November 10, 2016
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; …” Ephesians 4:22-23 (NIV)
I walked out to my front yard that Saturday morning, feeling the cool breeze whisper around me. After a hot summer, I should have enjoyed the moment. But I didn’t. It only reminded me I was here, facing a yard filled with weeds, rather than doing something fun.
Out-of-town trips and a major project had kept me from yard work for the previous month. It was impossible to delay any longer, so I grabbed my bucket, sat down and started pulling.
With each yank, I thought of where I’d rather be. Like hiking with the dogs. Going to a farmer’s market with my husband. Or preparing for a picnic with friends or family. Why did the weather have to be so perfect while I had to work?!
I started getting annoyed, taking it out on the overgrown grass that had snaked its way into a flower bed. Within minutes I had worked myself into quite a snit, feeling resentful about all the yard work I had to do. Especially as I thought about “everyone” else out there having a great day.
Then my daughter walked outside. She’d had her wisdom teeth pulled the day before, so I hadn’t asked for her help. Without saying a word, she sat down next to me and started pulling weeds too.
I forced a smiled and asked if she felt okay to be outside, thanking her for coming to help. We sat in silence for a minute, with my attitude still yucky, until she turned on some music. But not just any music — she turned on worship music.
I don’t know if she sensed my mood, or if God told her I needed more than just the physical help of pulling weeds. But as the familiar lyrics washed over me, I immediately felt my mood lighten. As the chorus began, I joined in. By the end of the second song, my perspective had shifted 180 degrees.
We worked side-by-side for the next few hours, chatting, singing together and enjoying the beautiful weather, which I had resented earlier. My heart slowly grew thankful for a helpful daughter, a home to care for and the strength to do the work.
What a perspective change! And I wasn’t even trying to get my attitude under control. Then I realized: When God’s truth enters my thoughts, it changes everything. God reawakened my joy and redirected my attitude by renewing my mind.
Managing and submitting my thoughts to God is a daily battle. So often my mind threatens to take me places I shouldn’t go. Whether it’s resentment, frustration, anxiety or anger, my mind has the potential to lead me away from where I should go, which is toward thankfulness, love, grace and kindness.
When I easily simmer and stew, allowing my mind to dwell on a problem or offense, it creates a one-sided, myopic view of the situation. Yet, when God changes my perspective, I realize there’s so much more to the picture. It’s like I can back up and see the panoramic view. God brings fresh air and light into my tunnel vision.
I love how Paul put it in Ephesians 4:22-23: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self … to be made new in the attitude of your minds …”
My thoughts and attitude definitely need to be made new when they get stuck in a negative pattern. That is my “old self” that needs to be put off. The new self that needs to be put on is Jesus. Romans 13:14a says, “Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ …” (NLT).
Thankfully, this battle isn’t mine to fight alone. That’s good news, because sometimes I feel helpless to shift my attitude. How amazing that our God planted power in His Word and the praises of His people to break the chains we could never shake off ourselves.
So, today, when you feel a negative attitude threaten, turn on some worship music and let God do what He does best — change you from the inside out.
Lord, help me rein in my thoughts today and have a renewed perspective. My thoughts feel locked in negativity. Help redirect and renew my mind as I put You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (NIV)
Want to make the holidays memorable — without making them miserable? In Everyday Confetti Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer share creative, do-able ideas and the motivation you’ll need to make occasions less daunting.
Find some great ideas to help you survive the holidays when you stop by Glynnis’ blog today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Is there an ongoing situation where you could benefit from a perspective change?
Try listening to worship music, and allow God to change your perspective.
© 2016 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.