Dont let Debbie Downer get you down
There seems to be one in every crowd — the naysayer, the voice of doom, the predictor of bad tidings. Debbie Downer or Gloomy Gus is always the pessimist who sees the downside of everything — the glass that is always half empty. And she or he generally shares a depressed view of the world with everyone they meet.
Perhaps among the disciples of Jesus, the unbelieving Thomas would come under the same or at least a similar category. Skeptics seem to have little or no faith in what they haven’t seen or experienced. Their dark perspective would have us all believe the possible is impossible unless they are proven wrong. And even when proven wrong, they consider it a fluke, a stroke of good luck, a chance occurrence, an accident.
Of course, Thomas did eventually believe, and his faith was reassured. But his doubting brought a lesson from Jesus. Jesus said, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
Perhaps a lack of faith or not enough faith is the culprit that leads to pessimism. I’m no "Little Mary Sunshine," but I just can’t subscribe to Debbie Downer’s view on life. I have firsthand experience in how a simple change in my outlook and attitude changes my experience for better or for worse. And who wouldn’t want to do whatever it takes to have a better, happier, more satisfying life?
One problem I see with Debbie and Gus is that they are too opinionated. In fact, they are so consumed by their own opinions that their minds are completely closed to divine direction, inspiration and intervention — even when they say they have faith in God.
Remember the parable of the drowning man. It has a variety of versions, but one story says a man’s house is being immersed by a flood. Before the road is covered, someone in a jeep drives by and offers the man a ride. But the man refuses, saying he has faith that God will save him. As the waters continue to rise, another comes by in a boat and offers the man a ride. But again, the man refuses, saying he has faith that God will save him. Finally, while the man is standing on his rooftop, a helicopter arrives and the pilot offers the man a ride to safety. And yet again, the man refuses, expressing his faith in God. In heaven, the man asks God why He didn’t save him. And the Lord explains, "I sent you a jeep, a boat and a helicopter."
If this man had truly had faith in God, he would not have tried to interfere with, outline or limit how God’s purpose works out. He would have known that there are infinite resources and possibilities — that nothing is impossible or beyond reach. He would have accepted the jeep ride — without question, judgment or fear!
I’ve found having faith in God is easier when I begin with acknowledging that God is Love and good. I believe God’s plan for us is always good, and I’d rather trust in His wisdom than uncertain opinion or fearful odds. Don’t let a Debbie Dow-ner or Gloomy Gus diminish your hope or overshadow your confidence. Interrupt their pouting with some cheer, and perhaps you can give them some encouragement that brightens their spirits.
But what if you’ve been like the drowning man and refused the jeep and boat ride. Would you sit there, like I suspect Debbie or Gus would, on your rooftop with your head down on your knees — dismayed and depressed — condemning yourself for your mistakes, your lack of wisdom, your arrogance?
Since I’m quite certain that position will not save you, my friends, here’s a more certain plan of action. It’s not too late. Keep your chin up, your hope high, your view expectant. There will be a helicopter. Be ready to take it!
Annette Bridges is a freelance writer who lives on a north Texas ranch with her husband, John. Her columns are published weekly on United Press International’s ReligionAndSpirituality.com, Examiner.com and numerous other websites and newspapers. Visit her Web site and participate in her blog at www.annettebridges.com and send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.