What a Cynical little Toad!

Cynicism at it’s root is a refusal to believe that God is in control and God is good. Cynicism is interpreting the world and God based on hurt you’ve experienced and the wounds that still lie gaping open. It forces you to look horizontally at people rather than vertically to God. Cynicism erodes our ability to see God rightly.

Jennie Allen

At my core I am not cynical, I really do try and give people the benefit of the doubt and I trust that they are really trying to be good people, and for the most part I get it right. So when I don’t it is really a hard drink to swallow because I have to step back and evaluate why I was critical at that moment or with that person. This is when I become self critical and start to list all the faults and failures I have. We are our own worst critics for sure. This is not where we should let our thoughts go though. When we are cynical we tend to do the following:

  • Wonder why someone is doing something nice for us and if they have a motive for doing it
  • We noticed peoples flaws and try and figure out why they have said flaws
  • We tend to be sarcastic
  • We really don’t trust someone we have just met
  • When things are going well, we automatically have the thought that things are going to turn out for the worst sometime real soon.
  • We tend to wonder why the people around us just can’t seem to get it together

How horrible to stay in a line of thought like this. Looking over this list just makes me want to cringe at the fact that I have had these thoughts more often than not, especially when I claim to give people the benefit of the doubt. Now I know that even the best “non-cynic” can have an off day since no one is perfect, and as the saying goes “you are what you eat” you also start doing what others around you are doing. If you allow what others say to get into your heart, that is exactly what will come off your tongue. In Proverbs 17:20 it says: He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, and he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil, and Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

This past week I found myself falling into the trap of being cynical. My family and I drove to the coast to camp with our extended family. Three campsites full of kids mixed with occasional adults. It was such a great week of being around the cousins, going to the beach and the lake, having campfires and s’mores, you get the idea. Early in the week it was noticed that one of that campsites didn’t have their camper hooked up correctly, a little statement was made. Then there was a child that wasn’t being disciplined well, so another little statement was made. Throughout the week these little statements were just made out of the blue and nonchalantly to the point that I started to realize I was making a lot of these statements and when I wasn’t saying them out loud I was thinking them. I then realized I wasn’t happy during the times I was saying or thinking these thoughts and so I knew I had to stop. Here is what I did:

  • I asked if Tim (my hubby) wanted to go on a walk with me. We hooked up the dog and went for a walk. I realized that I hadn’t had the chance to do anything with Tim since we got to camping and I really needed time with him
  • I went on a bike ride with my son. He really wanted to show me his super secret mystery way of getting around the campsites without using the 3 different loops.
  • I played a game of cornhole with my daughter, her friend and my mother-in-law. We laughed at each others horrible aim, praised grandma all the many times she got the corn bag in the hole, and got competitive with each other making the game more fun
  • I took a drive with my best friend and talked with her, she is simply amazing at putting things in perspective and seeing the beauty in everything
  • Lastly, I took morning walks with my dog Jorj to “the bench”. This was just a short 2.25 mile hike to a bench that over looked the lake. I would get to the bench and just sit. The last day there a bald eagle flew straight at me and veered upwards just a little in front of where the bench was.

What a way to reset and restart my heart and my thoughts. In Jennie’s book Get out of your Head she says this:

Beauty interrupts us, it awakens us, it undoes us, it cuts us open, and restarts our hearts. Beauty is God’s evidence of something far more wonderful coming, a world beyond the one we can imagine, even in the most spectacular moments here. A God better than what we hope for. A God who blows our minds.

She then says:

Beauty is evidence of something beyond ourselves. Beauty is evidence of a world yet to come. Beauty is evidence of a Creator who is loving and profoundly delightful. Beauty floods in and interrupts when, instead of cynicism, we choose trust.

Both seeing the beauty around you and through people cannot happen at the same time as being cynical. It’s like trying to worry and worship at the same time. You just can’t do it. Plus why would you want to. Walk away from situations that seem to be going down the cynical path and put yourself in a place of change where you choose to see the good and believe that things will work out, and that people are good. Choose to see the beauty and the good in situations and if you find that you can’t stop your thoughts then pray, and ask God to show you His beauty, and to show you how He sees you and those around you. Trust me it will be an eye opener. Until next time:

When we are in awe of something, we become less self-centered, more others-centered, and more connected to others around us.

Michiel van Elk

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