Home > Love & Grow > Diana Jurss: Choosing the Positive

“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith.  They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others.  As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.

Hello church family.  My name is Diana Jurss and I, along with husband “Honey Bear” John have been members of FUMC for 20+ years.  We have two grown children  Jolene and Jonah and one precious granddaughter.

I was a bit reluctant to write an article expressing a spiritual discipline as I am not a particularly spiritual or disciplined person, but I am a creature of habit/routine and I can share a little about that.

It has been a tremendously helpful practice to cultivate gratitude.  Paul writes in Philippians 4:8 —  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”  It seems to me what he is saying is that we must intentionally choose to direct our minds away from negative thoughts and towards positive ones.

For example, I am mindful of what TV shows I watch (gosh there’s a lot of trash on TV), careful what books I read, music I listen to, and friends I hang out with. Upon making these obvious choices it gets easier to make little micro-choices.  For example if I get aggravated with John I promptly call up memories of all his good qualities.  If I get annoyed with a coworker I remind myself of their challenging life situation and am immediately impressed with how well they handle their difficulties.   Taking my thoughts “captive” in these ways keeps  me grateful and at peace with myself and the world around me.

The other day I was driving home from work. It had been a good day. I had helped with the COVID vaccination clinic for employees at the hospital and it had gone smoothly.  As I was turning left onto 441 in Franklin a car came from the far right lane and made a left hand turn into my lane, cutting me off.  I had to brake and swerve and just barely avoided an accident.  At first I was startled, then scared, then angry, but  within a few minutes I turned on the radio to put my mind on something else, and was soon settled back to being grateful for a good workday.