Mindset of the Day

Have You Ever Started Your Day With…

Mindset…A saying or phrase that sort of sets you up for success? It could be just as easily failure if you say the wrong thing. You know, we ask some if they woke up on the “wrong side of the bed” when they struggle with doing something right. Almost as if they actually did wake up on the wrong side of the bed and that’s the reason for their problems.

I do believe in starting trips with the right mindset. “This will be a Good trip. Everything is planned. There are no loose ends. Wait… Did I pack my shaver?” You’ve been positive right up to the point of wondering if you have everything you need. If you are not careful, then you will second guess yourself on everything up to, and after, that point.

This morning, with a tight schedule, something popped up that needed my attention. How do I squeeze it in? If you start off solving the issue with the wrong mindset (“There ain’t no way…”) then you will probably start an avalanche of failures that will mess up every task.

There are simple ways to handle the unexpected… Say no. Or Maybe, and then do your best. Or Yes, but let me address a few other things first. Of course, you don’t want your doctor to meet you in the emergency room with this kind of attitude!

Perhaps some boundaries on your day need to be established early. Or, you need to understand what’s really important and to not let other things impede your focus. Even, perhaps, that distraction is really the most important thing and how you handle it will produce bountiful results.

Imagine the ministry of Jesus for a moment. Everyone either wants him for his teachings and miracles, or they want to drive him off. A man named Jairus came to Jesus with a need. His only daughter is dying. Would Jesus come? Quickly? Jesus agrees to go with him, and along the way the woman with the issue of blood halts his forward progress. Then, someone from the house of Jairus comes running and says, “It’s too late.” Jesus simply states: “Fear Not. Believe. She will be made whole.”  (Luke 8:41-56) Even with laughter and scorn, another miracle is performed in the face of negativity.

The one thing I note about this, besides the miracles, is the example of Jesus handling crisis. There is nothing in the story that makes me think he was anything but in control. We know he prayed. Often. By himself. With others. And we know there were many challenges he faced. Some with tears. Others with aplomb as if he knew the outcome in advance of the request. There were several times of apparent anger when he clears the temple of money changers, or speaks back to his followers, “Will you leave me also?”

But in the midst of this I find him in control. Self control.

Maybe this is a mindset missing from many of us. Learning to be in control even when the entire world crumbles around us. No panic. No lashing out. No self pity. Let’s just handle the problem and move on.

The greatest church planter in the New Testament was the Apostle Paul. In my favorite letter of his to the church at Philippi (Philippians 1:1) and to all the bishops and deacons, Paul concludes his writing with this little excerpt from the last chapter.

Rejoice in the Lord always.
Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men.
The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God;
and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren,
whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—
meditate on these things.
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me,
these do,
and the God of peace will be with you.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again;
though you surely did care,
but you lacked opportunity.
Not that I speak in regard to need,
for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
I know how to be abased,
and I know how to abound.
Everywhere and in all things I have learned
both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel,
when I departed from Macedonia,
no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
Not that I seek the gift,
but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
Indeed I have all and abound.
I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you,
a sweet-smelling aroma,
an acceptable sacrifice,
well pleasing to God.
And my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-19 NKJV)

This gives me peace. If ever there was an early Christian with the right of mishandling disappointments and struggles with people and issues, it would be Paul. From those that feared, to those that hated, Paul dealt with many problems of peace, safety and continuity. Any one of these problems would cause us to run to the mountains and hide! But Paul seems to stand up to them. With an attitude of success. Notice his phrase:

Everywhere and in all things I have learned
both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need.

Regardless of his circumstances, he knows how it is to be on both sides of the coin. Full and hungry. No needs, and then needs. Why? Again, his words:

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

Content when the going is good, or not. Content when it is going my way, or not. Paul deals with this a little more with his first letter to Timothy (who was with him when he wrote Philippians).

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world,
and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and clothing,
with these we shall be content.
(1 Timothy 6:6-8 NKJV)

The one thing I struggle with is finding how to live with contentment when things are not going the way I planned, or hoped. As with anyone else, I can become grumpy and frustrated, and let those feelings run rampant through the cornfield of life.

Somewhere, and sometime before it’s too late, I need to learn how to gain hold on to contentment. Regardless of the circumstances. Somehow.

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