'Oh, don't be such an Eeyore!" my daughter exclaimed.
Eeyore is a character from A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" stories who is always seeing the gloomy side of things. If you said, "Good morning," Eeyore would say, "If it is a good morning, which I doubt." Or, if you said, "Beautiful day," he might say, "It still could rain."
"Was I being an Eeyore?" I asked. But I knew I was.
Ms. Doom and Gloom, that was me. I began to grumble to myself: "Well, what of it? Somebody has to be the grown-up and say what could go wrong." You see, my daughter was about to sign a lease on an apartment and she didn't have a job. Frankly, I was worried about her. My mind was filled with "what if's."
For me, changing "what if" to "what is" was the solution - and the challenge. "What if" only led me down a path of worried speculation, whereas "what is" was like solving a math problem - you know the kind: if a+b=c, and you know only two of the numbers that represent a or b or c, you can figure out the third. "What if" is anxiety oriented; "what is" is solution oriented.
Together, my daughter and I worked with the part of the equation that we knew, starting with an examination of her motive for this action. Was she trying to get something that didn't belong to her? Was she being stubborn or willful? No. The fact was, she'd just relocated and really couldn't look for work without a stable address and phone number. She needed somewhere to unload her possessions and feel settled. We saw how right it was for her to have a home established.
Then, in a book I had turned to many times when I needed to solve a problem, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," I found a sentence right on Page 1 that provided some guidance on how we could pray about this situation. The author, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds."
My daughter and I were glad that desire could be thought of as a form of prayer. Now our problem had one more "what is" to help us solve it - we realized that it is perfectly all right to trust God to help us see the answer to our needs. After all, those words about prayer didn't mention our telling God what we expected; it talked about our trusting Him and having our desires "moulded and exalted." It would become representative of how much He loves us and how He never lets us be in want. My daughter and I realized that the right way to pray involved the willingness to trust God to provide answers we may not ever have thought of.
Then I battled more of the "what if's" and the Eeyore approach. "What if the apartment was too far from work?" "What if she didn't like the job or it didn't pay enough?" It was at this point that my daughter asked me to stop all that and let God show us what He had in store for her.
I'd like to say that everything was perfect and easy for her after that. But it wasn't. Many times she would call me in tears when she ran into challenges about the situation. But each time, we would remind ourselves that this was an opportunity to pray and watch God work.
One thing we both saw was that being fearful or gloomy never helped. Remembering that "no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires" did help. We began to see that by being consistent in turning to God for guidance, trusting in Him for direction, solutions began to take shape for each and every particular need.
My daughter ended up with more than a job and an apartment. She discovered a way to feel close to God, to take practical action with problems and see them resolved through prayer.
And me? I learned something about getting rid of Eeyore thinking.
Make a joyful noise
unto God, all ye lands:
sing forth the honour
of his name: make his
Psalms 66:1, 2
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