I remember having an idea for a book called “The Death of a Cynic”. What do you think? Let me explain… I had only been married for a few months and had recently moved to the unfamiliar land of East Texas. For roughly a decade prior to getting married, I had perfected the art of negativity. More specifically, I had become pretty skilled in the art of sarcasm flavored cynicism. My wife and I had typical newlywed struggles, but there was so much joy as we started our new family. I was also experiencing happy and positive Christians daily in our new town. Because of my aforementioned expert level skills in cynicism, I privately labelled each of these new joyful people as fake. More than that, I just knew that I would find them out! I thought, “It won’t be long before I see these folks for who they really are.” Days, weeks, and months later, these people were the real deal and it had an impact on me.

The book idea came from me being so tired of being cynical and negative all the time. I realized that my negativity was a symptom of the sin of pride and un-forgiveness that I had not knowingly repented of. I wanted to be free of it. I decided that I would begin writing the book once I had gotten rid of all this pesky falsely labeled realism. The problem is, that was nearly nine years ago… and still no book. I would describe the last nine years as slow, sometimes steady, but mostly rocky growth. However, any victory I’ve had over the demons of cynicism, sarcasm, and negativity came because of the power of God working in me partially through the intentional efforts of His people. Let me explain:

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.”

I am convinced that in order to grow as a Christian I must be in community with other believers that really know me. More specifically, I am convinced that in order to grow as a Christian I must be in community with the people who are members with me in my local church. I need these folks to carry out what the author of Hebrews is describing in 3:13. I need a daily injection of Holy Spirit empowered encouragement to rescue me out of the sin of habitual negativity. The deception of joylessness. The catch is, I must be willing to let them encourage me, and I must be willing to listen to what they have to say. This is especially true when it comes to parenting.

Let’s face it, parenting is painfully difficult at times and regularly discouraging. We need biblical encouragement and we need to be willing to receive it. I’m not saying that you take any advice that comes at you. However, I am suggesting that the church you’re a member of possesses a wealth of wisdom from godly men and women that would love the chance to encourage you.

Each January brings thousands of resolutions that are connected to all sorts of good intentions. In my former life of special-ops-level master of all things jaded I would have told you that resolutions were stupid. Things have changed a bit. Sure, they are not worth much on their own, but if writing down some goals helps you then please do it! Just promise me that you won’t do it alone. You’re not designed to do it alone. If you’re hoping to be more consistent with family time this year, let people know your ambitions. If you’re hoping to plan more date nights with your spouse, don’t keep it a secret. There’s a God ordained team ready to help!

While I’ll never be totally free of negativity this side of Heaven, I do hope a more mature version of that book will be written someday! This is me practicing the new optimistic Frank…

“Make some new years resolutions, and get some godly encouragers to come along side you to see it through. You’re going to do great, and your family will notice!”

How was that?