No matter who we are, regardless of our age or life situation, we all share the same challenge:
As Christians we believe God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11:
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." --NLT
We take comfort in that promise and yet ... sometimes we feel very alone.
Time to plug in another truth: Our attitude determines how we deal with what life hands out.
Whether we're enjoying a good stretch or slogging through a trial, our outlook makes all the difference.
How we react can take the shine off what should delight us or strengthen us in our struggles.
It's exactly as the writer of Proverbs said in 23:7:
As he [or she] thinks in his heart, so is he. --NKJV
Just so, as we think in our minds, so are we.
It's way too easy to allow disturbing thoughts to wear tracks in our minds, like an annoying song refrain that refuses to be silent.
Always, our thoughts either lift us up or drag us down.
No one can take away our power to choose how we think
Chuck Swindoll wrote a lot about attitude in his book, Stengthening Your Grip.
Here are some quotes--and paraphrases--from that book:
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the past. More important than education."
More important than how much money we have--or don't have.
More important than failures or successes.
More important than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than our age or the state of our health.
Attitude will make or break a company. A church. A marriage. A family.
"I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it."
Every day we choose the outlook we will put on for the day
Chuck's conclusions are true for you and me. Every day we choose our attitude and our attitudes rule our lives.
Our perspective on any situation rules how we think about it.
We've all experienced a "for instance" like this. For whatever reason we're dragging around and feeling depressed. Then comes an unexpected phone call, a text or an email. In an instant we go from the pit to the pinnacle and our sadness turns to smiles.
Often nothing has changed, only our outlook.
Putting it into practice day by day
I've learned what I say to myself just after I wake up makes a difference all day long.
Those first thoughts set the tone for my waking hours.
Take those early-morning stretches before I get out of bed. I can say to myself, Oh, I feel so stiff and achy this morning. Wish I could just stay in bed today!
Or I can think, This is the day the Lord has given me as a gift. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24)
That doesn't take away my aches and stiffness, but it shifts my perspective just a little bit. It reminds me that life is God's gift and in Him I live and move and have my being. (Acts 17:28)
Moment-by-moment, we choose where we park our minds
That's the lesson I seem to need to relearn, over and over.
As I think in my heart, so am I--and so is my life.
Here's to being teachable,