Mind Gardens, Part 2
Vampires have been in mainstream media for several years now. Have you ever seen a real life vampire? I have! You may not realize that you too have come across some vampires, or that you are a vampire.
I’m not talking about the vampires found in Twilight. I am referring to what I call a Positive Energy Vampire, or “PEV.” A Positive Energy Vampire is someone who can come into a room and suck away any joy. They love to complain about everyone and everything from corrupt politics and expensive healthcare, to their demanding boss or lazy spouse.
A PEV can walk into a room and not even say a word and you can feel this unseen negative force drop like a net over the room. As they begin their dismal dialogue, you feel a pit in your stomach and are unsure how to respond to their cloud of negativity. You ask how their day is and they can’t WAIT to tell you all their problems. Some people call them pessimists, but I call them Positive Energy Vampires. I’ve seen them waiting in line, in the break room at my old job, and even a few at church.
And I’ve seen one in the reflection of my mirror. Have you seen a PEV in your bathroom mirror? I will be the first to admit my PEV tendencies, and decided I needed a plan to control the appearance of my inner PEV (no garlic needed).
The Bible warns us against Positive Energy Vampires (Ok, not really PEVS) but to watch out for people who possess the same characteristics of a PEV. Look what it says in Hebrews 12:15 (MSG), “Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.” Like that one thistle ruining a garden, so a PEV has the potential to bring down anyone who is exposed to them.
In one of our earlier blog posts, CCWA compared our mind as a garden and used the term Mind Weeds. In case you missed that blog, a Mind Weed is a thought conceived from the Old Adam mind. These thoughts focus on all that is wrong, what’s lacking in life, what’s unfair, what’s inconvenient, and what’s offensive. Life is viewed through a lens of “bitter discontent.” It’s safe to say that the mind of a PEV is infected with bitter weeds of “discontent.”
It’s bad enough that we allow these weeds to take root in our mind. It’s especially damaging to God’s kingdom when our Mind Weeds spread into the mind gardens of others.
5 Easy Defense Weapons
1. Avoid the Temptation
First and foremost remember they too are part of your holy family! You are probably tempted to slip into some self-righteous thinking. I hate working with her! She always has a bad attitude! I know I still have to be vigilant against this. CAUTION! Self-righteousness is a Mind Weed in disguise. It doesn’t serve God, and it doesn’t serve you when you allow yourself to get annoyed, irritated or angered.
2. Bless or Curse. You have a choice! (hint, it’s not the second choice)
Instead of cursing them, offer a silent blessing. View them with a lens of compassion. (About 5 years ago I never would’ve even considered doing this). But over the past years I started to consciously become aware of my reactions whenever I would encounter a PEV. Now I offer a quick silent prayer asking the Lord to help them see His blessings. Make the choice to show the love of Jesus, not the judgment of a Pharisee.
If you are near someone who is going on and on about how someone upset them or all things going wrong in their life, distract them by identifying some blessing in their situation. Complaining and seeing the negative has probably become so habitual they don’t even realize it. This is a chance for you to serve them by helping them see their life through a lens of blessing and gratitude. Help them grow strong Mind Blossoms that will choke out their Mind Weeds.
4. Walk Away
If you are uncomfortable with the task of distraction, walk away. Remove yourself from their presence, or turn your attention on someone else in the room. Don’t be an audience to their bitter discontent. Do not make your mind garden available to their mind weeds.
5. Be responsible with your Mind Garden.
If you find yourself having a PEV kind of day where everything goes wrong, DO NOT let that weed take root. Don’t pass on your negativity to the waitress, your kids, or your coworkers. Contain your weeds! Go to a quiet place and vent it all out to….you know who I’m going to say. Your heavenly Father! He can handle it! He wants you to go to him. Tell him all about it, release it and give it no more thought. Then immediately grab your gratitude journal and “Give thanks always and for everything.” Ephesians 5:20
So if you run into any vampires this week, you are now equipped to turn a difficult struggle into a heavenly encounter.
CCWA wants to hear about your success! Like Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.” Tell us how you are going to do better whether the vampire is you or someone else.