When Negativity Becomes as Mindless as Netflix

Have you ever felt in control of a scenario, but quickly realize you have little to no control of what is actually happening? I was holding the remote control, watching TV, a few months ago and I felt the Holy Spirit begin to plant a seed inside of me.

It’s like this, we turn on the TV and we choose what show we want to watch. We have the remote (controller) in our hands, but we don’t actually dictate or control what’s going on in the TV show we decide to watch. A scene will unexpectedly appear that makes us laugh, sometimes it will make us cry, and sometimes it can even cause us to change the channel. Here we are sitting in a place we chose, watching a TV show we chose, experiencing emotions we didn’t expect. 

The remote does have “commands” but overall, it’s constantly subjected to the greater “beast” – the television. The remote changes channels, controls volume, adjusts the picture of the TV screen, but actually, it couldn’t change the course of what’s being played on the TV even if we wanted it to. The only way to fully “be in control” is to turn the TV off. I feel like a lot of us, or maybe just myself, experience this similarly in real life. I have the remote in my hands so I feel very in control, but my life starts to play itself out and I quickly realize, wow I’m not actually in control at all, I’m just sending out these random commands.

Even with video games where the controller does register to the Xbox to make one’s character walk or run – there are still a few very uncontrollable aspects; one being dialogue. Chris and I really enjoyed playing a newer western game on the Xbox, but it was so laden with “God Da**-it” that it totally turned us off to the whole thing. It was so unnecessary and we hated that we could do nothing to stop it! We tried going to options, we googled if there was a way to stop the cursing, but – this was the way the game was programmed. We kept playing for a while, but eventually we stopped and haven’t turned it on since. We realized this was an aspect that was never going to be in our control and it made us uncomfortable enough that we are choosing to keep it out of our lives.

Some times I think “OK I can keep this channel on and hope for the dialogue to change,” but that’s not how it works. I can only control my ability to hear, see, or completely turn away from the situation and the content placed in front of me. How often do we stay seated in scenarios that are totally uncomfortable for us?

Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts on Instagram relating with “are you following an account that makes you feel bad about yourself” and I took part in a poll where I answered “no,” but a resounding 60% answered “yes!” I sat there for a minute totally taken aback, “why in the world would anyone follow an account that made them feel poorly about themselves?” But then, I thought of real life. My real life. Am I sitting helplessly in scenarios that I never thought I’d be in? Yes! Do they make me feel like absolute crap? Yes! Have I lost the remote to my own life situations? No, but I’ve certainly put it down and it’s gathering dust! I’ve conceded to aspects of my life that I know God did not write up for me.

The word “follow” is also important here. We don’t control what other people post. We are FOLLOWING their posts. When I see something that repeatedly ‘bugs’ me for one reason or another and I realize “OK clearly I can’t control my judgement of this person’s posture,” I kindly hit the unfollow button. I unfollow for my own sake, yes, but mostly for this stranger who is out here doing the same thing as me – being publicly vulnerable. She certainly doesn’t need me out here critiquing her posture so although I’m sure there are far more mean-spirited judgements being made on social media, I unfollowed her because I didn’t want to be adding negativity into her life behind the scenes. That stuff is real. Our words, thoughts, they have impact.

All of this thought process tied me into another word that I felt the Holy Spirit spoke to me: “You’ve got to see people and situations for who and what they are, not how they inconvenience you.”

I remember working for a bank years and years ago. I was the youngest teller of a group of older women. The bank hired a new woman, Michelle, and pretty soon the entire teller line was just ripping her to shreds – behind her back, of course. I’ll say it like it is, she wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around and had a VERY unique personality. But here she was showing up to work every day, unbeknownst to her, getting slammed every time she turned her back. Eventually, she was less of the aggressor and way more of the victim. As time would tell, everyone just didn’t like who she was because her personality was an inconvenience to deal with! She ended up approaching me and asking me if I knew why the atmosphere in the workplace seemed so hostile and I couldn’t even lie to her. I told her “everyone talks behind your back.” She was hurt, but after that, so much healing took place. She ended up thanking me for being honest and the last few months she worked there were great. The gossip, hate, and backstabbing all came to a screeching halt because when the remote was handed to me, I chose the right command. I spoke up.

It’s when we do things in secret, behind someone’s back, that it grows and grows and grows. It becomes a big ugly beast that is actually piggy-backing on our lives! We carry around this amazing sense of guilt and shame and the ONLY way we deal with it is to continue the unhealthy pattern of allowing that negativity to lead our every move. We handed the remote control to the beast on our shoulders and all of the sudden we’re miserable people who can’t seem to find one single day that we love EVERYTHING about. Imagine that – imagine ONE DAY where you didn’t have a single negative thought, feeling, or emotion.

I’ve come to realize that some people have lived in a negative space for so long, their remote control is waaay lost in the crevices of the couch. I don’t even think they realize how negative they truly are because they’ve just been riding shotgun in their own life story for so long. It’s like the “what do you get for the person who has everything” except “nothing could ever be good enough for the person who always has an excuse as to why it’s not.”

Here’s the thing – other people’s emotions are inconvenient. My husband’s emotions are inconvenient at times. My 7-month old? Definitely some inconvenient emotions happening with him! But, I’ve got to see the person behind these inconvenient emotions. This is my husband, the man that made me a wife, a mother. This is a man who is his parent’s only son, his sister’s only brother; a man who loves greater than any other man I’ve met. A man who isn’t afraid to break down and sob in order to heal from hurt situations. Chris is so much more than a bad day he might have or an annoying trait. Every time. Every single time he is MORE than the inconvenience I’m placing on him.

This is the same for everyone. I am so much more than what you see on my Instagram. I have been hurt so much more deeply than you could imagine. I am still hurting. I am still healing, but I have healed so much greater, too. I have so much further to go, greater to see, and better to do. The girl who wouldn’t relax her shoulders in her mirror selfies (largely what her Instagram was – fashion so lots of mirror selfies) is so much more than this bad posture, but because I had decided it was something I didn’t like – it was all I could see! I even considered messaging her, but guys, what the heck?

THIS is where social media makes US feel in control of other people’s lives; When we have made it up in our minds that we know better than this person knows for themselves! Y’all, I was about to tell a grown woman, a perfect stranger, that she should reassess how she’s standing. (-_-) Once that thought actually crossed my mind, I laughed and said “noooope.” This isn’t her problem, it’s mine. This isn’t her hurting me, it’s me hurting her. This is inconvenient for MY LIKING, so I am going to unfollow her. Not to say “oh, you lost a follower!” but to say “she deserves so much more than me critiquing her.” She IS a mother. She is a daughter. She is a woman, just like me. She is a human, just like me. And God loves her, just like me.

Having the remote in our hands doesn’t give us control. It gives us options. Being someone’s “follower” or “friend” on social media doesn’t give us the right to roll our eyes, cast our judgement, or think negatively about them. Some will say “well, they’re putting themselves out there. Gotta take the good with the bad!” No, that’s not how it works but it is an easy way to not feel bad about being a jerk. Michelle didn’t deserve bad treatment at work because she showed up to work every day. And people online don’t deserve nasty comments from strangers, or friends, because they post every day. That’s not how God designed us to communicate with one another. If I post something I am leaving YOU with options. Don’t get it twisted. YOU have the option to let something stir inside of you that leads you to healing or hurting. Are you healing people with your thoughts and words or are you further hurting yourself with your thoughts and words? 

To end this, I want to surround myself with people who make me a better person because they are actively striving to be better themselves. I want to be surrounded by those who make me a stronger woman. Who lift me up, not tear me down. Those who provide me alternatives, not just road blocks. I want women in my life to be so deeply healed of past wounds that they don’t unfairly project their hurt onto me. I’ve always been here to help. I’ve always been here to lend a hand, a word, a prayer. I don’t think it’s wrong to yearn for a healthy group of friends. I don’t think it’s wrong to desire more than someone who smiles to my face today, but I’m just another gossip topic tomorrow. I don’t think it’s wrong to say I’m at a point in my life where I will not accept the blame, the result, the brunt of other people’s unresolved pain because I am making the moves to ensure NOBODY is in my pain pathway, either. 

God gave me free will to present me an endless opportunity of options. He handed me this remote and said “you’ll never be in control, but this will help you navigate.” So, am I mindlessly binge watching my life pass me by? Am I only showing up once a week? Or am I turning up the volume of my praises and turning down the volume of my complaints, every single day? Am I taking that same free will and handing it not to the beast on my back, but lifting it up above my shoulders and giving it back to God? 

I don’t want this false sense of control that we’re all so obsessed with lately. I don’t want to dissect situations, scenarios, and people. I don’t ever want to think my opinion matters so much, that I’d offer it out of selfish pride instead of humble grace. I’m hanging it up for now. I hope you could see my heart in this. I don’t write stuff like this with people in mind. If you’re triggered, let it marinate and ask YOURSELF the tough questions, don’t project your excuses back on me and what I wrote. Again, I’m always here to talk!

I also want to make it known I’m not saying I don’t want broken people in my life. We’re all broken. But, I am saying that I’m twenty-six years old and I’m done riding passenger to people who refuse to work on themselves. Life isn’t this daytime TV show and even though it may feel like it, it’s not a video game either. What you THINK about other people, what you FEEL in your heart towards others, the JUDGEMENT you make has its own set of consequences that YOU AREN’T IN CONTROL OF! When you hand your remote to the beast weighing you down, you’d better believe he’s going to attack your victim. The victim that you might even call your friend, your sister, or maybe a perfect stranger.

I’m guilty of it all. I am asking for forgiveness and I am tossing my remote up to the heavens. Lord, may I be so vertically aligned with You and Your plan for my life that my horizons are clear and concise moving forward. May my burdens be light as You equip me daily. May my judgement only be of Your Word where you have anointed and called me to intercede on Your behalf. I’m not asking for comfort, for this world will never offer it, but I am asking for Your protection over the voices that I am subjecting myself to on social media. I ask that every negative word, thought, or action taken up against me would be met with Your truth. YOUR TRUTH is the only truth I want to hear and speak. I pray for every hurting soul, every addiction, every unresolved pain that my brothers and sisters are dealing with, God. I ask that the eyes that see my page would be opened, Lord. That the logs would be removed. I pray that the physical ailments, the unhappiness, would be met with Your perfect love. I pray that as long as I live, I could be a vessel to offer growth, healing, and change.

In Your name I pray, Amen.

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