I went trick or treating two years ago and haven't gone since. I don't remember that much, except that I didn't want any of the hundreds of candy pieces I received, my legs were tired out from all the walking, and no one could figure out what my friends and I were (pandas). The past Halloweens have typically been very uneventful, with the usual stampedes of children racing across our beautiful, mushroom-filled, crab-grass greenish lawn and us yelling "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Thanksgiving!" at the departing children.
For many people, Halloween's all about the candy, and having fun, and getting to dress up as people you probably never will be like. But for others, it's about watching scary movies, dressing as horrifying as possible, and scaring little kids half to their death. It's about being the most intimidating and trying to make each other more fearful than you. It's about seeing if you're braver than others.
It's always important to see your inner motives, your reason behind what you do or celebrate. Halloween is no exception: you need to check yourself and decide why you're celebrating it. Is it for the fun, or is it to celebrate death?
I've always thought of myself as a positive person. I'm like, nope, I almost never say anything bad about anybody. I'm not that complainy or whiny. Not at all.
Yeah...no. In the past couple months especially, I've been realizing how blind I am. I really haven't been as positive as I could've been, and sometimes I was even unintentionally making fun of someone without realizing it until later. I've been mentally shooting people down, and my actions have been reflecting that in small ways - but that doesn't justify it one bit. On Mother’s Day, our church had a guest speaker, Shaunti Feldhahn. She's the author of the Kindness Challenge, a book in which she shares about the seven patterns of negativity. One of the patterns, sarcasm, really stuck out at me, as I’d started to be a lot more sarcastic then usual. Honestly, sarcasm and sassiness really tires me out. It kind of…well, in a way, it caused me to stop seeing the good in people right away and instead seeing something that could be used as a funny joke or something. I didn't mean it in a mean way, but sometimes it came across as that. Ephesians 5:4 says, "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking."
There’s another thing that I feel can sometimes be negative: laughter. Laughter is such an amazing thing – it brings people together, it lightens the mood and makes people smile. Joy and laughter go hand in hand, but laughter can also be used in a negative, non-uplifting way.
Early this year, I went to a youth retreat that was hosted by our old church. I was placed in a small group with a handful of high school girls and a leader that was probably in her late twenties. I was pretty quiet, not saying much. I was letting fear control me, and therefore did not really share my thoughts of the sermon (which was amazing, btw!). We were talking about trials and how we need to go through trials in order to grow. We also talked about how hard they could be. A verse popped into my head, but I was unsure whether or not my brain was mixing two different verses together. I timidly said, “Wait, isn’t there a verse that talks about how He will not let you go through trials that you are not capable of bearing…?”
When I finished talking, the leader started laughing. Laughing. She chuckled, “Well, if that were true, we wouldn’t really learn anything.” She laughed again, and one of the girls joined in.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."