Thursday, August 13, 2009

Faith Zone Challenge #2: Change Your Attitude

"If he/she would just stop doing (xxxxxx), then we would not have these problems anymore."

"If he would learn how to treat me better, then we could get along just fine."

"If I just made more money or got a different job, then I could be happy."

"If I did not have this health problem, then I could serve in my church."

"If he/she had a better attitude, then I could have one too."

"If I wasn't so depressed, I would try to have more faith".

"If only I could (xxxxx), then everything would be okay."

Have you ever found yourself saying these types of things?

Have you ever been pulled into a game of mental chatter that convinces you that your happiness, joy, contentment and enthusiasm for life hinges on everything going your way, material items coming into your possession, and/or major changes taking place in your life and the people in it?

Have you ever found yourself putting God to the test - if He answers your prayers just right, then you will love Him more?

Most of us have lots of "ifs, ands, and buts" for why all of our problems are someone elses fault, why our negativity and pessimism are justified, why our faith is lacking, and why we have every right to continue living in a perpetual poor-me pity party.

Unfortunately, this type of attitude only digs our hole a little deeper, and further separates us from God. So why do we keep doing it? The only logical reason I can come up with, is because people either simply do not know how to change, or do not believe that they can change.

Great news! God gave us an amazing gift - the gift of free will....not just free will in our actions, but also in our thoughts. We may not have the power to change our circumstances or the people in our lives, but we ALWAYS have the power to change our own attitudes.

My mom always reminds me of the serenity prayer when I start grumbling about something that is outside of my power to change. It says, "Lord, help me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That always helps me keep things in perspective.For the sake of today's challenge, I'd like to put a different spin on that prayer. What if it went something like this, "Lord, help me to accept the people I cannot change, to change the ones I can, and to know that one is ME."

No matter how many great things may happen in our lives, there will always be something that can steal our joy, whether it be people or circumstances. Trust me friend, the devil will make sure of it. That ol devil is the master of self-condemnation, ridicule, shame, guilt, blame, finger pointing, rudeness, bitterness, discontent, discouragement, and joylessness. He spends a great deal of time and effort trying to win us over to his way of thinking.

The devil is not after our wealth, health, family, security or homes - he is after our attitude. After all, when we have a bad attitude, we are no longer a threat. If we live in a state of bitterness, he no longer needs to worry about us sharing Gods love with others, reaching out to those in need, and building God's kingdom. Yep, he can move on to some other poor soul who is teetering on the edge of discouragement and separation from God.

Let's face it:

-It is so much easier to be mean to a person who has been mean to you, than it is to pray for them, forgive them, and maintain a smile and joyful heart.

-It is much easier to fall into the unethical practices of the corporate world, than it is to stand up for what is right despite the costs.

-It is much easier to join in the gossip session, than make it known that you want no part of it.

-It is much easier to criticize your husband and hold a well tallied list of all of his flaws, than to forgive him.

-It is much easier to yell at your kids, than exercise patience and respond in love.

-It is much easier to resent the mother who has seven kids, when you cant even have one baby, than it is to thank God for blessing her with a family.

-It is so much easier to be bitter, than it is to choose joy despite our circumstances.

Do we really want the easy way? Is it truly easier? If we constantly travel the easy road - what is setting us apart from the rest of the world? I dare say - nothing at all.

Our outward attitude is a reflection of our inward heart. Our outward actions are a reflection of our inward beliefs. Our life is a reflection of our spiritual heartbeat.

A heartbeat that beats for God, is one fueled by unbreakable, unshakable joy. The type of joy that is unaffected by circumstances. A positive state of mind. A deep joy, fueled by contentment, confidence and hope.

Spending time with Christ builds a desire in us to be more like Him. Having an attitude of joy, gratefulness, faith and hope - despite and regardless of our circumstances - prepares our hearts to really begin hearing Him speak.

Move over sister, God still needs a little more room today.

Challenge #2: Let God's light shine brightly through you today - even if someone licks the red off of your sucker. Be kind to those who are unkind. Be giving to those who dont give. Look for the positive in every situation you encounter.

1 Peter 1:13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy." (The Message)

Prayer For Today:
Dear Jesus, this is a hard challenge! I try to be positive, but things happen in my life that steal the joy right out from under me. You know the situations I am dealing with; you know the pain in my heart; you know the battles that I am facing, and the ones to come that I am unaware of. I pray that you will be with me Lord every step of the way, today and every day, to help me break the bondage of negativity in my heart and seek out joy and hope in you. I am so desperate for the type of joy that you tell us about in your Word. I seek out that joy and ask that you pour your love into my heart so that thoughts of you and wisdom of your sovereignty will control my actions throughout each day. Prepare my heart Lord, for a mighty work.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Faith Zone Challenge #2: Change Your AttitudeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Eagles Wings said...

Okay I'm in..this is the third thing I've read this morning about attitutde...I give...Lord!
Another Pastors wife friend of mine has one called Preparedness vs Disappointment - good read also.

Ann said...

Just so you know, God is speaking through you to me so's awesome. The fact that I am amazed actaully disappoints me, because I shouldn't be- it should be a natural everyday occurance. But I think I've made so little room for Him as of late that I have forgotten how good it feels to let Him be in control and for me to LET Him.

Thank you...
Ann in SC

Mary said...

Thank you for today's challenge. I am getting together with a friend today who is very negative. I am praying God will give me the strength to stay positive and show her God's love.

Beth said...

Somedays the world works so hard to steal our joy. And my attitude and the attitude of others are huge factors. I'm in a corporate meeting all day today - it will be interesting to see God at work today and how I might be used for His service....

Jill said...

Again Tracie, great words! YOur post makes me think of Chuck Swindoll's words on attitude. I always enjoyed and appreciated those thoughts as an athlete and coach and finally recently realized how true they are on the walk of faith. You mention the devil roaring and since I've returned from She Speaks I feel I sense that more and more everyday, what a challenge! Look forward to winning that battle as we move ahead with the faith challenge. Blessings to you, Jill

Jeannie said...

Two days ago was my first time to your blog and as always God's perfect timing. Just in time for the Challenge. Thank you for todays' challenge.

The Seeking Mom said...

Thank you for your words on forgiveness...another hard thing I need to work on during this challenge and afterward. I'm reading a good book on it right now, but any help I can get on this topic is good for me. Can't wait for tomorrow's challenge...

Tracey said...

God may not always come exactly when you call Him… but He is always on time. Your message is "on time." This is also my third thing I've read this morning on attitude and choosing to be joyful. I have definately felt a battle going on inside me the last couple of days and your posting has definately encouraged me. I know that God has big plans for me (don't know what they are yet) and I need to trust Him and push the negative feelings out of my mind and heart. Thank you again Tracie!

Angie said...

This one was a little "ouchie", step on my toes challenge.

I am so quilty of the "if you would do this and act this way, I would do that for you." I am quilty of this action with my husband. It is a vicious cycle that is getting us no where. It is so easy to keep this attitude with him, but an attitude that needs to change.

The verse in 1 Peter was illuminated to me. It IS so easy to slip back into old ways because the new ways do take work. I didn't know better before, but I do now.

Day 2.....I've got some work to do.

Thanks Tracie!

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I was up and ready...said let's go....had lots of energy...Today satan is using all his weapons to try to beat me at this. I was up same time....but before heading to my quiet time place which is the first thing I do when I get up... many other things were placed before me.

Thanks for your encouragement to help me fight good ole satan. I do give into him way more than I would like to.

Mary your friend who is very negative...Hang in there with her. God's love always wins out. Satan is always trying to bring us down to his level. I find people who have negative attitudes...have been through some great trials and let satan win most of the time.

Feel Jesus step close to you whispering in your ear.....Let's NEVER give up... Keep on trying...Now feel the victory moment. Jesus is very impressed by our faith and hope.

God Bless....Tracie prayers have been sent up for you too keep us going you have a wonderful gift. Keep the faith.


Jamie said...

Thank you for the challenge! I came across your blog as a result of the Proverbs 31 devotional I get everyday.
I have been reminded over and over that God doesn't ask us to do things that we, with His help, can't handle. If He tells us to do things without complaining and grumbling, it is because He knows we can do it. We just have to die to ourselves and yield to Him...Easier said than done, but it's possible!

Connie said...

To be truthful my attitude can become one of complaining and criticizing those around me...and I have to always do the difficult things when that happens...stop speaking negatively, admit that I was wrong to those I am criticizing and ask for their forgiveness. So much good comes when I do that...walls come down and relationships are restored.

Danielle said...

Man, it could have been me typing Angie's post. Sister, I am right there with you. God has been dealing with me on that very issue.

Thanks Tracie for this challenge today! God so spoke to me this morning about some things and this just goes right along with it.

Anonymous said...

So today fit right into the challenge #2. When I arrived at my office - things were overwhelming! I choose to not be negative - but know that God has it handled and just maybe my calmness and positive spirit that God gives me will rub off on someone else - or better - they ask me how I can be so calm! Thanks Lord - in You there is victory.
-Sherry Hallauer

GBBC Women's Ministry said...

Wow!! This is also the third thing I've read today about attitude and joy!! Thank you God for speaking to me through Tracie! Thank you Tracie for being a sweet messenger!

God is good all the time!

Erica in Ga

Charlene Kidd said...

Great Challenge Tracie, there have been so many times that I am guilty of the "what ifs". Had a great quiet time today-actually got it in while on the riding lawn mower!! I was certainly a captive audience to Him.

Joyful said...

Well Tracie, I read this early this morning, but thought I'd wait to comment after more of the day had passed and I'd applied the challenge!

Looking for the positive! I'm reminded of a quote from the movie "Pollyanna". Pollyanna is reading the inscription in her locket, which is actually a quote by Abraham Lincoln. "When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will." The opposite is also true.

I've had a wonderful day focusing on the good...and the amazing thing is/ I spoke positively all day, I noticed my 17 year old son did too.

Thanks for this challenge Tracie.

Mari said...

This one stepped on my toes! I have a sandpaper person at my job. I asked God to show me something positive about him. Well, if God didn't just answer right away! I couldn't complain about him today. It's a start. I do suffer from a complaining tongue but I am praying to have that burned out of me by the fire of God's love for holiness!

Anonymous said...

WOW is this challenge ever meant for me! I've been saying for some time that I have an attitude problem with some situations in my life. I pray my attitude will be changed thru this challenge.
Thanks Tracie.
God Bless,

Anonymous said...

As others have stated,I know it was put upon my heart by the Holy Spirit to be led to read P31 to read here the other day. I took the challenge very personal. I am praying that the Lord will allow me to find the direction and guidance that I need right now for myself and my family. First and foremost though I know I have to get it together with the Lord's help, so I'm staying tuned in to the Challenge.