Our State of Mind

It’s all about our attitude.  For example, one day we are in this Dallas traffic, and it eats us up. The next we are in the same Dallas traffic, and everything is great. Is it the traffic that made us feel differently? If it was the traffic, we would have the same response all the time; there is always traffic in Dallas.

Another consideration: a student has a paper due, but they feel stuck. Their thinking is not clear, so writing comes with great difficulty. But the next day the student wakes up, goes to the keyboard, and in a moment of inspiration hammers out the paper with enthusiasm and clarity. Boom! The paper is done that could not be written the night before. Is it the paper that caused us to feel differently? 

We have been programmed to believe it is the circumstances in life that produce what we think, how we feel, or how we act. Circumstances do not control what we think, how we feel, or how we act. 

It all begins with our attitude, our state of mind. The circumstances contribute to our life’s experiences, but our attitude determines how we see them, how they affect us, and how we respond. We get the best version of ourselves.

On the days when our attitude is great, we have inner peace and self-confidence. We rise above the circumstances. On the days when we have a low attitude, all we see is doubt, insecurity, and defeat.  We get the worst version of ourselves.

When we feel strong, and our attitude is good no matter what happens, nothing seems to bother us. We simply move forward and keep playing the game of life. We don’t even think twice about a negative comment. What someone thinks does not destroy our day. We are able to see that circumstances do not define us.

Conversely, when our days are dark, cloudy, and rainy, we can see nothing but more dark clouds. Bad turns to worse, almost instantly. Negative comments stick like super glue. The negative comments we hear cut like a sharp knife. They easily trigger arguments that hurt and cause harm. We even argue with people we don’t even know. Like the high school clerk at the store when we return an item for refund and the waiter who simply takes the order and brings us our food except for the ketchup. Those dark days hold onto pain and wounds that continue to eat our heart and soul.

Life is always changing. Our attitude determines how we respond. How do we elevate our attitude? First, we must know the truth that circumstances do not have power over us. We create our attitude from the inside out, not the outside in. Second, meditation on God’s word and thankfulness of our blessings elevates our attitude. They get our mind off of ourselves. Finally, don’t forget that love never fails. Not sweet, syrupy, sticky love, but love that chooses to love, not hate. Love that chooses to speak well of another, not curse. Love that prays for another's benefit, not harm.

Circumstances are not meaningless. They are powerful and yet even produce pain and trauma. But God is more powerful than the circumstances, and if our attitude is a by-product of His mind, then we can transform our attitude.

Rickie Jenkins