Trying to not be cynical about not being cynical.

July 21, 2012

For the past several Saturdays this summer I have been going through the Beth Moore James study with a group of girl at church. It's been good, real good. James has a way of slapping me in the face that no other book of the bible has been able to do. Reading the book of James feels, in a way, like having a really honest conversation with a super close friend. 

He tells it like it is. 

I'll be real honest with you, today I didn't want to go. We were out late hanging out with the mission team that has been in town this week painting our church and helping with VBS. I've possessed an indescribable negative attitude all week, for no reason I've been able to pin point. Something has just overtaken me and I have fallen into the giant first world sin of poor me. Because let's face it someone driving a new car, with a job, and no real problems to speak of has every right in the world to have a week long pity party, right? Wrong! 

This morning Beth and the ole book of James gave me a solid wake up call. 

My cynicism towards the whole entire world does nothing but hurt my ministry, our ministry as a couple, and my relationships with everyone...including my husband. 

What made me this way? Honestly, I wasn't born not trusting people, it developed overtime. Before I get any deeper, or even share my notes from this morning let me share the definition of cynicism that I got from

Cynicism - An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others. 

Hello! That is me. Notice the definition doesn't end with "someone who you really want to be around". Because seriously, when I am in a particularly jaded don't want to be around. Jeremy doesn't even want to be around. 

Beth gave a great quote on cynicism that I have to share, "Cynicism is a form of carnality that thinks it's smart."

True, very true. When I am being cynical I am basically telling others that I know best. Which I really do insinuate, I accuse the world of looking at things through rose colored glasses and not seeing it how it is, dirty and horrible. But what good comes from my dirty and horrible view of humanity? Nothing but a feeling of isolation. It makes me feel more alone in this horrible world. 

I was having a conversation just yesterday with a wonderful Godly woman and I was spilling out my feelings of disappointment and cynicism to her. She told me it is common to feel this way a little, especially later in life...but if I am this bad now, how cynical will I be at 50? Good gracious, does Jeremy need to lock in my a closet and hope to God I forget every little thing that threw me towards cynicism in life? I told her I need to snap out of this, now....who would have known our study today would give me the good James centered whipping I deserved. 

There is nothing wrong with realizing that my cynical demeanor is/was fueled by my disappointment in people. But that right there is the problem, I trusted and hoped just a bit to much in people. People are disappointing, God isn't. Had I trusted God more, and people less I would not have become so jaded. In a less than ideal world, God is the only solid ideal I can trust. He does not change...people do. Therefore people will let you down, but God never will. 

It seems like such an elementary idea to me. So basic. My cynicism is not only a wall I put up to hide my disappointment in people, but it is a wall I put up between myself and God out of sheer fear of what others thought. I let my own insecurities and thoughts about what other cynics thought of me keep me from actually serving God in a manner that ignores the world and solely focuses on him. 

So instead of rambling the 2 of y'all still reading this crazy long post, let me share Beth's 5 reasons to not be cynical

1. Jesus is flagrantly changing lives. 
-if he is changing lives as I have watched him do for years, why have I not trusted him to change my own? Why have I not let go of this cynical exterior.
2. Real people are doing real things all over the world. 
-I realized this while talking to a newly married couple the past few days. They are out there doing and being exactly like I want to be without the slightest bit of fear of what people think. 
3. The appetite to study scripture is increasingly ravenous.
Holy stinking moley! Our mother's and grandmothers were not encouraged to dive into scripture years ago. Women were encouraged to just listen and not be active in biblical discussions. We are lucky enough to be part of a generation  where we are encouraged to arm ourselves with the sword of the spirit and not just take a passive role in our Christianity. 
4. Some long standing barriers are breaking down. 
- I can see it just the in short years I've been alive. People from different backgrounds and denominations are worshiping together and it is totally okay. It hasn't been that many years since the more charismatic Christians and traditionally less charismatic Christians stayed away from each other in worship. More and more now, than ever, are we seeing it become more acceptable to worship how you feel led. The thought of "oh those people are just a little nutty" is flying out the window. 
5. God will kick your tail. 
- And has he ever. I've been wrestling with this for awhile, and it seems to have come full circle as of lately. 

Beth also mentioned that cynicism is a sign of brokenness, being jaded, and all out unbelieving. 

Cynicism doesn't have to be terminal, and I hope I can change that in myself. It doesn't make me feel good to not believe people's intentions or actions. It just makes me more self conscious. 

And like I said earlier, it isn't doing anyone any good. 

What is something you have struggled with and fought to overcome?