Suppose I asked five of your closest friends whether or not you were a positive thinker. What do you think they would say?
Some people might be extremely confident in the answers that would be given, while others may feel a twinge of nervousness.
In my Proverbs 31 Devotion today, Your Thoughts Have Wheels, I referenced the verse from Proverbs 23:7 which says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (KJV)
This verse serves as a great reminder, that our thoughts not only determine our actions, but actually determine the type of person we become – which is why it is so important to make sure that the thoughts that drive our actions are positive ones.
I recently came across a story from an unknown author about a nurse who was helping an older gentleman. It seemed to fit in perfectly with today’s focus on positive thinking:
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
His wife of 70 years had recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. “I love it”, he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait. “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.”
“It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.”
“Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away.”
This sweet man had invested his entire life in learning how to be an optimist. Now that he was going through a difficult time, he made a conscious choice to focus on the good memories and positive thoughts, instead of the difficulties of his present circumstances.
He had obviously spent years making the life impacting decision to transport himself into a life of happiness, by committing to an attitude of optimism.
Although we would all like to say we are like this, reality is that we live in a world full of problem, brokenness, negativity and self-centeredness, which means that positive thinking has to be a daily choice.
Making that choice is easy – but carrying out the daily actions that support that choice is easier said than done. So let’s keep it simple! Below are five easy steps that can help jump start your journey to leaving the life of a pessimist, and embracing the life of an optimist instead:
1. Commit to being grateful.
– Have you really counted your blessings lately, or have you been so focused on all the things that are wrong in your life, that you have overlooked all the things that are right? Take a few moments to thank God for all of your blessings, and even hardships, because heartfelt gratitude leads to a positive attitude.
* Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.
2. Free your mind from worries.
– If your mind is full of worry, then there is no room for anything else – much less positive thoughts. Lay those burdens at foot of the cross today, and ask God to replace your worry, with hope and peace.
* Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
3. Keep things in perspective.
– The more we focus on our problems, the bigger our problems seem to be. With enough negative thinking, our problems can become bigger than we are, and may even feel bigger than God. But God is bigger than all our problems, and He always has a plan and a purpose for what we go through. Ask Him to help you see people and problems in a new perspective, and give you a fresh glimpse of His point of view.
* Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
4. Help someone else.
– Anytime we are focusing on someone else, we automatically take the focus off of ourselves. Be alert for opportunities that will allow you to help others. Seek out to do at least one random act of kindness each day.
* Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
5. Love the Lord with all your heart.
– Joy comes from God. Today may not be the best day, but each day we are given breath, is a day to rejoice.
* Psalm 118:24 The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
So, friends, have a fabulous and wonderful day today! (unless you already have other plans. Smiles.)