I’m a hard hitter. I rarely take those steps back to see what is coming… Instead I face it head on into the wind, at gale force, driving for the finish line. To say “That’s just who I am!” would probably be an understatement. But it is because that is who I choose to be, not because some prevailing force makes me that way – unless you’d consider me to be the prevailing force.
So, when I’m faced with a challenge, I rarely hesitate. In fact, more often than not, you’ll find me sending up the prayer that says, “Here I go Lord, keep me headed in the right direction.” And, I’ve been told that I’m doing it wrong. But, those who generally tell me that are still trying to figure out what the first step is, while I’m off and running in the general direction of the goal.
Let me think this through…
The struggle is real, folks. There are people who respond to my ideas, suggestions, and aspirations with “Let me think on it…” and then they want me to wait until they get back to me before I start on the project. That really does happen, and I know a few of those folks are on the other side of the screen reading this article.
I get it, I understand your need to think things through, but don’t mind me if I pass you by and keep moving while you’re sittin’ there “thinking about it.” There are some who say, God isn’t in a hurry and He’ll never rush you into anything. And they would be 100% correct in that statement. I even agree with them. But let me give you another scenario. This may be a bit different, maybe even hard to take at first, but it’s just as valid as your thought about “let me pray over this and think about it…” concept. And it might even make a difference in your life.
Pray for inspiration and direction…
There was a time when I too would hold back and wait for assurance that “this is the hand of God” and linger in the moment of inspiration waiting for some bold decisive action from God confirming the step and direction He wanted me to take. Somewhere during that time, I began to pray for inspiration and direction. I remember clearly the morning I felt inspiration hit, and knew that I was supposed to take the leap…
There was a significant event that had happened a few days earlier and I had really wanted to make a shift in my current situation. I had some money in the bank, a place to stay, and some opportunities available. I wanted to go. But there were others who wanted something different. I didn’t leave as planned and three days later the engine in my car blew… The first thing I heard from anyone was, “See if you’d left, you wouldn’t have anyone to fix your car, and you’d be stranded.”
A few weeks later, we had a house full of company, and I had a date. He arrived and I left the house with him, but less than an hour later, I walked home. His behavior wasn’t something I was willing to tolerate, and I had walked out of a restaurant, leaving him seated at the table. He had beat me to my house, and was busy telling his side of the story to anyone who would listen.
Someone said later, “You just think you’re too good. You think you’re better than everyone else. You’re too picky. You’ll never get married.”
Fear became my friend…
Those two instances convinced me that I should be more careful. I should rethink my own views, and accept others more. Then, I began to believe that I was mistaken, and rethink my own choices. I worried and fretted, pushing myself to accept other viewpoints, and rethink my decisions until I’d convince myself that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. In fact… I literally learned that I couldn’t make a decision on my own. I began to believe I needed other people to think for me. My significant concern at the time was that if I did what I wanted to do, I would fail.
I began to fear my own choices.
Instead of thinking “What if this works out exactly the way it’s supposed to and I win?” I began to think… What if I fail?
And that’s when I began to realize failure was the ultimate goal. I set myself up to fail, by overthinking my choices, and waiting until I knew for certain I was right. Fear had to go away before I would take the step that might have lead me to success.
The essential ways of making decisions, and achieving my goals, became obstacles. Instead of focusing on the positives, I was focused on failure. I focused on all the things that could go wrong in my life.
And they did. Things went horribly wrong.
And they continued going wrong as long as I focused on failure.
I learned these 3 Essential Ways for Minding the Attitude – mostly my attitude.
3 Essential Ways
1 – Pray for Inspiration and Direction
The first step was to start praying right. Instead of asking God to make the choices once I had them in my hand, I began asking him to inspire me and direct me. I wanted God to show me the options, and give me a clue what I was supposed to be doing. And I started seeking out His directions.
Since the Bible is God’s essential roadmap for living, I started reading it more intently. I started reading it with a desire to learn what I was supposed to be doing. Instead of asking after the choice was in my hands, I started asking God to place the choice in my hand and show me what to do with it.
More than any other single thing I did, I started asking God to prepare me for the opportunities He sent my way.
2 – Live in Gratitude and Appreciation
This may have been the biggest step I took. I started writing down three things I was grateful for every day. But there was more. Not everything in my life was good yet, so I still had to face the struggles and trials that came along. They weren’t always easy, and sometimes they were just too big to overcome, so I had to find a way to make them part of my “appreciation story” and write them down too. So, that’s when I had a revelation…
One morning I couldn’t think of a single thing I was grateful for outside of the ‘family, friends, clothes, a roof over my head (such as it was), and food’ because I was so totally overwhelmed with the crisis I was facing. In that moment, I felt inspired to write down the three things I’d learned during my struggles, and why I was grateful for each one of them.
There were suddenly new sources of appreciation and gratitude in my life. I could be GRATEFUL for what I was learning.
Gratitude is a necessary part of minding the attitude.
At my lowest point… I was a house guest of a friend who had been faced with some serious family difficulties, and I was left in their home with a couple of other houseguests. I woke up one morning to go to the bathroom and one of the houseguests had peed all over the bathroom floor, and stripped his urine soaked clothes off in the bathroom. He was an alcoholic, and his problems didn’t start or end there. When I looked down the hallway, I saw him butt naked with his bare backside sticking up in the middle of the couch.
His shoes were in the hallway, and I picked them up and flung them down the hallway at the “rump target.” Disgusted with his situation, and even more disgusted that I had to deal with it all, I went back into my room and closed the door. Ten minutes later I was dressed and leaving the house to find a suitable washroom. When I slowed down later that morning to take my moment for gratitude and appreciation, the first thing that came to mind was the fact that when I pitched the shoes down the hallway, I had hit the target dead center.
I wrote, “I’m grateful that nearly ten years after playing my last game of softball, I can still pitch.”
(Yes, I realize that if certain people read this story, they may feel offended. I hope they’re able to read past the offensive portion and understand that this is “my story” and I was feeling really disgusted with myself for being in that situation. The gratitude, however, is real.)
3 – Focus on Making Solid Choices
Now that you’ve prayed for inspiration and direction, and you’ve found ways to show your gratitude and appreciation, it’s time to start making choices based on the new attitude you’ve developed.
If fear is still your guiding factor, you’re not reading the Bible. 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year, God commands us to “fear not.” And He means it. He gives us strong examples of how we are to combat our fear, and remove ourselves from that mindset, offering up instead solid messages of hope and encouragement.
Next time you have an inspiration, or an opportunity in front of you, instead of asking “What could go wrong?” Ask, “What if everything went right?” And look at the positive side of your opportunity.
What if everything went right?
- Would it be possible that you’d learn something of value if it didn’t go perfectly right?
- Would it be possible that you could gain knowledge and insight you’ve never had before if you took this opportunity?
- Is there a chance that by taking this leap of faith into the world of opportunity, you’d become a better person for having tried?
- What is the worst possible scenario? What would you gain from that outcome?
- If you don’t take this opportunity, will your tomorrow be better off?
Sometimes, we really do have to look for the blessing in the failure and be grateful for opportunities that allow us to hit the dirt. It hurts to hit the dirt, but the lessons can be valuable. And if we never give ourselves an opportunity to move beyond the risk to success, if we always expect the failure… What have we gained?
What essential ways can you use to change your life outcome?