Having a Positive Attitude When You Feel Anything But
Here's the thing about gratitude, happiness, and tough times... we find all the pretty things to give praise for. I know when I said my prayers each night, I would praise the Lord for my home, my bed, my health, family, food, job - I mean you name it - I was thanking God for it. Prayer is best begun with thanksgiving in our hearts. For example, the Psalms exhibit and exuberant amount of praise and thankfulness.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. -Psalm 107:8-9.
That my friends, is gratitude, BUT enter the seasons of trial, anxiety, struggle. What then?
Human nature relies on blame. Blame brews anger and anger generates negative thoughts, negative thoughts are then born into ungrateful behaviors and there we end up in a loss of faith. Those negative pieces of energy keep us further away from thanking the Lord because we are so clouded by the struggle that is surrounding us. True faith? Praising the Lord in the hard times. All of this contributes to who He is calling us to be.
I watch “Joseph, King of Dream” with my son quite often and I always manage to point out to him that although Joseph was imprisoned and accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he didn’t not curse God. He used his God-given gift to help others while he was suffering.
I love this example because it shows us a literal prison, but the negative thoughts and experiences in our lives can certainly feel like a prison. It feels like we’re trapped with no hope. Disappointments and tough times can either lead us to despair or to hope. My point here is that we have a choice! God has given us the freedom of choice and we are free to choose how we respond to difficult times.
I went through a rough year last year and, honestly, I was weighed down and looked for ways out. I prayed relentless to for God to get my through this, but what I wasn’t receiving the answer I wanted or was expecting. I was missing the fact that God wanted to shape me through this. He wanted me to grow. He wanted my prayer to change from “Get me out of this!” to “What can I learn from this?”.
When my prayer changed, my perspective changed, and then my life changed. Looking back, that was still a tough time, but wow did God change me because I chose to let Him. Is it easy to shift that perspective from despair to hope? I’m sure Joseph had to resist thoughts of cynicism and questioning the Lord’s plan, but he continued to be a witness of faith to the other prisoners that would eventually join him by allowing God to work through him to interpret their dreams and eventually that of Pharaoh’s (Genesis 41:15-16).
Now I love a good list! Especially when it comes to the “hows” of life. God makes things simple. He even gave us book to help keep us on the straight and narrow!
Here are four tips that helped me change my negative worldly perspective to that of a spiritually positive one:
Change your prayer, change your perspective. Thank God for the easy things to be grateful for. The home, the food, the blessings, but also thank God for the struggle. You can easily say, “Thank you Lord for this tough time, please show me what lesson you have for me so that I can draw closer to You. Be my strength.” His desire is for us to lean fully on Him and give up relying on the things of the world. As Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Self talk! Become self-aware of what you are allowing to be said in your head. Catch those negative thoughts because they have a nasty habit to snowball and take over. Acknowledge them and quickly release them.
Talk positively about it. Speaking negative words out loud just feeds and allows animosity to grow. I was doing this every. single. day. Until I was literally sick about it. Instead, I told myself, I am going to be a better person because of this experience. I said it over and over in my head until I believed it and allowed God to change me.
Remember, negative experiences are an opportunity to grow. Don't you want to grow in Jesus? The world is watching and imagine...allowing Jesus to change you can allow you to change the world.
How do you shift your perspective from being negative to having a positive attitude in hard, stressful seasons?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! My name is Giana V. I’m a wife, a mama, and a high education professional. I live in sunny Southern California just outside of Los Angeles. I have a passion for holistic health, writing, and learning how I can live my best and healthiest life filled with love and joy while helping others do the same.