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Negativity

This weekend I had class: Organization of Information. While my teacher lectured us about Aristotle, encoding standards, and the Library of Congress subject headings I felt boredom and irritation bubbling to the surface.
I texted Forrest at 7:40 (p.m.): “I hate this class.”
Thankfully he responded in sympathy rather than something cliche like, “you can do it! push through!”
When I signed up for this program I had no idea the thrilling topic of organization would make me want to bang my head against a very large library book. A few of my classmates expressed similar sentiments of boredom and frustration with the class, and I felt better. If others felt the same then maybe I’m not in the wrong profession? But, is it a bad thing that my classes, up until this point, have not made me jump up and down for joy?

Then this afternoon I realized how much time I’d spent this week dwelling in Negativity.

First on the docket: my church. Ready to throw in the towel and find a different church, one that fits my personal preferences, I pushed out all positive thoughts about the church I’ve called home (sort of) for the last three years. All I could see were the negative aspects of this church…all the ways it has failed me (talk about self-centered), and I was focused on how I could get out of it.

Next, I was negative about where I’m at in life. I really do have it pretty easy. I only work three days a week, and even though my school advisor told me I’d have to say goodbye to all my hobbies for the next two years I have finished two and half books and knitted two hats just this week…Despite those lovely aspects of my life I still found room to grumble and grouse.

Third, I’ve been negative about school for awhile now. It’s not hard enough, it’s boring, I don’t like the subject matter, etc, etc, etc. Sheesh. I have several theories about why I’ve been feeling this way about it, but I won’t burden you with that here.

ENOUGH! Stewing in negativity is not going to make anything better. It won’t change my situation, except to further entrench myself in a sticky mire of depression. How’s that for being overly dramatic?

What’s the truth? I believe I’m supposed to be at my current church home and I’m supposed to be in school. Why? To be honest, I’m not sure. I think God has placed me at this particular church for more reasons than just my husband’s love for it, and I also think I’ve allowed my pride to get in the way of my attachment and service to it. In terms of school, I still have doubts, almost daily, that this is really what I want to do, but as my parents, spouse, and dear friends would attest: that is kind of how I operate with new things…I have a hard time jumping in to new things.

Now what?
How do I get out of Negativity?

“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
-Philippians 4:8-9 (taken from The Message)

To dwell on the best things, not the worst. I know there is a time and a place for venting, but too often I vent as my default and blow everything out of proportion. I need more of the best, beautiful, and praiseworthy in my vocabulary.

Here goes…

The best: I have witnessed a small community of believers love one another and stay committed to one another despite crummy circumstances. I have been the recipient of that love. I have been reminded that I am a child of God and am loved by Him.

The beautiful: I’ve been given time and space to learn. I have met people with similar passions, and I have learned that being a librarian isn’t just about putting books onto shelves…it’s about preserving someone’s dignity, defending intellectual freedom, encouraging the profound gift of literacy, and so much more.

The praiseworthy: Today I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve been trying to make children’s books, library school, knitting, or whatever else fulfill a very profound emptiness. When these things don’t satisfy I turn sullen, depressed, and, you guessed it – negative. But, those things were never meant to satisfy! Today I’ve been reminded that only Jesus fills. Only Jesus satisfies. I am His child, loved by God, covered by his grace…what is more best, beautiful, and praiseworthy than that????

Remind me to do this more often, okay?

Whew.

And yes, that is me on the potty with a pile of books.

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3 thoughts on “Negativity

  1. What good insights you have put into words. I will pray that you find contentment in your current circumstances. Paul wasn’t kidding when he said “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am”. While you aren’t in jail, it can probably feel like it sometimes. I bet Paul was bored stiff in jail, but imagine what our New Testament would look like if he hadn’t had all that time to write? =)

  2. I’m feeling the sting of tears from your process of finding light in the dark places of the heart. Tears of sorrow. Yet tears of pure joy because you know the One who fills up all those places. As I read your words I kept thinking…It’s like looking in a mirror. You speak to all of us and we are so richer for that. Thank you.

    Then I read the last line and LOL !!!

    My day will start out with a new vocabulary. Thanks for sharing your heart!
    Love you profoundly deep.

  3. hey,
    so i just wanted to let you know that i stumbled across your blog here through fb and the pic of you sitting on the potty had me smiling. we are slowly working on henry with that, and he loves to just sit and sit and sit there. and read. thomas the train books are big with him now.
    off subject. anyway i was having a day like what you were describing. although i like our reference class with bob (LOVE bob), the cataloging class had me bored too. and i feel i learned more in one weekend of bob’s class than i did the whole last semester. (just realized that this space is probably not the best space for my long, drawn out postings, but…)
    anyway, again. i’m there with you. this is not what i expected. being a stay at home mom is not what i expected. i’m frustrated and confused and doubting. and although it’s not nice to say that i’m glad you are struggling too, it’s nice to know i’m not the only one having these thoughts.
    i’d love to sit and chat with you sometime. it seems you have a good foundation for dealing with things. although i don’t do those same things0 i think we could help each other out.
    you show me your way-i’ll show you mine (i really still love kids and their books)
    i’m done with my nonsensical rambling now.
    cheers.

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