Are you ready?
Are you nervous?
Are you worried that with everything going on in your life, trying to become an optimist might be an unrealistic, impossible goal to strive for?
Are you possibly thinking that you are much too busy to commit to a 10 day challenge, and wonder if it will even be worth your time?
Friends, I know the feeling. But with God, all things are possible. And when we make God a priority, the door is opened for Him to work mightily in our hearts and our lives – even when it comes to learning to be an optimist. So now might be a great time to say a quick prayer, and ask God to help you toss out all excuses!
Anything worth achieving, is worth working towards. Plus, I’ve heard that a positive attitude may not solve all our problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. Smiles. So regardless of your motivation, I pray you will join us in this quest for a transformed mind.
People can be wonderful – but people can also be mean, self centered, and hurtful.
Truth is, that since we are all sinners, and all flawed, we are all capable of not only being hurt, but hurting others as well. Maybe inadvertently. Maybe on purpose. But it hurts, nonetheless.
There have been times in my life when I have felt victimized by someone else. Times when I felt confused and even sad, about why someone appeared to not like me, or care about my feelings. Times when I knew I was being treated unfairly, but had no power to stand up for myself or change the situation.
Times when I really wanted to give someone a piece of my mind – and hurt them, the way they hurt me or someone that I loved.
But those are the times when we need to rely on God the most, to help us control our reactions to the actions of others. My sweet friend Lysa has said many times, “Feelings are indicators, not dictators. Our reactions determine our reach.”
When we remember that our feelings do not have to dictate our actions, then God will be able to use our reactions to reach others with His love. On the flip side, if we react in our power, relying on feelings to dictate our response, we will most likely react in ways that do not show love, much less bring glory to God – and ways that we will probably later regret.
Today – you may be struggling with feelings of hurt, pain, betrayal, or rejection. You may be wondering why someone feels they have the right to treat you unkindly. You may even be asking God what you ever did to deserve such unfair treatment.
You may be completely justified for being in a bad mood all the time – feeling hurt, angry, wronged or upset.
Maybe you are just tired of being hurt, and have allowed bitterness to become commonplace in your life as a means of protecting your own heart.
Sweet friend, today’s challenge can help you achieve freedom from your negative feelings, and begin pouring your energy into positive things instead.
We all have the opportunity to be free from the emotions that stir in our hearts. We can embrace that opportunity by asking God to peel away all the layers of hurt in our hearts, and begin filling those empty spaces with thoughts of His goodness, and all the reasons that we have to be joyful.
trying to be positive does not mean that all of our problems will vanish, but it does mean we can have joy in the midst of them. Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances, but joy is a gift of faith that can be ours. It all begins with the renewing of our mind.
The verse below from The Message Bible sums up today’s topic perfectly:
1 Peter 3:16 ….Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God. (The Message Bible)
We cannot control how other people feel, act or behave – although we would all like to at times. However, we always have total power over our own feelings and reactions. We can strive for righteousness and the spiritual maturity to respond in love, instead of lashing and allowing our emotions to have power over our reactions.
Day One Challenge Activity: Remember that you are in control of your own behavior.
Consider your reactions and behavior towards someone who has hurt you or betrayed you. Have you allowed their negative behavior to result in your negative reactions?
Are you allowing a certain person to steal away the joy that God is offering you? If so, consider praying this verse daily, asking God to mend your heart and restore your joy. Psalm 51:12, Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me
Also, try to think of a few ways you can change your behavior to allow them to see Christ through you – even if they don’t deserve it. Nobody can steal our God given joy away, unless we give them permission to.
Lastly, ask God to give you the strength to love the unlovable, and be more like Him in your dealings with them.
**Lysa TerKeurst shared some great thoughts about controlling our reactions in her March 2nd blog post. For more encouragement on today’s challenge, read her blog post here.
** Remember to leave a comment on each daily challenge to be entered for the Starbucks gift card!