Carrie Cotton

Just a Girl In The World Sharing The Ups and Downs of a Messy Life

Oh I had it bad.

As Joyce Meyer calls it – a case of “stinkin’ thinkin’ “. I was totally caught up in the negative.

It didn’t take long either.  A quick comment from a friend that came across as negative and judgemental toward me, in an awkward situation where I was already feeling unsure and insecure and uncomfortable, left me feeling even more alone.

A few emails from someone, each feeling like a missile attack.  Sharp, cruel, and meant to destroy. At least, that’s how I took it. That’s how it felt. Words sting.

It was a tough couple of weeks with shots firing all over the place.  I took the offence.  I felt under attack in a big way.  I couldn’t help but wonder why and what the heck is going on?

Our church service this weekend, was a reminder, that as you grow in your faith, you will have opposition and it could come in many forms.  Like criticism. And when it comes you need to learn to dust off the dirt, move on, and “shake it off”.

It was like a big light went off. I had that “AHA!” moment.   After everything that had been happening over the past few weeks, this message could not have come at a better time. Shake it off.  Three words and a message that has come at me through so many different sources lately.

I thought about how I have been doing just that.  Praying in the morning, with my morning coffee.  Leaning in to God.  Playing my worship music in the car. Having a little church service every morning on the way to work.

I was back to coaching, and working on my health and fitness, and feeling really, really GOOD about myself. My marriage, my kids – everything was GOOD.

I shouldn’t be surprised to be attacked. But I felt it. Everywhere. And my focus was on the negative.

I found myself getting stuck in the stinkin’ thinkin’.  I was reacting in a negative way and I didn’t like that I was doing that AT ALL. I was not proud of my behavior.

The message kept coming. In a Zumba class on a Wednesday night.  “Haters, gonna hate hate hate. Shake it off”

And let me share this – and I believe this is how God works in our lives – before Sunday, before I did any shaking or dusting – I went to a workout class.  I wanted to work through the emotions and get still with myself. I wanted to go to a place where the negative didn’t exist and I could drown everything out. Before the workout even started, here’s something that happened that I didn’t realize until later (in an aha moment), that was such a huge blessing.

Someone who hardly knows me, stopped me to compliment me on my health and fitness journey. To compliment me on my strength and determination and drive.  To compliment me on my results and my attitude.

Yeah.  That happened.  And it changed my world.  In a second.

It helped to drown out the negative.  And that person probably had no idea in that moment how very much I needed that positive reinforcement.

God works in mysterious ways through different people. We don’t need a burning bush to believe.  Sometimes it comes through a few words from a near stranger.

The next day I was determined to stop focusing on the negative words that had been spoken over me.  It was time to take back control over my thoughts, stop worrying about a few comments, and get back to me.  Shake it off.

I bought myself a new workout shirt “Fierce – Focused and Fearless”.  Bright colour. Bold statement.

It was a reminder.  Shake it off. Focus on what is true about you.  Not what someone says or tries to make you believe to be true.

I also used the moment to give back. I dropped off some food donations to a charity fundraiser that was happening in our community to help homeless teens. Let me tell you, when you get yourself off your mind, and make an effort to do something for someone else, no matter what that is, it changes your perspective in such a positive way.

Add to the list, one more person came forward and spoke such encouragement over me in such a powerful way, it was incredible and unforgettable.  As she spoke words of affirmation over me and my life, a butterfly made it’s way between us.  It lingered.  Flittering and fluttering back and forth and all around us.

Another blessing.  An acknowledgement. A reminder.  “You are not alone.”

I was so stuck in my stinkin’ thinkin’ that I didn’t see the blessings all around me in such a big way. I didn’t see what was right in front of me.  I do now.  And I am so incredibly blessed.

That’s how you get back at the enemy.

Not today Satan.  Not today.


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