Jamy Whitaker graduated with a degree in English from Indiana State University. She lives in Indiana, in a picturesque, rural setting, lovingly referred to as Whit-Akers, with her husband and five children. To learn more about Jamy, her writing and speaking visit her Website or Facebook Page.
Circumstances are not the only thing in life that can distract us. Our attitudes play a huge role in how we react in a given situation. I have found that being joyful and having an attitude of gratitude will completely change how I focus on my circumstances.
I was sitting out on my beautiful bench that my wonderful husband made for me the other day and simply enjoying the beautiful spring weather. I was completely overwhelmed with such a state of gratitude. I think so many times, myself included, we can be so consumed with the future and the goals we have that we forget about all the things God has already done for us; “consider what great things he has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:24 NIV). This is not to say that we should be consumed with the past or even stuck in the present.
God wants us to keep moving and doing, but we also need to have an attitude of gratitude for the blessings He has already poured out onto us and those He continues to pour out for us daily. It is a choice that we each make, whether to look for the blessing and be grateful or complain because it is not exactly what we had in mind. Here in America, we have so much to be thankful for I cannot even begin to list them all.
So many headlines have come to my attention in the past couple of weeks that really have made me stop and think. For example, there are over 140 million orphans in the world. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around such a large number. I grew up in a wonderful, safe home with a loving, Christian family. That statement alone speaks of volumes of blessings that some will never experience.
I am not saying that everything in my life, or anyone’s, for that matter, is perfect and without storms. However, I have a God who is in control of everything and walks with me in those storms. The same is true for you. So, are you going to complain about the rain or learn to dance in the midst of it?
This attitude of gratitude does not happen over night. You have to learn to exercise and workout your joy muscle, just like any other muscle in your body.
I had wanted a treadmill for some time, and a couple of years ago at Christmas my husband surprised me with one. I could no longer use the excuses that the weather was bad or who would watch the kids. After Mitch got it all set up, I got on there Christmas morning to try it out. We had company coming, so I was only on it for about five minutes. I felt pretty good about myself. I now had the tools to get into shape.
The very next day, I decided that I was ready for a challenge. I upped it to the level two program, which was a greater intensity than the previous day, as well as, thirty minutes long. I thought I might simply drop dead before the end of the thirty minutes. This was a big change from my normal bon-bon eating days. Thankfully, I did not collapse. However, the feeling I had when the time was up, paled in comparison to how I felt the very next morning.
I did not think that I would be able to even get out of bed. My muscles hurt, especially those I did not even know I had. However, I soon found that through the continued use of the treadmill that, even though they ached, my muscles were growing and strengthening.
As you probably already know, muscles that are not stretched and used will not grow. The same thing is true of our joy muscle. We have a daily choice to make. Are we going to find joy in the Lord or wallow in our circumstances? Wallowing was exactly what the Israelites were doing in Nehemiah’s day.
They were weeping over how far they had fallen away from God. Yes, we need to recognize that we are not where we should be in the Lord. However, it cannot stop with just realizing there is a problem. We have to make a change. We need to direct our focus on how much God loves us and wants to draw us closer to Him.
Each and every one of us needs to use our joy muscle to give us the strength to move forward. We need to give all of our burdens to the Lord and let Him take care of everything and be our strength. Continue to flex your joy muscle so that the joy of the Lord can flow through every part of you.
So many times in our lives, Satan does not need to attack us; all he needs to do is distract us. We become so focused on our circumstances that we lose sight of God and His plan and purpose for our life. Satan cannot take our salvation from us, but he can make certain that we are not effective at furthering God’s kingdom.
This concept of attitude all comes down to perspective. Is your perspective earthly or eternal? To find out more about adjusting your perspective, I encourage you to check out my book, Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask.