Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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Dwelling On The Good

Posted by elainemcooper on June 22, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper


There went my fresh cup of steaming coffee all over my wall and wooden floor.

I had just sat down to work on my computer and definitely needed a pick-me-up. But setting the tall mug on the coaster nearby, I had misjudged the accuracy of my placement and java was flowing like molten lava, coating a large section of the painted wall and pooling on my oak floor slats. A huge mess!

Trying to remain calm, I hurried to the kitchen to grab paper towels and cleaning supplies. It took several minutes but soon the job was done. I reluctantly repeated my coffee-making routine, trying not to think about how behind I was on my work already.

But then I got to thinking about how relatively harmless the spill was. The flowing beverage had completely missed a camera sitting next to the coaster, had not splashed hot coffee onto my dog, and had completely missed anything of import.

It could have been so much worse. So I thought I’d make a list of all the positives:

1 – The dog was safe
2 – My computer was far enough away as to remain dry
3 – The camera that I was about to download received not a speck of splash
4 – My wall (which I discovered was very much in need of cleaning!) looks sparkling now
5 – The floor is much cleaner, as is the table that the coffee had spilled on.
6 – My body got some much-needed exercise
7 – The second cup of coffee wasn’t great—but it still perked up my brain.

I could probably come up with more positives, but seven seems like a good number. :-)

It seems so much more productive and peaceful to think about the good that happened, rather than the bad. I am not Pollyanna, always looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. But neither do I want to wear the dark glasses of gloom.

There is someone that I know who always dwells on the negatives in life. Anything in the news that is tragic is shared very dramatically in conversation, even if it’s the normal events of living in a fallen world. This person seems drawn to bad news, and appears to relish in sharing it with anyone who will listen.

I’ve made a decision in my life that I will not dwell on the negative. I have much to grieve about personally, but I do not wish to wallow in that darkness. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3: 4 there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (NIV)

There is always much to bemoan or otherwise be upset over. But lingering on the lousy or dwelling on disaster becomes a downward spiral that can lead to depression and other illnesses. I do not wish to go there.

So I will drink my less-than-delicious second cup of coffee, enjoy my newly cleaned wall and floor, and say, “Thank you Lord, for the blessings in my life.”

“Rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:4-8 NIV)

8 Responses to “Dwelling On The Good”

  1. Beautiful perspective, Elaine!

  2. Grace Winn said

    I needed this today. Thanks for sharing this. Sometimes we need a reminder!

  3. Jan said

    Exactly what I needed to hear this morning! Thank you!

  4. Hurrah, there’s another one of us! Actually, Pollyanna’s ever-glad outlook is scripturally sound. Personally, I found the negative focus to be both draining and aging.

    • It is both aging and draining. And yes, Pollyanna’a attitude of focusing on others’ needs and the beauty in life is Scriptural! I think that the overall attitude about Pollyanna in our culture is that she was living in a dream world—but she was not. She was consciously make a more positive choice, despite the sadnesses in her own. Thanks so much for commenting!

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