Why I try to stay positive, even when life sucks


Through all this life junk- cancer, personal loss, depression- I have tried to stay positive…and people have noticed.

I am tempted to say “oh that’s just the way I am”, “I love Jesus so much, He makes it easy” or the good ol humble “oh I am not, really.”  You know the typical pretending to be humble stuff we say when someone compliments us.

But I am going to be honest here: I have worked my butt off to try and be positive. I am doing it like its my freaking job.

It is not in my nature. It is not even what I want to do some days. But I am determined, and more self disciplined that possibly ever before.

Why? Because it’s the only way to survive.

That’s not dramatics or embellishment talking, when your worst nightmare comes true and your precious newborn baby has cancer, being positive isn’t a character trait or a “plus”, it’s a necessity.

My best friend said in her sermon on Sunday, “Joy is not a nicety, but a necessity.” AMEN.

Before all this drama went down, I prayed constantly for God to show me how to handle things with grace.

I know, right? I pretty much cursed myself right there.

But still.

There is an older lady at our church who is the kindest, joyful, faith-solid, yet honest and real lady. As I got to know her, I found out her life was not easy. Life piled on frequently. Life gave her the short straw at times. But here she is, not carrying the weight on her shoulders. She is not letting it get between her and God. If anything, it seems to make her just love on people more.

I don’t want to simplify her life, as I do not know all the in’s and out’s.

But still, I want to be like that. That has been my prayer.

I went into this trying to be intentional. How I act about my circumstances makes a difference to those around me. Especially my children.

Being consumed in depression and hopelessness is not an option.

I have seen how people can carry life’s tough stuff with them for year or decades after. I’ve seen how it can ruin their relationships and cripple their joy. I don’t want to be like that.

I pray I won’t be like that. I don’t know. I am not quite through all this tough stuff yet.

It’s not easy though. It’s hard. It takes energy, even when I have none. It takes being intentional.

I didn’t set out to be “inspiring” or start a movement or anything, but did hope that people may notice. I wanted to have enough hope in spite of my circumstances that it was obvious. That people could see it just in by my being honest.

As our life crisis started, I noticed people would cry to me about my son. They would tell me how its their own worst fear with their children, or how they are devastated by my child’s diagnosis. At first I was annoyed, (to be honest, I sometimes still am) but then it dawned on me: these people need hope too.

My situation is their worst fear.

So I subconsciously or consciously, I am not sure, started making an effort to tell people the positive things going on in a situation. I would tell the bad (infection, shots, etc) then start a rambling list of the good.

Also I have found myself telling other people of the good stuff going on, because in reality, I need the reminder. Every time a nurse or doctor this week mentioned something bad about the baby’s health or our tragic loss, I found myself going “BUT!” and then listing the goods of the situation. I didn’t even realize I was doing it at first, but when I did I realized I was telling everyone else because I needed to remind myself in those moments.

I haven’t always been successful at this whole being positive thing. I have a particular friend who can tell you she has gotten six months of messages with quite a bit of 4-letter cuss words. My autocorrect even knows how many h’s I prefer in ‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!”.

I have been posted depressing on Facebook statuses. Cried when people have asked me “how are you?”. Cried almost every time I am in church. I have been battling depression. I have wanted to run away and join a roaming poetry club (I am too scared of clowns to join the circus). Lost my cool with my daughter over nothing because I was just too stressed out to handle life.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

But when you start clinging to the real positives in your life, it starts taking less and less energy to find them. You start to see and feel them more, but it does take effort. But it does change you.


I truly believe God is taking care of us through this. 100% and with every fiber of my being. So its also been important to me to acknowledge how He is taking care of me. Not just “God is good” but “God is damn good and here is why.”

I don’t think we talk about the how enough. We leave it up to because the Bible says so, or show the big miracles. We don’t discuss the good little stuff that happens when our world is falling apart or when life just hurts. We get lost in the bad, and miss out on the rest.

The rest is life though. Life is good mixed with the bad. So which do you want to remember? The bad that hurt or the good that came in spite of the bad.

All is easier said than done.

But I am trying. I am trying hard.


Thank you to this Babble post for the Mandela graphic, and this Jon Acuff blog post for the adversity sketch.

Other The Bad at Cleaning Blog posts that may interest you:

Yay Thanksgiving (10 things I am thankful for)

I don’t ask why

I love therapy…and some stuff about depression


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