A local news channel in West Michigan often publishes a question to raise enthusiasm for the weekend and, of course for their broadcast popularity. Nothing wrong with that. If my purpose was to grab attention and get people to pay attention, like a news channel, I’d kindle a response on a Thursday night too. That one question though started an unpredicted recall process that left me a little bewildered. Not because I don’t already have a calendar full of possibilities, but because I do. I’m a list maker and a natural born planner, albeit a very flexible planner because I like to keep my options open. I have a thick spiral notebook with beautiful floral pages that I handwrite my list of options on. And there’s that word that got stuck in my head and refused to budge. Options!
As my mind was anticipating the weekend ahead and annotating plans to go to a high school play, maybe two high school plays, spending Sunday afternoon with my family, having breakfast with my accountability friend, and enjoying fresh, dark coffee made with my Keurig brewer, I stopped. Right there in the middle of those thoughts whirling in expectancy I realized how blessed I am to have options. There are many who don’t have options. They have physical limitations, they have financial restrictions, their health confines them to a small, safe space. I couldn’t turn off the thoughts of individuals suffering from serious illness, and their families who suffer with them. Weather in parts of our country have ravaged areas and left people homeless for weeks. What options do they have? I was watching a program on TV that showed the poverty in countries where the only drinking water comes from polluted sources. They have no options. We love options. We’re dismayed at their absence.
I confess. I’ve done my share of complaining this week. Maybe not vocally where others could hear me, but my mind has been contaminated with little grievances. The problem with little grievances, is that they procreate and like any other living organism, they grow to the size of their nurturing environment. Do you ever feel like this? Nobody is perfect. Everyone is allowed to complain. It’s OK because life isn’t fair and I’m just being realistic. Good point. But not valid. Nothing good comes out of complaining. Complaining is a decrepit option. Philippians 2:14 says “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,” Interesting! Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining. Those negative thoughts should be fleeting, not resident. I should renew my mind Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Renewing my mind is a favorable option. Realistic is recognizing what I have instead of what I don’t have. Realistic is being aware of what I can do, instead of what I cannot. Renewing my mind, refreshing my attitude, regenerating a right spirit within me are options; options as real as the plans I’ve made for the weekend. Sometimes I overlook the blessings in my life. I often forget that I have options. One option is to adjust my attitude so thankfulness is at the top of the list; the predominant characteristic. If I get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 139:23-24 (the Message) “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life.” But I need help – lots of help! Well, there’s an app for that. Psalm 55:16 “I call to God; God will help me. At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.” I still have plans for the weekend, but option one is a renewed mind, and thankful spirit.
Happy Friday, everyone!