Letting Go of a Critical Spirit

For some reason that I could not define, this past Sunday I tended to find fault with everything that happened at church. It is ironic, as I was the one who did the cheerful welcome and read the scripture and prayed for the Communion service, as well as leading the church in partaking of the body and blood of Christ. Yet, when I returned home and Douglas, who was very sick, asked me about the service, I found myself critical of everything and everybody, including the preaching, a situation that made me uncomfortable.

I have since Sunday wrestled with what I need to change in the way that I think or see life, for I seemed to have put all my energy into looking for something to complain about. It can be a circuitous, or tortuous, enterprise, attempting to understand why you are such a fussbucket.

Today, as I was reading a chapter on peace with God and the peace of God, it hit me that somehow I have allowed the chaos and craziness of our present political situation to impede on how I view the world. I spend so much of my free time in retirement reading of the wrangling of the different political parties and the bickering on Twitter that I forgot to follow the advice that has kept the tapestry of my life from unraveling in difficult moments.

I have tried to always live by the words of Philippians 4:8-9, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

When I had to undergo chemotherapy, I was able to be at peace, because I knew in my spirit that, although the chemicals were causing side effects, they were meant to destroy any remaining cancerous cells in my body and keep the cancer from returning. I saw the treatment, along with early detection and surgery, as gifts from God, and that meant they were excellent and worthy of praise.

I had a great oncologist, Dr. Edmund Tai, in California, and every time he came into his office, he was smiling. His optimism helped me see that cancer could be beat, and he truly believed that I would be fine years afterwards. Next month, October 22,  will be ten years cancer-free. Now when I am sick or financially strapped or depressed, I don’t concentrate on the negatives; instead, I begin to wonder how God will get the glory when I am back on my feet and all is well again.

So, while I will stay attuned of what is happening in the world, particularly the things that I need to help change through calls or letters to Congress, I am getting off this harmful merry-go-round of politics today, where incivility is the order of the day and being critical of everything and everybody who disagrees with our ways of thinking includes trashing whole groups of people.

Instead, I am going to read on more positive things, not tuning in to CNN or Fox News, not reading of the latest tweet-storm of this president or others, letting go of needing to read the comments to see the ugliness that people say about people who think like me or unlike them. It becomes almost an addiction that is not good for the person or for the nation.

I will think on what is good, honorable, right, lovely, and admirable in America and its people, and allow the peace of God, through having peace with God, full reign in my mind and heart. Then, I can let go of this critical spirit, seeing what is good in every situation rather than what is bad, and being more careful of what I allow to enter into my soul.

Fandango prompt is Tapestry. Ragtag prompt is Energy. Word of the Day Challenge is Circuitous. Daily Addictions prompt is Wrangle.


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