Cynicism is defined as “an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism.” The world wants us to believe cynicism is cool. That the cynics are the ones who won’t be fooled. No one is going to pull a fast one on them! But, having lived as a complete cynic for the last half of 2019 and for other seasons of my life, I can firmly tell you:
Cynics are living a sad existence.
I’ve shared that I was struggling with anger after my friend’s son was diagnosed with leukemia around Mother’s Day. And added to that, I had a major life change in our family that rocked our world for lots of good ways, but change–even good change–is always a challenge.
Now. This next part… I’m going to be delicate here. Because, the cynicism that I found myself struggling with was no one’s fault but my own. I know what it means to believe the best in people and how dangerous it can be when you start questioning everything and everyone and feeling like everyone is out to serve themselves. I had lived that way and honestly, since MS diagnosis, I had found this JOY and a heart-change that had cynicism far, FAR away.
But. Sometimes, people come into our lives who stir up anxious thoughts. They say things that make you feel like you can’t trust anyone. They make you question every move that others make and even make you question your own actions and motives. I had fallen into friendships with people like that before and been able to walk away for my own sanity. At the end of the day, I can look back and see how broken they were. How lost they must be to be living in a world where they constantly feel as though everyone is out to get them and so they strive to bring others into their spiral of negative thoughts. And I can see how I lacked confidence to be able to call out their toxicity. I’ve heard many times that “hurt people, hurt people.” I don’t know how I didn’t see what was coming, but I didn’t. And down the rabbit hole I went.
I found myself being super grumpy at home. When others came to me with a problem, I was quick to jump on board the negative train and verbally tear apart the people who had hurt them. I was stirring up anxiety in others rather than helping them look at things with a clear-head. I judged people harshly when they talked about things they were going through that were hard for them, but didn’t measure up to “real hard” in my mind. I compared their trials with that of my friend walking her son through cancer… and I found myself lacking a whole lot of grace for others. Even my kids and my husband. I removed anyone from my news feed on social media who I found too “whiny”. Because, again, I had zero grace for any of them. I was quick to criticize others. And murmur complaints and gripes to anyone who would listen.
I was doing a weekly podcast with my husband where we talked about fighting for joy, and I was too naive to see I was in one of the worst battles for my mind I had ever been in.
In the middle of all this, I was able to purchase an advanced copy of Jennie Allen’s new book Get Out of Your Head. I’m a very slow reader, so I’m embarrassed to tell you it took me 2 months to finish it. And honestly, even as I was finishing it, it hadn’t hit me that what I had been through was an all-out, strategic attack from the enemy.
That realization didn’t come until early January 2020. It wasn’t a huge AH, HA! or anvil dropped from the sky on my head kind of moment. It was slow. And it was through time in prayer with God and through digging into the book of Job deeper than I ever had before. Instead of a sudden, eye-opening realization, it was like opening your eyes early in the morning and it taking a few moments for everything to come into view. But as the first weeks of 2020 ticked by, and my prayer time and Bible reading time became deeper, God helped me to see the stronghold that cynicism had on my mind.
I’m still repenting.
I’m still working hard to “take captive every (cynical) thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
I’m still trying to figure out how to be so confident in Christ that I can boldly speak truth and call out lies and not be falsely led.
I’m still battling hard against anxious thoughts.
I’m still fighting hard to believe the best in others.
But, I’m okay with knowing that God is still working on me. And will continue to work on me until my dying breath.
P.S. You need Jennie’s book in your life. Here is my official review on Amazon (and yes, I was accidentally logged into my husband’s account! HA!):