“Mom, if I were a troll, I’d be fine if I got eaten. Because I’d just go to heaven anyways, right?”
“Yes, my love.” My heart melted in my chest and I smiled at my sweet first-grader. “Yes, you surely would.”
Our girls were gifted the Trolls movie for their birthdays last weekend. We watched it Sunday night and, I gotta say, that True Colors scene just might be one of my favorite moments on film ever.
I’m both a deep feeler and an analytical type, so I don’t typically take any movie—even a kids’ movie—at face value. The trolls’ focus on “positive thinking” got me, well, thinking. Creek, the Zen troll, encourages his kinsmen to look on the bright side and be happy. It’s all about good vibes, right? And generally we, as Christians, attribute that concept to new age beliefs. Just feel the love, man.
But positive thinking is not actually a new age idea. God came up with it first.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
We have a choice about what goes into our heads and stays there. The Bible encourages believers to focus on those thoughts, ideas, images and truths that are most like God’s character—pure, lovely and praiseworthy. And not only that, but when a disruptive thought enters our minds, we are commanded to take it prisoner—and execute it.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In other words, get rid of the negative. Focus on the positive. Live in harmony (Romans 12:16 and 15:5), love one another (1 Peter 3:8), show affection (Romans 12:10), hug every hour!! Oh my word, we really are commanded to live like trolls, heaven help us all!
But lots of us are grumpy instead. We complain, we worry, we snap. Maybe not every hour or every day, but often enough that it becomes a part of our norm. And we find it difficult to follow God’s command to think positive.
That’s when we discover—happiness is more than a choice. It’s an issue of obedience. Which makes it an issue of faith.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).
Now, I need to pause here a second and clarify. For my sisters in Christ who are enveloped in deep sorrow or clinical depression, please know that I am not suggesting your pain is punishment for disobedience, nor am I dismissing your grief as something that ought to be prayed away. God does amazing work in our sorrow, and you are doing the hard work of giving Him your precious sacrifice of a broken spirit (Psalm 51:17). He is with you. He loves you.
But for those of us who aren’t struggling through such circumstances, I’ve gotta ask.
Why are you so crabby?
Why am I?
We’re in this together, sisters.
So about those trolls. There’s another word for positive thinking. It’s called hope. And hope is the very essence of the Christian life. Therefore, let’s not merely listen to God’s word and so deceive ourselves. Let’s do what it says (James 1:22).