Attitude Correction

Recently, I have been trying to maintain a good attitude in the midst of trials. Once again I am faced with reduced income due to events beyond my control. It has happened before…make that a lot. With the best of intentions, I always aim to keep a good attitude, but usually I fall into the pit of despair and wallow, much like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress. I start whining and complaining as if the world was coming to an end, but God always makes a way for me. So, this time I had made the decision that I would do what I could do and let God do the rest. It was all going along fine until…

I was basking in my positive attitude and being productive until someone came along and popped my balloon. You see I was doing a temporary online job (one of God’s provisions for me), and I was determined to meet the basic goals I had set and potentially meet the goals for incentive pay. I had a great first week and was feeling good about myself until…

A supervisor informed me that she was locking me out of the system to do some remedial training because I was “having trouble with validity.” I started losing my happy thoughts. In that one moment, I went from striving to reach my goals to wanting to quit…right then. I still had 4 hours to go on my shift, and after some serious mental arguments with myself, I decided to continue to meet my obligations. During that time, I received several feedback comments, all negative. I expected any moment to be thrown out of the system, and I was developing a sour attitude. Finally, I made myself focus on the task in front of me instead of wondering when I was going to get another message. I moved forward, completed the minimum hours, and logged out.

Afterwards, I was reminded that we can always see the good in a situation if we only look for it. What I saw as judgment and failure was actually just an opportunity to improve my skills so that I could do my job more accurately. It took everything I had to see it as an opportunity. I really just wanted to go and pout in the corner. It is my reaction to days like this that really show my real character…sometimes not in the best light. My goal to maintain a good attitude, apparently called for an attitude correction. It’s easy to have a good attitude when everything is going your way, but it is a totally different issue when obstacles present themselves.

When we decide to make the best of every day, be assured there is an enemy that will attempt to defeat you with everything he’s got. “Like roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” he will stop at nothing, including using a supervisor’s “teaching moment” to make you lose your patience and sometimes even your faith. But, “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV). He knows what we are going through, but “ There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13).

So, today was another day. I received feedback, but I took it with a slightly better attitude and tried to apply the information given to improve my work. I liked this supervisor’s way of handling things much better, but I wonder if it had more to do with my attitude correction than a change in personnel. Just a thought…

In the “Fullness of Time”

In Sunday School last week, I came across the phrase “in the fullness of time,” and it spoke to me. It was a word of encouragement in the midst of a stressful situation that God would work it out. However, I have a love/hate relationship with the phrase because while it is encouraging, it also means waiting.

Waiting…sometimes I get very tired of that word and everything it stands for. I get so tired of struggling and just want the situation to be resolved. Yet, the struggle reminds me of the story of the butterfly in the chrysalis. The story goes that a child watching the butterfly struggle to break free decides to help it. When the butterfly does get free, it is too weak to fly. The point being that the struggle to break free is what gave the butterfly strong wings so that it could fly when it came time…in the fullness of time.

We don’t like the struggles, but I suppose it is what helps us gain strength so that one day we will be able to fly. Isaiah 40:31 says “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Again…that word…waiting. If we wait upon the Lord, he will give us strength so that we can soar. In the meantime he gives us grace to get through the struggle as we live by faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is knowing that what he says will happen will happen…in the fullness of time. In other words, it will happen when God says it is the right time.

While I am waiting to finally fly free, I will keep pushing until I see the light of day and feel the wind on my face until in the fullness of time I see my faith become sight.

The Little Things

Recently, my cat Meep came rushing into my bedroom and woke me with a cacophony of “meeps”. Usually, she saves such communication for dire emergencies, such as she can’t reach the bug on the wall and wants me to knock it down for her. So, I turned on the bedside lamp, rubbed my eyes, and tried to figure out what had set off the alarm.

“What is it, Meep?”

She answered in a series of sounds that mimic the character Beaker from The Muppet Show, complete with changes in tone that sound like an unknown language. Then, she threw something up in the air and it landed on the floor with a rattle. I rose up in bed and squinted since my contacts were currently soaking in the bathroom. I imagined she had killed another mouse or bug and wanted my approval for a job well done. Nope. Too small and odd-shaped to be a critter. She threw the object into the air with coos of delight. That’s when I recognized the shape.

It was the ring from a Gatorade bottle. The orange color was easy to recognize now that my eyes were a little clearer. She was throwing it into the air with glee and excitement.

“Did you find a toy?” I asked her.

“Meep…meep…meep,” she replied, tossing it in the air again as proof.

“Go play with your toy, then,” I said.

She picked up the ring and carried through the house, stopping occasionally to throw it into the air and pounce on it. The other two cats watched in envy.

All of that excitement over a plastic ring that is thrown in the trash by the thousands on a daily basis, but it made her week. It truly is the simple things that make my cats happy. For instance, an empty cardboard box becomes a fort, a scratch pad, and a hiding place from which to pop out and attack. They love it when the UPS guy drops something off. It’s the highlight of the day, mine too if I were to be honest. Getting packages delivered always feels a little bit like Christmas. I enjoy opening the package, and they enjoy the box it came in. We all win. At one point I had a collection of empty boxes in the corner that the cats had turned into a virtual fort, jumping from one to the other and hiding before pouncing on an unsuspecting passerby. I left it for weeks before the clutter drove me to throw them out, which was accompanied by disapproving looks from all three cats.

This incident remind me of a movie that I recently watched, Miracles from Heaven. At the end of the movie, the narrator talks about all of the little miracles that happened everyday that she almost missed because she wasn’t looking for them. I think that is so true. It’s the little things in life that can bring us joy if we will only look for it. Like a cat who found a plastic ring, let’s notice the little things in life and be grateful. Then maybe the world will look a little brighter even if the sun isn’t shining.


Understanding patterns can often be a little stressful and aggravating. It doesn’t matter what kind of pattern it is. For instance, I oncen had to restart a knitting project 5 times because I didn’t understand the pattern. I thought I did until I got a few rows in and realized something was dreadfully wrong. Then, I’d pull out all the stitches, get out the instructions, read over them again, consult with experts, and start again. With the help of two experts over the course of two days, it finally became clear what the problem was: perspective. I obviously didn’t have the right one. The pattern was for a hat, which is in the round, but the person who wrote the pattern had laid it out in a way that was foreign to me. When the expert showed me that the pattern is like a map of the globe that has been drawn out on a flat surface, the pattern started to make sense.

There is a pattern in Philippians chapter 2 that also can seem foreign and difficult at first glance:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The only pattern that is of any real importance is that of Christ. As Christians, we are to follow the pattern of Christ. In this world, it seems odd – foreign, if you will – to become a servant and serve others and be obedient to commandments that seem outdated to nonbelievers. However, when you talk to the Expert, it slowly begins to make sense. That sometimes means, ripping out the stitches and starting over again until we get it right, but the end result is worth the effort.