In recent weeks it seems like every news item reports a sadistic act on instant repeat. If it isn’t political leaders crucifying each other, it’s people viciously brutalizing each other physically or emotionally. We have seen tension grow beyond boundaries. Do you remember when we could disagree, agreeably? When did we become a society that interprets the statement, “I disagree with you” as “I hate you”? Before you run for cover, far away from any political agenda, be assured this isn’t about that.
I’ve been deeply touched when social media posts are circulated with a note of praise or outright proclamations of thankfulness. Many of my friends have thought of shutting down their social media accounts because they are tired of the negativity. If you are one of them, please consider this. If all the people who appreciate life and choose to be positive stop posting on social media – that leaves only the negative to proliferate cyberspace. Right? Why don’t we, who seek the good and appreciate what we have, continue to post things that are encouraging and spread joy? Why not make the negative just the leftovers that nobody wants to consume?
We could start today with, “I am thankful for …’ and then fill in the blank. From the simplest, ‘I’m thankful my car started this morning.’ Or ‘I’m thankful for time spent with my family.’ To the more dramatic, ‘I’m thankful that my brain scan shows no signs of cancer.’ OK so what’s so touching about that? Look deeper with me. It’s the attitude. The person with the car? They could have complained about their old worn down car that’s held together by wire and prayer, when their co-worker drives a sporty new convertible. What about the woman who was thankful for family time? She could have resented weeks passing without any visits from loved ones, but she chose to be thankful for the few hours she was given. Naturally anyone with brain cancer would be thankful for the clean report from the doctor, but this person could so easily be trapped in bitterness that they were a victim of brain cancer in the first place.
It doesn’t change our situations, but it changes how we live through them. God knew we would be tempted to compare ourselves and our situations to others. He tells us many times that we are His unique creation and comparing ourselves to others sets us up for grief and resentment. ‘She’s better than me because …. He doesn’t study as hard but gets better grades. I could have a bigger house too if only . . . . ‘ We can sulk, be cynical, and blame our circumstances until we are consumed by them. Or we can pray for a new attitude that begins with confessing how we feel and asking for new perspective and for renewed joy. If we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself.
Each of us was created with a purpose and destiny. If our destination is Orlando, Florida, would we use a map or GPS set to Anchorage, Alaska? If you answered yes to that, we better talk. Today I am thankful that I can change my attitude so I am prepared to walk the path God has prepared for me and be confident that He who has begun a good work in me will not leave me to flounder on my own, but will equip me with all I need to finish strong.
If I live each day in appreciation of life, I will be able to say life isn’t perfect, and I can’t change the world, but I can make it better one attitude at a time.