When life throws you a curve-ball, you may not be able to control what’s coming at you, but you can control how you respond. It is that critical choice that will make all the difference. Here are five genuine choices that you can make every day that will make your life better in spite of what surprises come your way.
1. Have to wait? Why not meditate?
It happens all the time. You are in a hurry and the line at the bank is taking forever. Your quick run to the grocery store stops cold because the person in the check-out line didn't realize the “10 Items or Less” applied to them. You want to have an important conversation with someone and they keep putting you off for whatever reason. That’s life. Sometimes we have to wait. Yet, how often do we react to these unwanted pauses in our busy schedule with irritation, disgust, or perhaps outright anger. Rather than get angry or frustrated, while you wait chose to meditate. Say a prayer. Focus your thoughts on positive outcomes. Pray a blessing over the person or situation that is contributing to your wait time. Breathe and accept the moment as an opportunity to center yourself and be blessed.
2. It’s a nuisance, not the end of the world.
Human beings are biologically hard-wired to have a very strong “fight/flight” reflex. When faced with life-threatening danger, the adrenalin dump into the system is designed to protect and prepare our bodies to do whatever it take to ensure survival. This is really effective if we are faced with a very real and imminent danger and immediate threat to our life. Yet, honestly, how many times in your lifetime have you been truly in danger of imminent death? Perhaps a few, but thankfully that is not an everyday reality for the vast majority of humanity. In spite of that fact, many people get so spun up over little things that the body is literally being taught to go into fight/flight mode because the soda machine malfunctioned and kept the money or because we feel the need to get to the red light faster than everyone else on the road at that moment. If things do not go the way you desire, rather than treat it as a potential end to life, shake it off and be honest. It is a nuisance, but not life-threatening. Then act accordingly.
3. Don’t know—don’t go!
The human mind is an incredible creation with an unrelenting capacity to imagine just about anything. As much as this is one of our greatest strengths, it can also be one of our biggest downfalls; particularly when we don’t know something. When we do not know something (example: “I do not know where my spouse is right now”) the mind is quick to imagine any range of possibilities. Unfortunately, those possibilities are often driven by fears, insecurities, or negative past experiences. Before we know it, rather than simply acknowledging something that we don’t know, we can become emotionally spun out over an imagined reality that is both irrationally negative and probably as far from the truth as possible. It’s a simple rule of life. If you do not know something, don’t go there as if you did. Instead, in life we need to focus on what we know.
4. Be Aware but don’t let worry consume your care.
Worry is perhaps one of the biggest killers in the world. Its negative affect on physiological health, mental health, and relational stability is profound. Worst of all, much of the stuff we worry about is beyond our control anyway. If you can’t control or change the situation, why invest precious emotional, physical, and mental energy into worrying about it. On the other hand, if you can change something, worry is not going to empower you to change a thing. Instead, worry will consume the precious energy you need to address the situation. When faced with a situation over which we are prone to worry, be aware. Look objectively at the situation and prayerfully discern what the options may be, what can and cannot be controlled, and how you are going to be able to positively address the situation. Then, without the burden of worry or fear, act on your awareness rather than give into worry.
5. Always radiate the Attitude of Gratitude.
In all things, be thankful, express appreciation, and share your gratitude at every opportunity. Take time to thank the people who give you service. Acknowledge the efforts of others in all things. Tune your awareness to recognize the little things people do—especially if they are not done explicitly for you. Life is too short to be consumed by ingratitude and the negativity that accompanies it. Even the simple blessing of smiling and nodding one’s head in a gesture of appreciative acknowledgment of another’s genuine humanity goes a long way.
So. It’s up to you and me. What are we going to choose?
Be blessed and in so doing, be a blessing! May God’s grace and peace go with you. Thanks for reading!