Blinking in the dim light, you awaken to the sound of the shower. Your husband is already up and getting ready for the day, and you lie in bed for a few minutes thinking about what your day holds.
Thoughts of all you have to do begin to crowd into your mind and you feel stress rising—and you’ve only been awake a few minutes! You look at the clock and groan inwardly, wondering how to have a good day if it’s starting out like this.
Sound familiar? What kind of day do you think you’ll have when you swing your legs over the side of the bed? Believe it or not, you can choose.
No, you don’t have a choice about the thoughts that pop into your head or the circumstances that come your way. But you DO have a choice about what you do with the thoughts and how you interpret the things that happen.
- You can be annoyed because your husband left whiskers in the sink.
- You can smile fondly because you have a man in the house.
- You can be irritated with the two-year-old who spilled milk on the table.
- You can patiently wipe up spilled milk, knowing this season is short.
- You can be full of self-pity because you have to homeschool these kids.
- You can be utterly grateful for the privilege of having your children home with you.
The difference between the two reactions is caused by: your thoughts, your perspective, your response.
Your circumstances don’t change either way. Just your thoughts.
Sometimes our circumstances are a wake-up call about our thoughts:
- When your brother-in-law has just been killed in a car accident, you’re suddenly grateful for another day with your husband.
- When your older son has left home for college and a new chapter of life, all of a sudden you appreciate the ten-year-old still at home.
- When you realize that your kids will be adults most of their lives, you’re thankful for the moments you get to spend with them.
Rather than wait for a life event to shape your attitude, you can take control of your thoughts from the moment you open your eyes.
It starts with becoming aware of negative, defeating thoughts, then replacing them hope-filled, life-giving thoughts. Don’t FOCUS on problems and dread, turn your thoughts to solutions and anticipation.
If it’s one of those days when your waking thoughts tend to slant downhill, immediately–and I mean NOW–get some good input going into your mind. Put on amazing music, listen to a life-giving podcast, speak loving words aloud, read truth from the world’s greatest success book, the Bible.
Don’t fight it, don’t try to rationalize, don’t give away your emotional energy. Power wash your brain with a firehose of whatever things are pure, lovely and true.
Instead of feeling helplessly carried away by your hormones and emotions, take the offensive with the power of your choice.
It’s easy to forget that you have the power and the choice. It’s simple to blame what’s going on in your life. So keep reminders and tools close by. Post-it notes, signs, photos, your phone’s home screen, permanent marker on your hand, whatever it takes.
And have a good day.