When I woke up at 6, I realized right away the day wasn’t going to go like I’d planned. I turned on the electric kettle to heat water for coffee, but the electricity went out! When I tried flipping the breaker switches back on, they kept switching off again. I could feel my positive outlook draining away. How could I get my joy back with no electricity or coffee?
After a busy weekend of ministry commitments, I’d planned a quiet Monday morning, but instead my husband and I spent an hour trying to identify the cause of the electrical failure. Then Jose contacted three electricians before finding one that could actually come that morning. For several hours, we had men walking through the house, checking every socket and appliance.
My job was to keep our dog away from the repairmen, help my daughter stay positive, and try not to think about105-degree heat with no air conditioning.
Finally at 12:30, the repairmen discovered our hot water heater had a serious problem. They switched it off before they left. Now we’d have to take showers with frigid well water until we could get a new one.
I realized I had a choice.
Would I hold on to my frustration and let a bad morning ruin the rest of my day? Or would I choose to be grateful for the blessings of electricity and the cooling power of air conditioning and cold water?
Honestly, I did not turn into Miss Pollyanna Sunshine, but I did try to adopt a better outlook. I decided to let go of the expectations I’d had for the morning and make the best of the remaining hours in the day.
Sometimes you just have to choose a positive attitude.
Problems are part of this life. You probably have a lot more to deal with than 6 hours without electricity and a week of frigid showers. Truth be told, I do too. So when life gets challenging, overwhelming, or downright depressing, we have to choose carefully what thoughts we will allow to take up residence in our minds.
I’m making this my prayer:
David’s prayer in Psalm 19 reminds me to ask God to help me watch what I say and what I think about. In challenging circumstances, I tend to get stuck on an inner rant about everything in life that’s going wrong, but I’d rather turn my mind heavenward. Wouldn’t you?
When negative thoughts bring us down, 5 steps empower us to choose a more positive outlook:
1. Choose Gratitude.
Maybe the hot water heater was out of commission one week, but wasn’t I thankful for the other 51 weeks I enjoyed hot showers? My kids may drive me crazy sometimes, but I’m grateful they’re healthy and bursting with creative energy.
When life gets glitchy, or even downright hard, I’m sure you can find things to give thanks for as well.
2. Embrace Joy.
Let’s not allow our problems blind us to the joy we can find in this beautiful life God has given us. What can we enjoy today? What makes us smile? What if we focus on those things?
3. Cling to Faith.
Fears may assail our hearts, but we have a God who can do more than we ask or imagine. He never leaves us. He promises to strengthen and help us. (Isaiah 41:10)
4. Hang your Heart on Hope.
Hard things happen, but our Heavenly Father is a God of hope. He delights to fill our hearts with joy and peace as we trust Him.
Are you facing a hard challenge today? What if you declare out loud: “Today I place my hope in God who works all things for my good”?
5. Put on Praise.
When I step up to the plate to praise God, I realize I have reasons to rejoice even if I have to take a cold shower today. Jesus rescued me from sin to give me new and abundant life.
What can you praise God for today? How is He showing His faithfulness in your challenges?
Life won’t always go according to our plans, but we can still choose to cultivate a positive outlook rather than take a nosedive into frustration or despair. We may feel powerless to control our thoughts, but we have a powerful God. Let’s ask Him to fill our hearts and minds today with gratitude, joy, faith, hope, and praise.
Now it’s your turn: Have you ever noticed how negative thinking can make a bad situation even harder? What helps you stay positive?