Monday, April 14, 2014

An Upper

There are two kinds of people in this world. Type one: the downer. Type two: the upper.
The difference is as stark and as straightforward as that. Every person has either an up or down effect on the people they encounter.
This may seem too simplistic. Aren't some people neither uppers or downers? Don't some people just seem to fall into a middle ground of neutrality? I might have once had the same doubts and questions about this theory of the human personality. But that is no longer the case. I have come to truly believe that every person exudes an aura of either positivity or negativity. This, in turn, spills over into every relationship that person has. Those who exude positivity tend to pull people up while those that are plagued with a negative outlook can't help but share that in their everyday conversations and encounters.
Of course this is all a theory of my own design but it does seem to be quite accurate. Even the quietest of friends has either a positive or negative outlook on life. The most gregarious and the shiest all have an up or down effect on the lives of those around them. Maybe a study could be done that rates the positivity or negativity of thoughts in a person's mind. The people who scored a higher positive thought quotient would be deemed the uppers while the more negative thinkers would fall into the category of downers.
I would like to argue that there doesn't need to be a scientific study to prove my point. All it takes is one look around at the faces of friends, family members and, most importantly, the face in the mirror to make my point crystal clear and close enough to fact (in my humble opinion).
By thinking over the array of people I know and the countless people I encounter on a day to day basis, I am struck by the ease at which I can name a downer versus an upper. The spirit each gives is undeniable. The uppers tend to smile more. The uppers in my life usually have a kind word to say or at least a welcoming, "It's so nice to see you!" Even if the conversation doesn't go very far, the uppers in my life leave me feeling a little lighter and just plain happier.
On the other hand, downers bring with them a shadow to the room. Even if they don't say much, their mood is usually worn with a frown or blank stare. When they do make a point it often doesn't involve humor, kindness and certainly not lightness. There is an edge to the downer. There is a lack of ease and serenity.
Of course, there is only one thought that comes to mind when I think over this budding theory: which one am I? Am I an upper or am I a downer? Do I carry with me a spirit of positivity or am I known for my negativity?
There are plenty of circumstances that I can recount where I would label myself a downer. I've carried with me a spirit that isn't peaceful and jubilant. I haven't always worn a smile and I haven't always been quick to compliment or give a kind word. Sometimes I've been the first to point out the negative. At other times I've withheld pointing out the positive.
Am I stuck as a downer for life? Is there any hope for the person who doesn't naturally wear a big wide smile and sunny disposition?
Beloved, there is hope and it is found in the salvation of Jesus Christ. There is hope for the downer and negative thinker. Jesus can give new life to even the most downcast of spirits. Through the rebirth of salvation you and I can become joyful, peaceful, uppers who exude love and positivity. This transformation can't be done by our own power. It is only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the human heart can be made new.
Thankfully, Jesus stands ready and waiting to come into your heart and mine so that He can start His work of turning us from downers to uppers, sinners to the saved, negative Nancy's to positive Patsy's (if you will). Through Christ the redeemed can put away the spirit of the downer and be given a spirit that is overflowing with all that is beautiful and bright.
Philippians 4:8 says, "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." When Jesus Christ dwells in us and lives through us we will be filled with these lovely, pure, right honorable and true things that are worthy of praise and are perpetual uppers. Jesus will give us this spirit when we ask.
There is no question about it, I want to be an upper. I want to walk into a room and bring with me a light of positivity. But not just positivity that I can muster up in that moment on my own steam. I want to bring with me the joyful and hopeful spirit of Jesus Christ. I want His spirit to be so alive in me that it lifts up my spirit to new heights that I could never reach, maybe even heights that I didn't know existed!
Jesus can make me the upper of all uppers. He can wipe away any ounce of negativity I've been holding onto in my heart and replace it with the positive outlook that comes from having an unshakable hope in the Lord. That is the upper I want to be. An upper by the power and indwelling of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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