I once worked with a woman who was a constant downer, and felt it necessary to express to me her every negative thought. . …… The meetings were always too long; the content was irrelevant to her; her raise was not big enough; she had to work too long; she was bored with her responsibilities; her breaks were not long enough; she was treated unfairly; her chair was not comfortable; her family didnt appreciate her; her grocery store didnt carry her favorite brand of bread anymore; her clothes were old; her co-workers were out to get her; her husband was never meeting her needs; her children were selfish.
I always felt a bit grumpy myself after spending any time with her, and sometimes would even catch myself starting to sound like her.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is a joy to be around. I can spend ten minutes in her presence, and my spirits are lifted. I find myself laughing about the silliest things, and we are just silly together. She always wears a smile, has a smiley face on her heart, and is just really pleasant. People love being around her, because she makes them feel good. It feels refreshingly fun to hang out with her, no matter what we are doing!
I can only hope I frequently find myself being more like her!
People influence our attitudes.
Most likely you have also known people from both of these spectrums. But have you ever thought about how they made you act after spending time with them?
If you are allowing that positive person to rub off on you, then you go girl! But if it is a negative person who is influencing your attitude, then it may be time to make a change.
I know, we dont like change. Change is hard.
Especially considering that our world can be a negative place. Just turn on the morning news, for example. The primary news you will hear will be how many houses burned downed overnight; who got killed/molested/kidnapped or shot; the economy is failing; jobs are being lost; houses are being foreclosed on; rush hour delays; horrific weather stories; people trying to take God out of everything; human suffering…. and so on. Depressing!
The media influences our attitudes.
If you are like me, even after turning off the television or radio and getting on with my day, those negative stories stick with me. Some things I hear are so disturbing, I cant seem to let them go.
Then I go upstairs and happen to see the war zone, also known as my daughters bedroom; the laundry is piling up; the kitchen is dirty; forty seven pairs of shoes are scattered throughout the den; and it is already time to go back to the grocery store; my car is making a noise; traffic is terrible; (enter your own frustrations here). Grrrr.
Life influences our attitudes.
So what happened to the good news? What happened to the joy?
Its all still there for the asking! The key is in the asking.
Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:9 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Challenge: A couple days ago we talked about asking for faith, hope and peace. Today, lets ask for unshakable joy.
To start finding that joy, consider what thing have had the most influence on your attitude lately. Think about what you can do to change the negative influences on your life, if action is necessary. Consider some of the below suggestions.
1) If there is someone that you spend time with who is negatively influencing your attitude with their consistent pessimism and complaining, decide to make a change that will benefit you and your walk with Christ.
You can either begin to try to counteract each of their negative statements with a positive response or optimistic outlook on things, hopefully eventually influencing them to be a more positive person as well. But, if your efforts go in vain, consider whether or not this is a relationship you should stay actively involved in.
2) Make a commitment not to listen to all that bad news every day. Just because the news is on, does not mean we have to tune in! Choose not to watch shows whose characters do not exhibit lives that portray Christ or adhere to Godly values.
That type of media negativity and tolerance for things that do not line up with what we believe, can seep into your heart without you knowing it, and affect the decisions you make in your life, in addition to affecting your attitude.
3) Choose to be that refreshingly fun person today! Choose to be someone who people enjoy being around, and ask God to convict your heart before any negative words leave your lips. Consider how you are influencing the attitudes of the people in your life.
4) Last but not least, ask for the desires of your heart. Ask God for what you desire. Do you desire to be a more positive person? Do you wish you could have an optimist attitude about things, instead of automatically looking at the negative side of things? Do you wish you were a little more outgoing and refreshing?
Ask God to help you build the fruits of the spirit in your heart. Those fruits, all growing together, will make it impossible for negative roots to grow. So the outcome, is a sunnier and more fruitful you!