Are you thinking positively?

February 13, 2019

From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought – “Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment.”  (Lori Schneider) Are you thinking positively?

There are tons of books and thousands of motivational speakers all of which talk about the power of positive thinking. I’ve even posted bout it here a few times, usually following a theme of having a positive attitude. As I looked back over a few of those posts and as I look at today’s quote, one word stands out across them all – “accepting”.

One of the key sources of frustration, anger and even depression in people is the inyoung-woman-furious ability or unwillingness to accept things as they happen. We rail against the storm and refuse to accept the outcomes of life. We question why they have happened to us and why our God would allow them to happen. The really pathetic thing is that we allow small setbacks or issues in life to become the things that drive us to take actions that mostly make things worse.

A snub at a social event or the rejection of a romantic invitation may become the spark that ignites a bitter feud or causes a friendship or relationship to dissolve. Being passed over for a promotion at work may cause a funk that leads to depression and hurts our bored2home life, sometimes leading all the way to divorce.  Maybe the death of a loved one causes us to question our faith instead of leaning on it for strength. We just can’t accept these things or other happenings in life. We can’t figure out the answer to the question, “Why?”

By using the word “accepting”, I’m not advocating that you give in to a temporary setback or defeat in life, only that you accept that it happen, put it into proper perspective and move on with life. I wrote a post here last August titled “Did anybody die?” that focused upon dealing with many of the smaller issues in life that we tend to obsess over in our day to day lives. That post was aimed at people who tend to let the small failures that occur in their day to day lives get to them – being late for a meeting, missing a small milestone or perhaps even a small rejection or snub. Positive thinkers don’t dwell on the last failure or snub, they focus on what needs to be done to make the future better.

The thing that holds us back from accepting things and moving on with life is our need mystery personfor closure, our need to try to understand, our search for an answer to why things happened or perhaps our search for someone to blame for what has happened. I wrote about that back in 2016 in the post “Are you moving on?” If we are to become positive thinkers we must be moving on and not let ourselves get stuck in the past or present, mired down by doubts, anger or fears.

One of the most powerful tools that you have at your disposal for overcoming life’s curve balls and setbacks is your faith. Faith makes you strong enough to absorb the blows that life lands on you and allows you to keep focusing upon the future. Ralph Abernathy once said – “I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

Faith allows you to accept things by saying/praying to God, “I don’t understand why this woman-prayinghappened, but I accept that is part of your plan for me. Give me the strength to get through this and to go on in life.” If the pain that you are enduring is caused by the loss of a loved one, refocus on all of the good times and good memories that you had with them. Those times were God’s gifts to both of you.

The bottom line on all of this is that positive thinking is not starting each day with the attitude that everything is going to come up roses and that no bad things will happen in your life. Rather it is starting out each day with the attitude that you are ready to deal with anything that life brings you way today in a manner that give you the best possible outcome. Sometimes that is just being able to put it behind you and move on.

gods-hands-2Have a great and positive day today and remember what Ralph Abernathy said about your future. You are in good hands (not an Allstate commercial).

Think positively.

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Have great day…it’s your choice

February 11, 2019

We tend to toss off the little phrase, “Have a great day”, without giving it much thought. When you stop and think about it; no matter what happens, it is up to each of us to make it a good day. That has as much to do with our initial attitude and our reaction to events, as it does with the things that might occur during the day. It’s your choice.

There is an old saying, “he/she must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning”. That saying is use to describe someone who starts their day is a bad or down mood. When you wake up in the morning, do you have some immediate reaction to the bored2day? Are you happy? Are you apprehensive? Are you still mad about something that happened yesterday? Are you sad about some loss? IF any of these or other negative moods describe how you woke up, it’s time to do an attitude reset before you face the day. Maybe you should take a moment to thank God that you woke up to another day. Whatever it was that put you in this mood, didn’t kill you; and that’s a good thing. So, thank God for being alive. It’s your choice.

The next step may be to stop and recognize that you are feeling sad/depressed/hurt/anxious – whatever, and ask yourself why. What is it that happened yesterday (before) that put you in this mood? Whatever it was, it is now behind you and continuing to dwell upon it is not doing you any good; so try to put it in perspective and move on. Yes, that loss was painful but you still have your happy memories of that crying-4person and they will live on forever. Sure that comment that someone made was hurtful, but it didn’t reflect the real you and how you feel about yourself, so let it go. They just need to get to know you better. Yes, that big presentation that you have to do today is important and your performance will be evaluated; but, you are ready and confident in yourself and you will get through it just fine. Maybe you did let yourself slip into the dungeon of depression for a while, but you are not trapped there, the door is open and the way out is right in front of you…it’s your choice.

So, take some time this morning and every morning to stop and consider that how the day turns out will be based upon your attitude when you start and your reaction to the man prayingevents of the day. You do not have to face the day with a victim’s mentality. Face it instead with the positive attitude of someone who is ready and able to make of the day what you want it to be. Perhaps you can begin with a little prayer – “Thank you God for letting me have another day. Let’s go out together and make this a great day.” With God at your side, I don’t think you can have a bad day…it’s your choice.

Have a great week ahead…it’s your choice!attitude-2


Try one more time…

February 8, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “When the world says, ‘Give up,’ hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’”   (Unknown)

One can draw inspiration to overcome adversity or chase away the blues from many different sources, but they all boil down to the same thing – to try one more time.

Perhaps you have exhausted yourself trying to accomplish a seemingly impossible task woman-prayingat home or at work. Maybe it looks like failure is the only path ahead. Perhaps you are ready to give up. If you take the time to pause and seek the help of God, that small whisper that you hear may be Him telling you that you are not alone and that you should try one more time.

Sometimes in that pause to seek help, you also conclude that you should try something different this time. That is the voice of wisdom breaking through. There is a definition of insanity that talks about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Great athletes who perfect a skill through repetitive practice will always be trying something different as they practice, because they are always trying to get a better result, not the same result. When they fail, they always try one more time.

Sometimes depression can creep into the lives of people with seemingly sunny dispositions. It may sneak in through the door of self-doubt or perhaps be thrust upon depression4you by an insensitive or hurtful comment from someone. Perhaps some physical event in your life has left you feeling different, maybe with less energy or even in constant pain. You might begin to think that you should just give up or give in to the feeling or the pain; but then something happens – perhaps a kind word or deed from a stranger or some small sign, like a rainbow after a storm appears– and you know at that moment that you’ve got to try one more time.

I recalled, while writing this, that post that I wrote back in  January of 2014 about the single candlestory of the four candles. In that story the candles represented peace, faith, love and hope and the story told how the first three may have been extinguished by circumstances in our lives; however, if hope was kept alive,  the others could once again burn in our lives – https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/01/27/where-there-is-hope-there-can-never-be-complete-darkness-2/ 

If you visit my blog do a search using the word “hope” as the key word and you will find that I have written many times about it, usually also linked to faith.  Try one more time.

So, don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t quit. Listen instead for that whisper from God, hold tight onto your hope, and try one more time.

 


Get your reward…give joy to others

February 2, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”  (Gibran)

The newspapers and TV news organizations often cover stories about people volunteering to help others, whether it is at a homeless shelter , a soup kitchen or maybe just a phone bank where volunteers are answering calls about things like drug addiction. Whatever the story, there are always a few who show up on camera, sometimes they aresewrving soup interviewed and sometimes the camera just pans around and you see them. For some of those people, that is their joy. In fact, for some, that is their reason for being there – to be recognized and acknowledged for their work.

But, in most cases, there are many more people involved who do not make it into the picture or on the screen. They are busy working away in the background, doing the tasks that must be done in order to allow those on camera to do their part – cooking food, packing food, delivering food or other tasks that don’t make it on camera. . For them the joy is found in just doing for others, and it can be a much more profound joy, because it comes from within.

I’ve written here before about serving at our church’s annual Lenten Soup Supper. I bowl of soupalways try to volunteer to do the job that no one else seems to want, busing tables, washing dishes, collecting the trash, whatever. There are other jobs that seem to get more attention and praise, but none that gives the satisfying sense of joy that doing those unglamorous jobs that need to be done provides. Sure, a few people at the tables may say “Thank you” when I bus the table, but most of the joy for me comes from within – from doing a job that needed to be done and which added in some small way to their joy in the event.

There is an old saying that “It’s better to give than to receive”. It turns out that, by giving joy to others, you will also receive joy in return – from within. Therefore, the next time that you ask yourself how you could be happier in life; answer by deciding to give joycaring and happiness to others and your life will take care of itself. There are ton’s of opportunities in every community to volunteer to serve worthy causes and to help others – to bring joy into their lives. Guess what will also come into your life? Find your joy in service to others.

Have a joyful weekend – find a way to serve others.

 


Good times or bad, thy will be done…

January 26, 2019

There were repeated images on the Detroit area news shows this week of Nancy Kerrigan, after she had been attacked during practice for the 1994 Olympic Trials, crying out “Why? Why?”. That old news footage served to add meaning to something else that I saw this week.

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this bit of wisdom – “We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)

There is within that question the implication that one is asking this question of God – “God, how could you let this happen to me?” In his post, Jack referenced a book – When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I have not read that book, but I’m sure that it musthelping hands seek to refocus people from thinking that God made those bad things happen and being confused about why onto looking instead to God for help in dealing with the bad things and our reactions to them. I don’t ever pray to God to protect me from all bad things, but rather to help me make good decisions in life to be better able to deal with what comes my way.

The second part of that little saying above is also important. We tend to turn to God for help in bad situations, but seldom take the time when good things happen to thank Him man prayingfor those things. We see professional athletes sometimes pausing in the end zone or as they cross home plate making some sign towards heaven and thanking God for their good fortune at that moment. How many of us make that same effort when good things happen in our day-to-day lives? How many good things happen to, or for, us every day that we don’t even think about? Why did they happen and to whom do we owe thanks?

Yet there are countless times in every day when things could have gone a different way, sometimes in a very bad way. Every now and then, it will hit me, when one of those moments has just passed without something bad happening, that I was “lucky” that I had made a different decision or chosen a different path. Then I stop to consider whether that was luck, or God playing a role in my life. I ask, “Why did this just happen to me?” I chose to believe that it was God helping me through what could have been a bad time.

The take away from all of this is that we should be thankful for God’s hand in the good woman-prayingthings that happen to us and we should ask for his help to make good decisions and for the strength to deal with the bad things that might happen. We must accept the bad with the good when we pray, “Thy will be done.” However, we can go on in that prayer to recognize and thank God for the good things and to ask for His help in dealing with the bad things.

Have a great and reflective weekend. What are you thankful for and what things could you use God’s help with?

 


What are you doing with your nows?

January 15, 2019

In today’s installment fo the blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed used this quote from Emily Dickenson – “Forever is composed of nows.”

Jack went on to write about listening to the tick-tock of a grandfather’s clock in his home and equating each second,  each tick and tock of that clock to a now moment. Being the good ex-Pastor that he is, Jack also reminded us that only God can count the seconds in forever. What are you doing with your nows?

Many of us tend to think that things will go on forever, whether it be our lives, or our loves or our loses or perhaps our loneliness. Both Dickenson and Jack were correct to point out that the forever that we see is composed of a whole bunch of nows. We don’t know how many nows we will have (only God does); so, we can’t control that part of forever. What we can control is how we react to the nows that we encounter in life – how we deal with life’s setbacks, as well as to the successes that we have in life. Neither will last forever. They exist in the nows and must be enjoyed or dealt with there. What are you doing with your nows?

The fact is that “forever” is different for each of us and none of us knows how long that is. Tragedies like the accident that killed an entire family from Dearborn happen in life and for each of them their forever was different. There is a popular saying that you see on T-shirts – Live every moment like it was your last. That was in the lyrics of a song by the Canadian group Nickleback – If today was your last day. What are you doing with your nows?

This is not to say that you live life with total abandon and disregard; but rather that you savor each moment that God give you here. Draw life in alike a deep breath and appreciate its aroma. Experience those around you and celebrate the differences that you discover. Don’t pass through your nows without thinking about them. Be aware of your presence and the presence of others in those nows. They are not throw-away mpments; they are part of your forever. Use each one in some meaningful way, because you won’t pass through them again. What are you doing with your nows?


Live in the moment, live for the moment…

January 8, 2019

Seen on an email message recently – “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

There was one of those “miracle” stories on the national news last night about a man who had been given up for dead by his doctors and family. He had suffered what was thought to be a fatal stroke. He was completely unresponsive and appeared to be brain dead. The family had made the decision to take him off the life support systems in the hospital and had begun making funeral plans. Then “the miracle” occurred. He woke up. Apparently, he had been suffering from a rare condition in which the brain literally shuts down. There is a big, fancy name for it.

Now, after a period of rehabilitation, he is back to a normal life with his family. Saying that he and his family now appreciate the moment and live in the moment is probably an understatement. None of us should have to go through a situation like that, but all of us should appreciate the moment and live in the moment. Just being alive to enjoy the moment is a great thing that we take for granted and don’t appreciate.

Take time each morning, when you wake up, to thank the Lord that you did wake you and that He gave you that moment to live in. If you start out by just appreciating that youthis-is-me are alive, it will make planning and doing something with those moments that you have been given more meaningful and fulfilling. There are no boring moments, no dreaded routines or jobs, no wasted time, no crushing fears or aching loneliness. There are only moments that you have been given here on earth to be alive. Live in them and be thankful that you got the chance to experience them. And, live for the next moment, for things will be different then.

One never knows how many moments we have in life. Being more aware and smell-the-rosesappreciative of those moments as we live them heightens our experiences and allows us to learn and grow with each passing moment. It also allows us to avoid living in the past and helps us focus upon the future – the moments that we anticipate just ahead.

There is a saying that goes something like “Live life as if each moment is your last”. The underlying philosophy which that saying is espousing is not to live life dangerously or stupidly, but rather appreciatively. As Khayyam put it –  “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”