless and reference her deep-rooted spirituality.

Some music takes years to find it’s way to my heart and to truly become part of the soundtrack of my life. Empty Me Out and the other tracks on There’s a Light were added to that soundtrack almost immediately. I hope Liz Vice’s music becomes part of the soundtrack of your life too. It deserves its place in many lives.

I’d encourage you to get involved too. Let me know about some of the songs that are etched in your mind. What are the tunes that bring back a flood of memories every time their opening notes start cranking out on your stereo? Are there songs you love for their music and others that speak deeply through their lyrics?

Friends share .... so if you enjoyed reading "Soundtrack of my Life – Empty Me Out" please consider sharing the love by sharing the post using the buttons above. Thanks.

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Australia Day 2016

AustraliaDayLogo

Today we’re being urged to celebrate what’s great about our country. One of the things that’s great is that we get a bunch of days off for various reasons throughout the year. Australia Day is no exception.

We celebrate Australia Day on the 26th of January each year because it was that day in 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor. The first official celebrations were held in 1818 to mark the 30th anniversary of white settlement.

The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on 26 January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date.

If you want to find out more about Australia Day you can go to the official website here.

The day is marked with a public holiday and some large scale celebrations across our big country but not everyone will be celebrating today. For some, this is not ‘Australia Day’, it is ‘Survival Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’.

It’s good to see that the National Australia Day Council is acknowledging the pain that the day brings for sections of our population. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the 26th of January marks the day that white settlers stole their land and in many cases tried to wipe them out.

On Australia Day we recognise the unique status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The National Australia Day Council (NADC) is committed to playing a part in the journey of Reconciliation by helping all Australians to move forward with a better understanding of our shared past, and importantly how this affects the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today and how we might build a better future together.

The NADC’s approach to Reconciliation is one of leadership. We recognise that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and some non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians may have mixed feelings about celebrating this day. January 26 has multiple meanings: it is Australia Day and it is also, for some, Survival Day or Invasion Day. The NADC acknowledges that the date brings a mixture of celebration and mourning and we believe that the programs presented by the NADC should play a powerful and positive role in advancing Reconciliation. – Australia Day – Reconciliation

So how do we create a day that everyone can feel includes them? Are there simply too many points of view to ever hope for a unified celebration? How do we ensure that we’re actually deeply engaging with other points of view rather than being dismissive or simply paying lip service?

If you honestly want to hear the heart of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples it’s worth taking the time to watch an eight and a half minute video that has gone viral in recent days. It features journalist Stan Grant in an off-the-cuff speech during a debate on racism last October. I think we’d all do well to hear Stan and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders not as those trying to spoil our Australia Day party but as those with some relevant things to say that we need to consider.

So can we mourn and celebrate on the one day? I know that I do just that every Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas Day. I celebrate the occasion but mourn those who are no longer around to share those days with me. How much more should we mourn on this day when we consider the long history of the way we have treated our nations’s first people? And don’t try to tell me it’s all in the past. There is still deep racism in our nation which needs to be recognised and healed.

Murray Campbell is a Baptist Minister from Melbourne. Yesterday he wrote about the need to go beyond recognition of the issues to respond appropriately.

We cannot live in the past, but living in the present can remain most hard when our history remains unresolved. To this, I am looking forward to the Day when God will put away forever all that is wrong and evil, but in the present we remain responsible for our words and actions, and to ignore the call for reconciliation when it is given us, is simply iniquitous.

At this time, let us re-issue calls to include in our national constitution a statement recognising the first Australians. Of course, the wording of such an inclusion is incredibly important, and so instead of deferring it because the task is complex, let’s move forward.

Also, January 26th is our national holiday, and on this day I will give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in our country. It does seem as though the date has evolved beyond the tall ships in Botany Bay, as it is now cherished by many thousands of immigrants who have no connection to 1788, but who have made their home here from all corners on the globe and who celebrate becoming citizens on this date. But I am still conscious of the fact that for many Aboriginal people, ‘Australia Day’ is not so celebratory.

Are we so tied to this date that we cannot move to another? – Murray Campbell

I want to celebrate what’s great about Australia today, and the list is almost endless. We live in a magnificent land that is justifiably the envy of most others around our globe. But I’ll be mixing those celebrations with mourning for what has been taken from so many for so long. As a white Australian I can never know the full depth of the pain that others know but I hope and I pray that we can move forward as a nation and make right what is wrong.

I’d really appreciate your thoughts and comments.

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