I was a young stay at home mom when I first learned that the first and most important step in any endeavor is just show up. It was when my emotions were embedded in stubborn and my will staunchly stuck on neutral, that showing up was about the best I could do. I went reluctantly, probably better described as kicking and screaming into the task, but as a first step, showing up was progress. Has this ever happened to you? You’ve agreed to do something, made a commitment that seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you feel only dread? Maybe it’s your own overbooked schedule – just too much. The day comes, you wake up, open your eyes and start testing for signs of a rare disease, or at least a severe case of the flu. There has to be a convincing reason for not doing that unbearable chore; you can’t just say you don’t feel like it, although that’s a pretty accurate assessment. How do you move beyond this stage and make progress? How do you spare yourself defeat?
If you’ve ever been here, you know it takes a lot of effort to get there. Maybe these ideas will help a little. I can assure you that keeping a promise and doing what you say you will is liberating. You won’t realize it now because your emotions are at war down to your toes and that’s where your feet are. Take these three steps with me. The project won’t disappear, but the burden will. Attitude doesn’t remove the problem; it transforms our perception.
Show Up – Put on your happy face, open the door, go in the direction of … well you get the picture. Go where you are expected and arrive with a positive attitude. There are good reasons to keep commitments, even when you would rather be stuck on an elevator when the power goes out. What happens when you show up with a negative attitude? Here’s what it says in Proverbs 18:3 “When a wicked person arrives, contempt shows up with him, and with shame comes a reproach.” Wicked person? You’re not a wicked person are you? Isn’t that the opposite of what you want to happen? I’m pretty confident that Psalm 24:3-6 is more in line with the results you want. “Who is allowed to ascend the mountain of the Lord? The one whose deeds are blameless and whose motives are pure, who does not lie, or make promises with no intention of keeping them. Such godly people are rewarded by the Lord.Such purity characterizes the people who seek his favor”
Act As If – Emotions are fickle, aren’t they? Happy one minute, sad the next. Petrified with fear, only to feel it turn to excitement seconds later. It’s a factor of human DNA. Emotions serve a purpose, but may not be a reliable source of motivation. Let’s try this. All the way from where you are now to where you need to be, talk to God and ask him to change your heart. Here is your opportunity for ultimate mind altering transformation. In Jeremiah 33:3, God promises ‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’ Act as if you want to keep your commitment, fulfill your promise, complete the assignment. Once your emotions,that dread you’re feeling, calms down, your will can catch up. Getting there from where you were is impossible without the right mindset, the prayer time with God, the positive self-talk, and the resolve to finish what you started.
Just Start – To finish what you start requires that you start. Seems straightforward, right? You can complain, change the timeframe, make excuses, rationalize, and simply quit. None of them are effective at completing the project, keeping commitments, or fulfilling a promise. Just start – then keep going until you’ve succeeded at the task. Psalm 20:4 offers this hope “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” I’m not making this up. Remember when I suggested talking to God about all that’s getting in your way? Isaiah 40:31 has you covered. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
There is no miracle cure for an overextended schedule, burdens don’t evaporate along with vaporous time. (James 4:14)
This is the weekend and before we know it, Monday will arrive. I love every day of the week, but I’m also persistently cheering for the underdog. Monday is the underdog by most people’s standards, so I’ve decided that every Monday is the day to be awesome. Pop quiz. Fill in the blank: Ma_ic (g or n)? Magic or Manic what’s your plan? You know Proverbs 15:22 has this to say “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Let’s plan now to make all our plans succeed. Attitude applies to everything we do, regardless of our position or the role we play. Attitude doesn’t remove the problem; it transforms our perception.
What happens if you peer into the future and see nothing but a bunch of discouraging stumbling blocks? John 16:33 says we will have plenty of trouble. He also promises support in Psalm 68:19 “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” So what to with all those stumbling blocks … flip them over and use them for stepping stones.
I still fail a lot. I often over pack my capacity. But it’s rare that my attitude prevents me from making progress. If I notice a lag in motivation, I remember those stumbling blocks are there for a purpose – to be used as stepping stones. Attitude transforms perception. Show up. Act As If. Start. Never, never, never give up.
I love the Message translation of Galatians 5:16 “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit.” That sounds like the best advice for every day. Let’s get out there!
You were made to shine. Seriously – you were made for more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBoJZdgEt_U