Sometimes God takes me back to kindergarten, spiritually speaking. I spend time reading theological treatises, but I sometimes forget the most basic and simple of truths. Here’s one of those basic truths I sometimes struggle with: We choose our attitudes.
We don’t choose our circumstances. We don’t choose the weather, the direction of the economy, what people around us will do, or the direction of world events. If we could choose our circumstances, we would avoid discomfort every time, and in doing so, we would miss out on some amazing opportunities for growth.
So we don’t get to choose our situation, but we do get to choose our attitudes. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
Philippians 4:8 NRSV
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
In other words, focus your thinking on better alternatives.
Here are at least four attitudes we get to choose:
I Can Choose Confidence In Spite of My Circumstances
Confidence is a choice.
I didn’t always understand this. I assumed that some people were simply more naturally confident than others and that confidence was probably the result of being awesome.
The truth is, confidence is something we cultivate by reminding ourselves of who we are, what we believe, and what we value.
Confident people tell themselves a hopeful story about their circumstances.
I Can Choose to Be Positive In Spite of Criticism
Anyone who has ever had any influence on their surrounding culture has endured criticism. And often that criticism comes from the circles of people from whom we would least expect it.
But criticism doesn’t have to defeat us.
We should draw out of criticism anything that might be true and use it to our advantage and then focus on dying to self, denying our ego, and refusing to become defensive.
I Can Be Hopeful When Nothing Seems Certain
Some of the toughest times we go through aren’t necessarily times of deep loss, but rather are times of waiting, times of uncertainty and unrest. When our presumed reality seems to be threatened and the positive things we were counting on seem to fall through, we can still be hopeful.
The entire Christian story is enveloped in hope! Creation, redemption, resurrection, re-creation… it’s all about hope! And our hope isn’t simply for what happens after this life, but for the ways in which God’s kingdom can make an impact on our world through us!
I Can Choose to Be Content with Christ Alone
Of the four choices I’m mentioning, this one is by far the toughest. It really takes a lifetime for us to get this one down.
Being content, in our culture, is tough because we’re constantly inundated with the message that we need more in order to be fulfilled and satisfied.
But contentment isn’t about what I have or who I know or what I’ve done. It’s an internal attitude. It’s a posture of the heart.
Contentment boils down to accepting with gratitude whatever God has in mind for us and surrendering our own idea of what is necessary in exchange for His idea of it.
Attitudes don’t happen. They’re chosen.
So choose wisely.
Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash.
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