“Every detail in our lives for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28, The Message).
Have you ever tried to view your life from God’s perspective?
What if you were not allowed to say, think or do anything about a person or situation until you first caught them doing something right, or observed it from a positive perspective? Would this approach make a difference in what comes out of your mouth, or the thoughts you may try to focus on?
Carmen, a devoted mom, raising three kids alone, grew tired of minimum wage jobs, living near-poverty from paycheck to paycheck. She started a yard maintenance business ten years ago. She worked hard and long hours to earn enough money to support her children. She clipped coupons from the newspaper to save money on every item she purchased, including groceries, clothing, and household items. For years, Carmen and her children lived in a small, over-crowded apartment while she scrimped to save money in hopes of some day buying a home.
She finally bought that home. Sadly, within two weeks of moving in, nothing about the house was worth positive mention. First, a slight crack within the concrete walkway destroyed her joy. Within a month, the front door was difficult to close. Later, water from the kitchen faucet dripped a couple of times. Carmen was not handling new home ownership adjustments well at all, and she made it a point to tell everyone she came in contact with every “negative” aspect about her house.
After several months of listening to her complaints, I asked her if there was anything about the house she liked. Her initial reaction was a bit haughty, but in her heart she knew I wasn’t been sarcastic… I truly cared.
“Mrs. Coates, are you thinking that I don’t appreciate my new house?”
“No, I believe you do. But don’t you think you might feel better if you looked at the big picture, minimizing the negative and maximizing the positive aspects of your home that you worked so hard to get?”
“Let’s talk about the spacious kitchen. How do you like having room enough in the kitchen for the kids to cook beside you?”
“Oh, the kids and I like it. Last week we prepared meals for hurricane Ike evacuees and then delivered them.”
“Well, how does it feel to have a living room big enough for you and the kids to read the Bible together as a family?”
“The family room is cozy, yet spacious, and perfect for us.”
“Have you established family TV nights yet?”
“Not yet, but we plan to.”
“How do the kids like having their own bedroom?”
“They’re delighted and are beginning to decorate the walls with their soccer ribbons, academic awards, as well as Bible verse posters. The kids finally feel a sense of home.”
“Carmen, over the years, I’ve built several homes and lived in a couple of pre-owned homes. Minor adjustments to sinks, toilets, doors, and more just go with owning a home. It takes a few months to work out all the minor issues; not to mention homeowner basic maintenance. Your Creator motivated you to work hard to purchase this home. When you display a critical attitude, how do you think God feels about the gifts he has given you?”
Her chestnut eyes filled with tears. “I’m so ashamed. I need to be thankful, don’t I?”
“Yes, my friend, you do. You also need to change your perspective regarding your ‘dream’ home. There are many good aspects of your home, so please stop and envision the positive aspects so negativity doesn’t become your focus.
“Carmen, your cup is filled to the brim with blessings, including good health, terrific kids, a new home, a profitable business. By changing the perspective of your attitude, you can change your mood, the attitudes of your kids, and learn to cherish an attitude of gratitude.”
And so it is with each of us, including me. As we change our attitude, we see life differently, and life itself becomes different. And every detail becomes GOOD!
Your work-in-progress leader,
Copyright 2008 by Jan Coates, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today Ministries and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.