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Finally, brothers and sisters, 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 4:8 NIV

Has this ever happened to you? Someone bursts into the room, marches up to you and sprays Raid, right in your face!

Sputtering, you exclaim, “What the heck are you doing?!?”

You wipe off your face, enraged, and demand an explanation.

“Oh no, you don’t understand. It’s perfume! I just mixed it together in the other room. It’s my fragrance, and I wanted to share it with you,” she says.

Now, of course, this hasn’t happened to you (I hope!), but surely, you have encountered a personality type that I call the “negative naysayer” and the effect of their presence is equally toxic.

You don’t need an expert to assess the situation and report back to you. There are times when you just know what you know.

It’s not perfume. It’s poison.

Just because someone is – fill in the blank…

  • a relative
  • your neighbor
  • a co-worker
  • your pastor

…doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behavior or carping criticism.

Toxic people come in all packages. It’s a shame they don’t have a warning label, like pesticides do. Skull and cross bones on their shirt.

Warning! I am here to:

□ annoy you with a long litany of complaints

□ suck the life out of you with unsolicited advice about your life

□ insist I’m not one to gossip/proceed to badmouth everybody

□ tell you this for your own good because it’s scriptural

Listen. I don’t need to tell you what you already know. If someone comes along and tries to rain on your parade, don’t just reach for an umbrella. Hit the “eject” button.

It’s not you, being selfish. It’s a mandate from God: think about what lifts you up. You can’t do that while paying attention to Soul-Squashing Psyche-Suckers! (Now that’s a tongue-twister.)

You don’t need a scientist in a lab coat or a trauma team to help you steer these biohazards out of your face. Just pivot. Don’t animate or activate them in your own vibration. It’s an inert pile of poison. Don’t give it life.

Return to your own regularly scheduled programming: a “yes” life. A blessed life. Your best life. You don’t need permission to protect what’s precious, what’s right, what’s real. Nah. You got this. Why? Because you know what you know.


SerenityBy the time the meeting ended, I was frustrated and more than a little angry.

We had gathered together to study the word of God. Ironically, our topic was the point at which the Israelites forgot how bad it had been in Egypt and started complaining to Moses about how bad they had it now. Thirst vs enslavement and degradation.

I say ironically, because we only managed to stick with our topic for a brief while before someone made a “good old days” comment. You know what I mean.  “I can’t believe how bad things are now vs when I was a kid.”

Wow. Talk about irony.

I’m not sure if I was the only one who saw it or not but I do know that I failed to find a polite way to steer the conversation back to the lesson.  Instead, it turned into a 30 minute gripe-fest about how awful teens are, how bad the schools are and don’t even get us started on …

It isn’t like everyone joined in, but those of us who didn’t join in remained silent. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I just wasn’t sure how to turn things around gently.

Because I was worried about offending them, I kept my mouth shut. By the time the meeting ended, I was completely bummed out and not even sure I’d be back.

Then I saw the serenity prayer.  I think this situation weighed so heavily on me because I knew that someone should have done something.  And, really, except for my worry about offending someone, there’s no reason that someone couldn’t be me.  There really is no reason to let someone turn an opportunity for learning into a gripe-fest.

Yes, it will take time and it will take prayer, but God will give me the words I need.  I just need to ask and to listen for his answer.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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