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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm Not Andy Rooney

Remember those last few minutes of 60 Minutes when Andy Rooney would come on and talk about some little thing that was bothering him?
I used to look forward to hearing and seeing him. He was so cute, with his old-man curmudgeonly attitude, his bushy eyebrows and whiny voice. Rooney kind of reminded me of one of Jim Henson's Muppets. He knew just how to complain but entertain at the same time.
Just about everything he had to complain about resonated with his audience. Don't we all share universal annoyances?
After listening to Andy Rooney, it was much easier to think up my own list of petty annoyances. His whiny complaints "helped" me think along the lines of all the negative, inconvenient, rude, thoughtless, arrogant, unbelievable things that people do or say to other people.
Once I got into the mind-set of thinking about my annoyances, I found it difficult to climb out of the dark pit of negativity and focus on more positive thinking.
The negative thinking affected my whole day.
I forgot to be happy.
I forgot to be thankful.
I felt worse.
I felt less inclined to pray for others.
I felt robbed of peace.
I wasted time trying to pull myself out of my negativity by watching tv or venting to available listeners.
I started to dislike myself.
And I suspect others liked me less, too.

Listening to Andy Rooney was kind of like when I was first married. A group of young married women in the neighborhood invited me to join their morning coffee klatsch. I liked the ladies. But after about two weeks I had to beg off meeting with the group because the mornings were usually spent complaining about their husbands. I'd come home in a foul mood and wonder if my own husband was exhibiting any of the bad habits described by my friends.

I stopped listening to Andy Rooney.
Anybody can be an Andy Rooney.
Anybody can find something to complain about and then find someone to listen and commiserate.

It takes quality of spirit and strength and grace and wisdom and courage to lift others up, to be an encourager, an inspirer.
It's much harder to do.
It's a choice.
I know, without the Lord's empowering, I cannot be anything else but a complainer. That's my natural bent.

Andy Rooney helps me remember what I don't want to be like.

Here's a scripture that reminds me what God desires in my attitude:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true,whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable --think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me --put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."


  1. Negativity is so contagious. I feel like I need a shower after being around someone who sees no joy or beauty in life.
    I hope my friends give me a kick in the pants if I start down that road. :)

  2. Me too, Diane. Kick me if I ever start posting downers.

  3. Yes, I did find Rooney to be entertaining. I do understand not wanting to be around negative people - it can really affect your attitude about your own life.

  4. Hi Dena -

    I smiled when I got to the end and saw the scripture you quoted. It was going through my mind the entire time I was reading.

    Excellent post. :)


  5. Yes, Cecilia, and it's not just negative people; it's hearing a negative message anywhere and then focusing on it. It takes God's light to lift us out of the "miry pit," don't you think?

  6. Thanks, Susan. That verse in Philippians has become a very important one for me.

  7. Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. As a young wife, God use Phil 4:8-9 to change my nit picky attitude toward my husband, resulting in a happy and peaceful home. The scripture remains an important weapon in my spiritual arsenal. Thanks, Dena.

  8. Yes, Nancy, those verses are incredibly valuable. But it sure took me a long time to begin applying it in my thinking and prayer life.