Choices

Life is full of choices. Some we make consciously. Others are more like breathing and we make these choices out of what seems to be reflex. I choose to get out of bed and go to work when I could, just as easily choose to stay home. I choose to eat a healthy diet when I could, just as easily, choose to eat unhealthy foods. I choose to spend time with God on a regular basis, when I could just as easily, choose to let worldly distractions keep me from Him (I admit I have done that in the past). Many years ago I chose to accept Christ as my Savior when I could’ve walked away because The Truth flew in the face of everything I was raised to believe.  One of the major choices I make everyday is to be positive in my mind and my emotions, It is not easy. There are times when I’d like to scream and rant and rave. Sometimes I envision myself as a spoiled petulant child writhing on the floor screaming until she gets what she wants.

Chuck Swindoll once said “life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how we react to it.” It took me several reads to fully understand what he was saying. You may not have any control over the situation you find yourself in. For example, someone in senior management makes a decision on how you need to complete a project. You see some of the possible pitfalls in this decision and voice them to management, management says, in essence, “just get it done!” Now you don’t have any control over what has just been demanded of you, (the ten percent). However, you do have control over your thoughts, feelings and reaction to it (the ninety percent). Let me explain. Taking the situation I just described there will be some thoughts going through your head. If you choose to have negative thoughts in your head, (i.e. “this will never work, my boss is such a jerk, I can’t believe I have to work like this) which will be the catalyst for negative emotions, such as, frustration, anger, resentment, which, in turn leads to a negative reaction such as yelling at someone, not doing a good job or quitting your job altogether.

If you take the same situation and choose to have positive thoughts such as, “let’s give this a try, maybe management sees something I don’t, maybe this will work”. These types of thoughts are positive and will lead to positive emotions such as, peace, patience, and relaxation. These positive emotions will lead to more positive reactions such as trying your best at the project, and opening a constructive dialogue to ensure project success.

While it is easier to choose the negative I encourage you to choose the positive.  If you are anything like me, the minute the ten percent happens the negative thoughts begin to play in your head like a tape recorder with no ‘off’ button. You are aware of these thoughts and that is the precise moment where you need to change the tape recorder and choose the positive thoughts because the positive outcome is so much better than the negative.

“we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6