A boy, playing baseball alone, was heard to say, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”
He tossed the ball into the air, swung, and missed. “Strike one.”
Undaunted, he picked up the ball, threw it into the air, and said to himself, “I’m the greatest baseball hitter ever,” and he swung at the ball again. Again, he missed. “Strike two!”
He paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. Then a third time he threw the all into the air. “I’m the greatest hitter who ever lived,” he said. He swung the bat hard again, missing a third time.
He cried out, “Wow! Strike three ~ what a pitcher! I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!” (1)
Don’t you love that little boy’s attitude? He consciously choose to look on the bright, positive side of life, and his experience did not disappoint!
It’s easy to have a good attitude when our relationships are good, everything in our house is in working order, our health is good, our work is manageable, and our days are filled with blessings.
The challenge comes when all of these things fall apart.
Maybe our husband is grumpy, our children are uncooperative, or a co-worker is moody. Maybe our computer, car, and appliances conspire against us and act up or break all in the same week. Perhaps we’re suddenly sick, or on overload with too many tasks and not enough time. Maybe life just seems dull.
It’s harder to be positive when life doesn’t meet our expectations, isn’t it?
That’s when the intentional choice to be positive makes such a difference. A positive attitude seems to empower and energize us ~ it helps us cope. Winston Churchill said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference!” (2)
I (Dawn) am not talking about a Pollyanna attitude ~ although Pollyanna made some wonderful choices with her “Glad Game.” But I’m talking about a positive attitude that is based in two things: choosing joy as a child of a loving Father God (Can you hear Pam saying, “Choosin’ Joy!”?), and also choosing gratitude.
In other words, when we pause to think about who we are in Christ, and the many blessings that we have because we are related to Him, we can move forward no matter our circumstances.
A positive attitude might show up in a number of ways: optimism, motivation, being inspired, determination, creative thinking, seeing problems as blessings, being a problem-solver, seeing opportunities, or anticipating success.
[Note: In our book, Pam and I suggested 10 Things to do when you don’t feel like “LOL-ing.” If you really struggle with a positive attitude, try some of these things, and see if taking some practical, positive action will help you develop some positive attitudes.]
Sometimes our circumstances don’t change for a long time … or maybe never this side of heaven; yet we can choose to respond with truth-based confidence in God’s loving care for us. It’s all a matter of our perspective. God is our hope!
We can decide not to let circumstances ruin our lives, knowing that God redeems every situation for good (Romans 8:28-29). Our lives will grow stronger as we depend on the Lord to change us from the inside while we cooperate with that transformation by pursuing godly, positive attitudes and actions on the outside.
As believers, we give God our sin in a spirit of repentance, and He gives us the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21); and that incredible exchange is the source of our deepest joy and deepest desire to live for God.
Remember that little boy … the would-be-hitter-turned “pitcher”? His attitude (and creative thinking) made a big difference in his day. A positive attitude is always powerful, and it’s made up of many choices each day.
(1) Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speakers (Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), Illustration #77, p. 40