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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.

Bill Cosby told the story of how his father would exaggerate how much worse his life had been.

“I got up at 4 AM, walked to school with no shoes, in five feet of snow, uphill…both ways.”


What is it that makes us feel we’re in a contest to prove our pain is the most unbearable?  And why do some people build resilience and bounce back like rubber, while others cave like a sunken soufflé?

Some people look at problems as opportunities and others as insurmountable walls.  Which category do you fall into?

The Sad Sack
Also known as Mama Melodrama.  She seems not only to be stymied by problems, but even to glory in them.

The Fence Sitter
Occasionally tackles challenges, but may revert back to inaction as the heat turns up.

The Hardy Mum
As problems arise, the Mum keeps on truckin.  When the rubber meets the road, she squares her shoulders, puts her chin up and faces it head on.

Studies show that a habit can be made or broken in thirty days with even a small amount of effort.  So, how do you build resilience?

In the same way as you would build muscle: with resistance.  When you want to build strength, you’d push against a weight machine and actively engage your muscles.  Not sit on the couch and protect the muscles from harm.

So is there such a thing as resistance training for the soul?  I think so.  Try these ideas:

  • Rewind

Remind yourself how far you have come in life.  You’ve dealt with challenges before and you can deal with this challenge. Don’t let anything get you down for long.

  • Refocus your lens

Look at problems as mountains to be climbed.  You can’t climb a mountain in one giant leap; it takes small steps and perseverance.

  • Renew

Prayer, meditation, yoga… whatever it is that centers you, lean on it.

  • Remember

Don’t hold things in until they become unbearable.  Talk to friends or family and get it off your chest, but don’t dwell on it.  Most importantly, be yourself.  In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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