Keeping calm and putting on my big girl panties is easier said then done. Some days having a bad attitude seems like the best option. Does anyone relate? But, that’s an option that will rob me of peace and the joy of experiencing God’s presence with me.
There is a saying, “with acceptance there comes peace”. Since my last post I have talked to friends who began trying to accept things in their lives rather than fight against them. They have paid attention to releasing things and people that they have no control over. The results? Repeatedly I have been told that acceptance took the nagging unrest out of them. Imagine that! When we accept, we are letting go and releasing the details to God. I personally can not even describe the peace and freedom this is already producing in my own life.
However, turning an attitude around doesn’t stop with acceptance, the next step to change an attitude is where we place our focus.
I have a choice and so do you. When faced with a negative attitude we can choose to spin out and spiral down or we can choose something different. And, as I shared in the previous post, I have been learning that there are three things that lead us on the path to a true attitude change.
- Spiritual Strategy Moving Forward
This post will give attention to the second one—Focus.
Focus: a point of concentration, a center of mental activity and attention, an emphasis.
When my focus is on the negative, changing someone else, or changing the circumstance, I become stuck in a place of having frustrated and/or painful feelings. My emphasis becomes the very things that I can do nothing about. For those who like to control, having no control is our worst nightmare.
After realizing that the best thing is to let go and accept things as they are, the next choice is deciding to pay attention to where my mind is. Rather than remain stuck I am offered the option of turning my thoughts on the faithfulness of God in my life and focusing on the things that are lovely and true. This is often the hard part because some circumstances are so bad within themselves. Think of focus as a treasure hunt! You can always find something good, and when you do—stay there.
“You’ll do your best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst;the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse….Do that, and God, who makes everything work together , will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9 The Message
In my recent situation, no one actually wronged me but rather my own triggered thoughts rose up and tried to steal my attention and focus. The enemy knows how to get me. If the focus can be on anything negative or shaming about myself, it’s easy for the battle to be won over my thoughts and emotional life.
This time as my attitude began to spiral regarding the change in friendships, I began to tell myself what was true—
- I loved these friends but can not control that they have moved on.
- I will no longer stay focused on what was and rather focus on what’s to be.
- I will remember the good memories and thank God that there are many more good memories to come in my life.
- My future is in God’s hands. I will live now according to who I am and whose I am–rather than living according to what’s happened to me.
No matter what our situation is, we can do this. Choose to accept what isn’t changeable and then redirect your focus on the positive. Is there any good? Find it and dwell there.
Often the positives have nothing to do with what we can see, but they are faith positives that give us inner strength and hope for our future. Here are a few of God’s promises to that I began to personalize and anchor my mind in.
“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord…good, not evil.” Jer 29:11
“ All things are working together for the good in my life” Romans 8:28
“God is for me” Romans 8:37
Let’s close with this:
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
How do I “set” my mind in the middle of a bad attitude?
I choose to turn it around by accepting my life and circumstances as part of a bigger story and the storywriter is actively working in the plot. God is the author of my story. This alone is something good to focus on. He is writing something according to His purpose and sometimes that comes with pain and disappointment—part of life here on earth.
God is the author of your story too. Regardless of circumstance, there is a story being written and it has a good ending. The Lord is your Shepherd, you will not want…He leads you, guides you, and restores you. This is the good of your storyline.
Next I find some truth to anchor my thoughts in. A concordance is great for this. Search for a scripture based on what you are tempted to have a bad attitude about. In my case it was discouragement and broken hearted. I found many verses to assure me that God was indeed with me in all the losses and even in the moment of innocently triggered emotions.
I often set a timer and repeatedly tell myself one or two truths throughout my busy day. This helps to set my mind on the good of God and turns my bad or discouraged attitude around over and over again.
What attitude do you need to turn around today? Practice acceptance and focus and let me know how God meets you there!
Growing with you,