Thanks to so many of you who commented on Friday about which of the 5 tips you would implement in your life to help better direct your thoughts. They were all inspiring, and I loved reading your stories! I so wish there could be more than one winner, but only one could be drawn. The lucky lady who wins a free copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, and a writing journal, is:
(For the rest of you, be sure to check out the bottom of this post for another free prize giveaway!)
The grouchy man went into the restaurant and said,
“Do you serve crabs here?”
And the waiter said, “Why, yes sir, we serve anybody here.”
Last Friday’s P31 devotion was about directing our thoughts in a positive direction, which ultimately boils down to being more optimistic. You have probably known some “crabs” in your life, and maybe sometimes you have even found yourself being one! Yet, none of us want to be known as crabby, now do we?
But why is it so much easier to have a negative attitude than a positive one?
What is it about how we are made that causes us to naturally look at the negative side of things?
Even when we are focused on trying to be positive, it can take just one little thing – like someone cutting us off in traffic, hearing about a rumor, receiving some unexpected constructive criticism from a friend or co-worker, or not getting something we feel we deserved – to throw us into a tailspin of being in a bad mood and negativity.
I once read a quote that said “Negative attitudes come from negative thoughts that come from reactions to negative behavior.” This quote simply means that our thoughts and behaviors are a direct by-product of the status of our heart. So if we are not careful with our thoughts, then we will end up somewhere we do not want to be, just like that mishap on the school bus that I mentioned in the devotion.
So, how do we achieve a change of heart, which changes our thoughts, and ultimately changes our life?
How can we stay positive when facing difficult situations?
How can we keep our heart happy so that we continuously think and act in a way that glorifies our God?
I wish I could say that I knew a concrete answer for those questions, and I also wish I could say that I am always an optimist, but both would be untrue.
Yet what I do know for sure, is that negativity does not come from God. There is nothing negative about the way God thinks or acts, and nothing in the Bible tells us that negative behavior is condoned or accepted – despite our circumstances.
In fact, Gods Word says just the opposite. Philippians 2:5 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”.
Jesus had a lot of bad things to happen to Him, to say the least! Life was hard for Him. People hurt Him. People did not appreciate Him. He had to suffer unjustly. People rejected Him. People betrayed Him. People crucified Him.
But despite all that, was Jesus crabby, grumpy, resentful, bitter, unforgiving, rude or ungrateful? Did He develop a stern character of pessimism and negativity as a result of His hardships? Of course not, so we actually have no justification for being that way either, since our suffering, daily frustrations, or unjust treatment from others cannot hold a candle to what He suffered – for us.
We should long to be more positive for a lot of reasons, such as our own happiness and fulfillment, and so that we can be a witness to others of God’s love. But most importantly, we should strive to be an optimist because our sweet Jesus, who gave it all for us, deserves nothing less.
As we kick off this ten day challenge, trust me when I say that I will be challenged right along with you! Let’s embark on this journey together – to improve our attitudes, change our perspective, and pray for a heart of optimism and gratitude. A journey that will train our minds to leave the crabbiness to the crabs, and embrace the happiness that is within our reach through the reshaping of our thoughts.
If you are ready to become a true optimist, and willing to commit to the Optimist Challenge, leave a quick comment stating that you are in! Your commitment to allowing God to transform your heart and mind will create a special bond between you and all the prayerful men and women whose desire is to always see the glass half full, instead of half empty.
You will be amazed how a changed perspective, can lead to a change of peace and purpose.
Check back for the next 10 days (weekdays only) to get your daily Optimism challenge, or sign up to receive my blog posts in email. If you already a subscriber, then you are all set.
Just think, by October 4th, you could be a new and improved, more optimistic version of you!
As a special encouragement to participate in this challenge, I will be giving away a $10 Starbucks card at the end of the challenge. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on each of the 10 daily challenges! Winner announced October 5th.