Find a Lift for Your Day--and Your Heart--Here

If you're like me, you long to hear someone in the media look on the bright side of life.  

You know, spend more time on what is good and right and true, if just for the novelty effect.

Since that seems unlikely, let's help ourselves. It's still good advice to once in awhile stop and take a slow, deep breath, then exhale. Do it again. Feel your shoulders drop and your spirit rise? Good. 

Now take another deep breath and thank God for something or someone in your life that gives you joy. From now on, keep your mind tuned to what is right in your life, rather than what's wrong.

Past generations managed to get through hard times, whether national or personal--without falling apart, even when life was hard. How? Part of the credit goes to entertainers of the time. They kept everyone's morale up. 

Here's one example from 1944, when it seemed World War II would never end

Bing Crosby croons a song that caught on instantly--and still carries a useful message for us today.     

Johnny Mercer wrote "Accentuate the Positive" in 1944, when Americans were bone-weary of World War II. With its upbeat rhythms and happy lyrics, this tune quickly proved to be a morale-booster.

The song's instructions lay down a good track to follow  

  • Accentuate the positive
  • Eliminate the negative
  • Latch on to the affirmative
  • Spread joy up to the maximum
  • Bring gloom down to the minimum

Perhaps this sounds like too much. Besides, where are we supposed to find the energy? 

I've only found one Source that never lets me down and that's God. He won't let you down, either.

The One who knows us best and even numbers the hairs on our heads is always there, waiting for us to turn to Him and ask for what we need.

How would "accentuate the positive" play out in everyday life?

Here are some starters:

Give up keeping track of what's missing in your husband or wife, or your children or employer. (Or anyone else, for that matter.) Instead, look for what is worthwhile in them and what they do right, then talk about that.

Let go of nagging kids over poor grades or annoying habits. Instead, point out to them their good temperament qualities--like kindness--and evidences of strong character, like follow-through and keeping promises.

Stop replaying how tight finances are and bemoaning all the restrictions and things you can't afford. Instead, remind yourself what you are able to do and thank God for that.  

At first it may seem no one notices, but don't quit. Little by little, your deliberate new outlook will catch on with the people in your life, especially your family. 

Think what a difference that could make inside your own four walls.

Always, we decide what we will emphasize

"Accentuate the positive" means we focus on what's good and right and true in people and in our world. 

For example, if everyone depends on us and it weighs us down, how will we view it? We can call it a burden. Or we can regard it as the privilege it is.

Privilege? Yes, especially for parents. Moms and dads set the tone for their families. Children constantly listen and learn, wanting to know how they are to look at life and people. Happy parents make for happy kids who feel confident about life--and themselves.

Wives and husbands probably won't label it as such, but each one supports their spouse emotionally, remembering it is who they are, not what they do. Every time they smile and hug--the more, the better--each one feels appreciated. Somehow that lessens the weight of worries and problems for each of them.  

Good friends can do that, too, because we are meant to encourage each other.

Even if we live alone, we set the tone for our lives. We can start our mornings by thanking God for another day. Or we can fixate on the constant news broadcasts and talk shows. When we choose the latter, it's easy to get caught up in thinking and talking about the evil in the world and in people.

As usual and as always, it's our choice.

Before that song came the Apostle Paul  

I have no proof, but it may seem logical to think Johnny Mercer took his inspiration from Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers--and sisters--whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Doesn't that sound a lot like "Accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative, Latch on to the affirmative"?

Doubts and fears still may surface now and then

I've found it helps to go back to God's promises, for example:

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.  Psalm 42:8  ESV

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.  Psalm 46:1-2 ESV

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.  --Psalm 4:8 ESV

Over the years I've learned I need to be watchful over my moods and to deliberately pick out what's good in life and to thank God for it. 

The ancient wisdom still holds: A thankful heart is good medicine.

Wishing you joy!


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