Social media justifiably gets a bit of a rough ride at times doesn’t it, but there are also some great things too, and one of them is bringing to your attention some good things that you might not otherwise have come across unless you picked up a magazine or someone happened to mention it to you. Daily on social media we usually get something presented (through the ‘algorithm’!) that is of interest, and then periodically something that really stands out and captures our imagination.
One such thing that came up for me in the run up to Christmas was an article by the chief scout ‘Bear Grylls’ in which he talked about the benefits of re-naming everyday items and tasks in a different and more positive way. For example, rather than think of an ‘alarm clock’, that thing beside our bed which annoys us in the morning, which should think of it as a good thing……..an ‘opportunity clock’ for the 24 hours ahead!
This stood out for me, because over the last couple of years my wife has started commuting back to London, up at 5:30am to catch the train at 6:30am, and I have been faced with a choice…reset the alarm clock or embrace it! Rather than taking the attitude of what I am losing I have decided to look at what I am gaining!
First, there is the benefit of going to bed earlier with less wasted evenings ‘frittering away’ watching things on TV that aren’t worth the time, and if I may say a reason to bring my many evening meetings to an earlier end!
Second, there are then the many opportunities that come with being up and awake in the early morning:
-the opportunity to take Rebecca to the station and talk at the start of the day;
-the opportunity to go for walk before I sit down at my desk;
-the opportunity to do the exercises I need to for my back;
-the opportunity to pray and read my bible in the peace of the day;
-the opportunity to read a bit of a book or the newspaper;
-the opportunity to do a few chores around the house, but not too many;
-the opportunity to get on top of my e-mails before they get on top of me;
-and the benefit of all this before it even gets to 9 o’clock!
How else can this way of thinking be applied? Let me quote to you a bit more of what I read about how he looks at a day: “I started the day annoyed that I had forgotten to set my ‘opportunity clock’, so it didn’t go off, but I needn’t have worried because my wife and I have a ‘3 week old investment opportunity’ who luckily reminded us of the day’s potential at around 5am.
After a quick defrag, I duly checked my reflection in the ‘beauty confirmation panel’ before starting on my ‘mass optimisation pad’. I was thrilled to discover that since I had last checked, I had gained the opportunity to lose another 2lbs. I then borrowed my wife’s ‘roll-on mystery enhancer’, as mine had run out. After that, I spent a few minutes siting on my ‘digestive health theatre’ catching up on my correspondence. I had an e-mail from my accountant, which was a bore until I remembered that I didn’t owe him a tax return, but instead had a ‘valuable government assistance opportunity’.
As I got dressed, I remembered I really had to sort out my sock drawer, which I now realise is a ‘meditation station’. It was cold downstairs, so I adjusted the ‘thermal resilience yardstick’. I emptied the ‘crockery rejuvenation cube’ and opened the ‘flavour portal’ to see if we had anything for the ‘older investment opportunity’ to have for her morning ‘nutrition optimisation’. We were out of Frosties. Sadly, she didn’t see the potential and had to spend five minutes on the ‘reflection plinth’ to calm down.
Someone rang the ‘porch conversation initiator’. It was the postman, with a package and several ‘bank account reduction offer’s’. I sighed and took out the ‘landfill contribution pot’, which dripped on my foot. Then it was off for a long day at the ‘promotion anticipation centre’, where my editor gave me some notes on something I had been writing. “This is a great moment for an improved article,” she said. Later I had a meeting with my boss, who offered me an exciting chance to make do with my existing salary. Hours later, after a trip to the ‘fitness improvement salon’ and a couple of glasses of ‘white amnesia opportunity’, I flopped into bed. It’s exhausting, all this potential!”
I hope you enjoyed that!, but is positive thinking all there is to improve ourselves and our lives? It can help greatly, but the one key ingredient from a Christian perspective is to most of all to believe in the ‘prayer’ through which we receive insight and power to be positive and how we approach every day:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4v5-7
“24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” Mark 11:24
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
So, in summary, my prayer this month is that you might discover ‘the power of positive prayer’ which will then help you discover a bit more of ‘the power of positive thinking’. With God helping you we are guided to the right and best approach to life and anything is possible!
Revd James Hunt – St Peter’s, Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary, Upham
16th January 2023