Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 8: Optimist Challenge

Day 8: Stop letting other peoples negative attitudes influence yours.

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.

Our walk with Christ influences our attitudes.

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!

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Joyful said...

Tracie, the news came on Saturday night and I asked my husband to turn it off - it just seemed to be bombarding me and adding to concerns already heavy in my heart.

With my parents giving me the name "Joy", the Lord is enabling me to live up to that name. I am a twin, and my parents did not know they were having twins until my sister and I were born and they were just so happy, that's how I received my name.

I do ask the Lord to fill me with His joy. The Psalmist tells us that in His presence is fulness of joy and John tells us that with His joy in us our joy is made complete.

Today I pray that the Lord will make me His Joy to others.

Anticipating a great day!

Anonymous said...

Dear God, I ask you for unshakeable Joy. Please "restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me" Psalm 51: 12. I want to rejoice, rejoice and rejoice indeed in every situation. Fill me with your JOY, and help me share it with others and not to pull them down with negativity.
Thank you for who you are in my life.

Becky said...

I am loving this much hope offered...
I try to choose to feel joyful every day...I ask God for joy and peace in my heart...When I am side-tracked by the externals of daily living, I try to consciously choose joy and peace...It works with some help from above :)
I am working now with a very negative person who is going thru a divorce and is not handling it well. It can be very trying...I pray for compassion and the ability to let go of the negativity when our paths meet.
I really needed this series as a booster shot :)

Lori said...

Joyce Meyer's said to make a conscious effort to wake up and CHOOSE JOY! "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." It's our choice to begin the day positively...

When there are people we have to be around that are negative...we can pray to God about this. God has answered this prayer request for me, so I know it works!

Also, choosing to be around uplifting people. I also have been blessed by the Proverbs 31 gals-blogs! They are very uplifting and I always am in a good mood after I tune in and read them!

Thank you Tracie for more good ideas!

Lori - Mesa, AZ

Tracey said...

I work with someone who isn't always negative but can be set off by the slightest thing. I find myself having to pray for her regularly so as I do not respond negatively to her. It has helped me in dealing with her daily.

I'm not always a happy, peppy person...but I am a work in progress!

Brandi said...

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Philippians 2:13

As I was logging on this morning, checking my email, this was the Air 1 verse of the day. It made me smile.

I DO WANT UNSHAKEABLE JOY! I want to be that FUN person. And not lower myself to be negative with all the Nelly's out there.

B His Girl said...

Oh...a cool thing happen to me last week about the desires of my heart. I told my friend God was giving us the desires of our heart. He is opening new doors for me and talking about what is to come. It is a revealing season. The next day in my devotional Jesus Calling, it said something to the effect of 'Make me the desire of your heart.' WOW! I was floored. The desires of my heart are really for MORE of HIM. The things I do are just manifestations of that love growing. Perspective. Thank you Jesus for your girl Tracie. B

Carmen. said...

Please God give me unshakable joy every day, build in my heart the fruits of the spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Thank you Tracie!