Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Optimist Challenge Day 1

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.



THE OPTIMIST CHALLENGE BEGINS!
Day 1: Remember that you are in control of your own behavior.
There are many things that cause us to feel stressed, but one of the most common factors is other people. 

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! 

Optimist Challenge Day 1SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

43 comments:

Michele Welch said...

I am excited about this challenge and today's message is such a great start. Thanks Tracie!

Lynn Bowman said...

Thank you for starting this challenge. I really believe it will help strengthen my faith walk. Loved today's message! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tracie, this devotion has already hit the spot. Last night my sister-in-law called my husband to talk about their mom who is struggling with dementia or something like that. Well, there are 3 of the sibllings who are sort of accusing me of something that I didn't do regarding my mother-in-law. I was so angry last night but my husband calmly said not to worry about it. Well, that is not typically my response. I want to fight back. But, I let the Spirit move me and when my sister-in-law was on fb this morning and started talking to me - I showed grace. Well, I didn't but the Holy Spirit working in me did. God is good! I love the I Peter 3:16 verse in the Message Bible. Nanci @ kelbla@aol.com

Kim Mora said...

I can't wait to focus on being more positive on a daily basis. My thought process seems to always lean more to the negative. Thanks Tracie for doing this challenge!

agape13c said...

Wow. The Lord gives us reminders just when we need them. I will try to react in a loving way even though my feelings want to fight.
Can't wait for the rest of these messages.

SueBE said...

Tracie,
You really hit the ground running with this one! I'm always telling my son not to give other people his power, don't let them force him into negative reactions. Of course, I need someone to remind me of that on a daily basis. And you just did. Thank you!
--SueBE

cjr said...

I am excited yet scared about this challenge! I have been a pesimist for at least the last 13 years of my life. I have been through a verbally abusive marraiage that ended in divorce. I remarried to a wonderful man, but lost my dad to a stroke 5 months later. I was laid off from job because I would not have "relations" with my boss. I also have an estranged relationship with a sibling. I definetly need some optimism that things will get better. I do know that I have a lot to be thankful for but I have a tendency to hang on to the many hurts of the past!

LaTara said...

WOW! You weren't kidding when you called it a challenge. Thank you for challenging my negative side, though. I will be praying Psalm 51:12 as you suggested. Off to a great start and can't wait for the next challenge. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Loving this challenge already! I'm excited (and just a wee bit scared)about whats ahead......
-
Rubi

Laura said...

I signed up for this challenge last night and hate to say that I'd already forgotten about it this morning. Thank you for your post today - I really needed the reminder.

In Christ,
Laura

Mary Crupper said...

With all of the turmoil in the world today, I know these challenges will be a blessing to me, and I am passing them on to my daughter and granddaughter.

Linda said...

Thank you Tracie! Today's message was exactly what I needed to hear & a great way to kick off the challenge.

A Nest in the Rocks said...

Love that verse! I'm going to be memorizing this one ...

Charlotte said...

Thanks for your inspiring words and challenge...

Carly Barlow said...

I'm in!! Just what I needed, thank you Lord!!

Michellee said...

Everyday, I struggle with the negative mindset. I challenge myself with prayer for God to captivate my thoughts. I do good for a while, then when I least expect it, I'm even speaking them out loud to a coworker.. Then later as I sit and ponder the day, I regret my words and my thoughts. I don't know why I have such a struggle with this. Thanks for sharing and challenging us/me. Many Blessings to you and your family!

Joanna said...

Thank you! Today's goal... Do not allow my toddler's tantrums to incite a mommy tantrum!

Janine said...

I love the part about not "letting other people steal your joy". That's something I became aware of a little while back and try not to let happen. The devotion helps empower me with the scripture references that I can cling to when I am weak! Amen to that!

Anonymous said...

okay, count me in. very timely.

Cindy said...

Sadly, I have allowed others to "control" how I react. I am now encouraged to not let others steal my joy. Especially love the 1 Peter verse in The Message! :-)

Jodi said...

Thanks so much for this challenge, it is perfect for me right now, I LOVE the verse for today,Psalm 51:12, I am adding it to my memory verses this week for sure.
Blessings~

Deb said...

Wow - this is so awesome! What a great encouragement, so looking forward to all the challenges. Thank you!

Mollie said...

Exactly what I need right now! God is working through you!

Dawn said...

This is the part of today's challenge that really pierced my heart. Are you allowing a certain person to steal away the joy that God is offering you? I am trying to make a decision about going back to work at a place where my supervisor (she is no longer there) crushed my spirit. I do not want my fear to dictate my feelings and actions. Thank you for this timely devotional. Blessings to you, Tracie!

Butterfly said...

What a great way to start this challenge. I have one person right now whom I am letting "steal" my peace of mind. I am going to start praying for her instead of rehashing what she has said.

Jewels said...

I really appreciate your thoughts for today's challenge. I just wish I read it earlier this morning. I was faced with a test this morning and failed. I pray the Lord to lead me in the right direction for future situations. Thank you.

Raspberrymama said...

Thank you for your ministry and faithfulness to God! I am so encouraged and filled with hope for this challenge!! God bless you!

valerie in TX said...

Wow, being "optimistic" is so much harder than controlling your behavior, isn't it? I might be able to force myself to bite my tongue and be polite, but to truly be optimistic about some situations seems all but impossible sometimes. Praying for God's strength.

~Lynn said...

I needed this today. Thank you so much.

Kim Heredia said...

Wow, being in control of emotional reactions is so challanging. Something clicked in a little more though reading again that joy is a gift of faith- seeing what is not as though it were. THanks.

Pam said...

So encouraged and challenged with this post, Tracie. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am excited for this challenge as it hits a bit close to home. I have allowed hurt/anger to become a natural response and am looking forward to choosing better!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you again Tracie for this challenge! I have been upset this week about a comment that was made to my son and have been wanting to retaliate. Your post reminds me that it will not bring glory to God and I will regret it later.

Blessings,
Janet
gatorgirl66@hotmail.com

cupcake said...

I really need this right now. God is Good!!

Debbie C said...

Love the day 1 challenge! It has already helped me with a situation that had really wreaked my nerve. I was able to remember that I was in control of my emotions and this allowed me to deal patiently with a friend in need. I'm better able to serve her as a sister in the faith; willing to stand in the gap "a little while longer". Thanks for the post...

Mary S. said...

Just read this after I had done some complaining at work on how I did not appreciate the way someone handled a situation! I let them steal my joy. Probably made a bigger deal of it than it really was. Stepping out of my office with a new frame of mind!!

SJ said...

Oh boy does this hit home, no one steals my joy, I give it to them. Gotta get to work on that!

Mansion Moms said...

This is a wonderful sentence to live by and one I plan to write in my Bible. Thank you for your challenge! "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."

Kim said...

Okay, I'm going to take the plunge. I tend to be more of a cynical person and need to be more of an optimist. Thanks for the motivation!

emily said...

I would like to and need to work on not letting others steal my joy.

one-step-at-a-time said...

How many times do I blame others for my actions? The answer is hard to hear. The sad truth is I have even been known by those closest to me to figuratively throw someone under the bus in fear of saving myself. I can't let negative situations or people control how I respond. My mom has often encouraged me stop being a reactor and I find great wisdom in this. Only in God's strength can I over- come my human sin of finding scapegoats to shield myself from my own responsibility.

juliekg122 said...

Oh this reminds me of a lesson my dad taught me when I was about 4 (and I still remember it like it was yesterday!) "No one makes you do anything." Such a great reminder that I need to control my reaction to the situation. Thanks for sharing the scripture from The Message - I especially liked the mud slinging picture. I'll need to focus on that today. Thanks again

HeBGB said...

Thank you for this challenge. Every day is a totally different day when viewed through this lens.