It is surreal to be sharing on the topic of “Bursting with Goodness.” For most of my life that would not have been an accurate description of me.
I was always bursting with passion. (I blame the red hair! Ha!) For most of my life, that passion was expressed as a “realistic” devil’s advocate. I loved a good debate. I was annoyed with people who were always optimistic and joyful. I thought they were fake or out of touch with reality. Now I have become that positive person. I have become that person I once hated.
How? Well… Jesus for one, and that’s obviously a big one! How I came back to know and love Him later on in life is another story for another day, but He has definitely worked wonders in my heart and mind!
What I really want to do today, though, is be honest with you. In case you are like me, and your natural tendency isn’t to see the world in rainbows, butterflies, and puppy dog kisses, I want you to know that it is still totally possible for you to become the kind of person that bursts with goodness. Yes, Jesus will do His part, but there is also a lot that you can do. Just because we don’t feel like we were made this way, doesn’t mean we can’t become a vibrant, loving, peaceful, open person.
First, friends, we must take care of our physical bodies. It is true that if we eat poorly, we will feel poorly. We need to move our bodies daily and fuel them well. If we don’t even have enough energy to do the basics, how can we expect to have extra energy to pour into others and respond to the prompts He has laid on our hearts? If we aren’t acting responsibly in taking care of our bodies, how will we have the confidence to step forward and follow through on a calling that seems out of reach? The energy you put into taking care of your body, you will get back tenfold. Trust me. Try it, and I have no doubt you will experience it yourself.
Secondly, the people who surround us have a huge effect on our mindset! For myself and so many of my clients, having the opportunity every day to plug into a positive group of godly women changed everything. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by women that weren't quick to find excuses. Instead, they were actively finding the positive. They were determined to figure out a sustainable way to take care of their bodies and seek more of Him daily. That mindset is contagious. Get around those people… even if their positivity drives you a little nuts at first!
Third, take note of what you are allowing into your mind. For so long I was convinced that music and TV were harmless. I was all about top 40 music and reality TV shows — just for entertainment, right? Even if it’s subconscious, what you listen to and watch absolutely does have an effect on the thoughts that run through your brain. Persistent thoughts make your reality. Make them positive as often as you can!
This last one may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. The best way to get yourself out of a negative pit is to focus on how you can help others. You gain perspective by hearing other people’s stories. Your pain finds purpose when it can be used to help others. Not to mention, there is a very palpable, feel-good endorphin that results from being of service. It is in those moments where so many will see and feel you bursting with His goodness.
For most of my life I was convinced that some people were just wired to be positive, joyful and loving. Hear me when I say it is available to everyone, but … and this is a big but… our daily decisions will control whether we actually feel and live in it.
Do we move our bodies and fuel them with foods God meant for us to eat? Do we surround ourselves with positive, God-fearing people who love us and yet also inspire us to live more fully into who He created us to be? Do we fill our brains with music and words that help us look for the positive and seek Him in everything? Do we actively look for opportunities to help others? Or, are we choosing mindless, numbing, distracting, and comfortable forces?
This is easier said than done, I know. But when we change our habits, the peace and joy He brings is unmatched. I often get messages from people who follow me on social media, telling me how positive I am. Five years into this journey, and it still doesn’t feel natural. It's not done once and done. It's something I work at and fight for daily. All those daily decisions allow us to clear out the noise and have the energy, focus, and clarity to experience Him. His peace. His goodness. His grace. His joy. He is there and has been all along. He is the true source of goodness that will burst forth. Keep fighting for it. Keep shining. I’m cheering you on.
Orignally published in Gritty Faith Volume 15. Written by Kaitlyn Vander Schaaf.
Kaitlyn was born and raised in NW Iowa, and now lives with her high school sweetheart (Dan) and 2 children (Avery and Charlie) in the Twin Cities. She was a CPA in international tax for 9 years before God laid it on her heart to stay at home with her kids and continue to build her coaching business. For 5 years now she has helped her clients with fitness and nutrition and provides a community with a faith-based focus. You can follow her journey and learn more on Facebook or Instagram: www.instagram.com/kaitlynvanderschaaf