Friday, October 18, 2013

Attitude Is Everything

Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others. Have the same attitude that Christ Yeshua had.
Although he was in the form of God and equal with God,
    he did not take advantage of this equality.
Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant,
    by becoming like other humans,
    by having a human appearance.
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
    death on a cross.
This is why God has given him an exceptional honor—
    the name honored above all other names—
so that at the name of Yeshua everyone in heaven, on earth,
    and in the world below will kneel
and confess that Yeshua Christ is Lord
    to the glory of God the Father.
~ Philippians 2:3-11, NOG ~

Have you ever had one of those "Come to Jesus" moments?  I mean the type of moment where suddenly the veil has been lifted and your eyes are opened?  The type of moment when you suddenly realized that you were the problem and not your circumstances?

I recently attended my annual BSL Women's Retreat.  The topic was "Relentless Forgiveness:  Forgiven to Forgive".  Seeing that I usually have 3 precious kids making demands of me, I rarely get time for deep self-awareness like I do at retreat.  God did some deep work in me this year, and it is work that is worthy of sharing with you.

You know, the world tells parents like us that we have a right to be angry.  That our lives are unfair.  That the world owes us something because we have a child that has special needs.  It isn't supposed to be this way.  We have every reason to be bitter.

Yet, when we ask help of that same world, we can often be left twisting in the wind.  The world that tells us we should be angry ends up making us angry by refusing to accept our children, by being too self-absorbed to assist us when we're barely hanging on, and by often treating us indignantly, like we are a bother to others around us.  According to human culture, we should be putting our hope in cures and money.  These lies fall flat as we struggle on.  This only adds to our sense of frustration.

The anger and bitterness from these misguided expectations can leave parents like us with a bad attitude about almost everything.  It was during the quiet of my retreat that I came face to face with this stubborn, ugly attitude in my own heart.  I suddenly realized that all of my irritation, edginess, and short-tempered responses were not merely because I was seeking answers for my children, but because my own desires were not being met.  It was ugly to see that I am reactive because I don't want interruptions to my schedule to run to a hospital.  I want to know what "disposable income" means rather than having everything go to either basic living or medical bills.  I want healthy, happy kids, rather than always having to comfort sad, harassed, anguished children who face the hardest parts of life at too young an age.  I want what my neighbors have.  I am tired of seeing life's jerks enjoy a comparably easy life.

Do you hear what I was hearing in myself?  "Me, my, I, I, I."  Suddenly, I didn't feel edgy, but rather repentant.  What would I think if I were sitting next to a person like me?  Would I think they were godly if they were always so indignant?

In the stillness of time with God, the thought was reinforced to me that attitude is everything.  How we frame our circumstances mentally, prayerfully, has everything to do with how we behave.  When the Lord is called "my shield" in the Bible, it doesn't necessarily mean that he prevents everything from touching us.  The revelation, instead, is that anything He allows to touch us, touches Him first.  He is wrapped around us as our shield.  And any suffering we or our children may endure allows us to enter in to His Divine nature.  What a privilege!

Instead of heavy sighs and eye rolling, these insights imparted from intimate, quiet time with my Creator, left me realizing that I was a fool, passing up an opportunity uniquely chosen for me and my family.  God has our family sitting smack dab in the middle of His activity.  We are granted the honor of participating in that activity.  This is news that is not worthy of disgust, but humble resolve, of gratitude, not grumbling.

Will you work on your attitude with me?  We have a unique platform to show the world what Jesus looks like, and we may be blowing it.  Let's adopt His attitude and cast aside the toxic mentality of the world!

PRAY:  Holy Spirit, only by Your power in me can I reframe the way I view my circumstances.  I forget way too easily.  Remind me what my challenges really mean.  Remind me that You are allowing me to be involved in Your activity.  That is much better than anything I could expect for myself.

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

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