Many things about your life boil down to the hand you have been dealt. You can't change the fact that you were born in that place and with certain givens for your appearance, IQ, or physical skills. Education and training can open some doors for you, but they cannot change your past, make you taller and more athletic, or alter the fact that some people are unfair in the way they treat you.
In spite of the fact that all of us know that most of our life circumstances are beyond our control, we are all still tempted to fret and complain about things that cannot be changed. Of course they cause distress. They certainly put us at a disadvantage in certain contexts. They mustn't be allowed to define and limit us.
The people who do best with life move beyond the temptation to whine and feel sorry for themselves. They face the disappointment and move beyond it. They acknowledge the bad break and look for a way to turn it around. They work from a half-full rather than half-empty glass mindset.
These people have a different attitude than the defeatist and whiner. They have found a way to make lemonade from their lemons.
There is a section in John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer that reads . . .
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.
When a given day begins, countless things are headed your way over which you have no control. It may be bad weather or someone's bad temper, a deadline that won't budge or a client equally resistant to change. The one factor you can control through it all is your attitude toward them.
Your attitude today will make all the difference in everything that matters.
Rubel Shelly is a Preacher and Professor of Religion and Philosophy located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In addition to church and academic responsibilities, he has worked actively with such community projects as Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, From Nashville With Love, Metro (Nashville) Public Schools, Faith Family Medical Clinic, and Operation Andrew Ministries. To learn more about Rubel please go to: www.RubelShelly.com