I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade.”
The old saw encourages us to make the best of less-than-ideal situations. Even though some things aren’t what we expected, good can still come from the bitter.
I know people who have the wonderful ability to do just that. Chances are you do to.
But I’ve also met another kind of person who has the opposite ability. The ability to take lemonade and turn it back into lemons.
Have ever met someone like that?
They can take the best news and turn it into bad news.
These unique individuals somehow find the negative in the most positive of stories. No matter how good something is they can always find the downside. Their silver clouds always have a storm lining.
It sounds something like this…
Yeah, I got a raise but who knows how long the company will even stay in business.
Yeah, he remembered my birthday this time but he’ll probably forget our anniversary.
Yeah, she made honor role, but it’s only the first semester.
Yeah, the weather is great today, but it’s suppose to rain the rest of the week.
Yeah, my headache went away, but my back is killing me.
Yeah, the president made the right call there, but she is a complete screw up here.
I bet you can think of a few people who are in the lemon business. Because of their unique ability of making lemons out of lemonade they miss so many opportunities to experience joy now and in the future.
Why would anyone want to sabotage their joy?
It’s often the happy moments that carry us through the painful ones. When we pass right through the current highlights in search of a future negative we steal from ourselves the very thing that helps sustain us in the darker moments…happy memories.
Living in New York winter is tough. I mean no one describes winter as “sunny.” You rarely hear of someone retiring and moving to New York. One thing that helps me make it through winter is the joyful memories made in summer and the promise of another summer in the near future.
The person who turns lemonade back into lemons would say, “Sure, today is nice, but it won’t last winter is coming!”
John Milton wrote, “The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
We can see whatever we are looking for.
Try this exercise. Close your eyes and think of the color red. Go ahead and do it. Now open your eyes and look around. I bet you see red everywhere. Why? You were looking for it. You were conditioned to see it.
Whatever you look for you’ll find it. You can find a reason to praise or criticize anything or anyone. People even found reasons to criticize Jesus! (Luke 7:34)
Are you the type of person that can only see the negative when good stuff happens to you?
Are you the type of person that can only see the negative when good stuff happens to others?
Or is it both?
For some it’s both. Others of us struggle with allowing ourselves to be happy for the joys that have come our way. We struggle with a pessimistic attitude and a lack of faith about the future.
Then there’s those of us who only see the negative in others’ happiness. Our problem is really one of envy.
When we turn lemonade back into lemons we ruin the present and the future. No longer are we happy about what has just happened to us because we are anticipating a negative future. We think, “why be happy, it’s not going to last.” In the process we lose all possibility of joy now and later. We have discounted the now and expect the future to be even worse.
How can anyone expect to experience happiness when they’ve downgraded the present and anticipate a negative future?
The next time something great happens, enjoy it! It’s gift from your Heavenly Father who loves you (James 1:17)! That same Heavenly Father has the future under control and doesn’t want you worrying about it either (Matt. 6:25-32). It’s okay to be happy! In fact, it’s one of the evidences that God’s Spirit lives inside of us (Gal. 5:22-23).
If a lemon comes your way in the future God can help you make lemonade out of it (Rom. 8:28).
Celebrate your joys and wins without the need for a future qualification about a potential negative. The present joy is a gift! Enjoy it!
And rejoice with those who rejoice! Your relationships will be deeper. People remember those who were genuinely happy for their successes.
What’s something good you have to celebrate right now? Give yourself permission to be happy!
What’s something good that has happened to someone else? Send them a note and celebrate with them!
Keep your eyes open for the color of joy! You’ll start to see it everywhere!