When life gives you lemons, it doesn't matter cause you got gumbo at home.
Close your eyes.
Ok, I guess you have to read this... keep them open. But try to imagine along with me. I want you to think back to your time in college (if you're in it at the moment, even better). Preferably, think back to an incredibly difficult and trying time when stress pushed you to tears. Are you there?
You're sitting in class, head in hands, as the professor goes over the homework assignments for the coming week, reminding you of the exam next Monday. As you lift your head up, you mindlessly reach for your pen and scribble a half-legible reminder to yourself to read pages 105-165, write the first draft for that 8-page essay and begin studying for the midterm. Leaving the class had always been a relief but today, it just meant you had to stop holding your head in your hands and actually start working.
Slinging your backpack over one shoulder you swipe your screen to answer a phone call from your Uncle Al. Uncle Al was your father's brother; always the "cool" uncle and someone you looked up to in many ways. He sounds excited over the phone and you can imagine him waving his arms animatedly as he had a habit of doing.
Suddenly, the stress melts away. Making A's doesn't seem like such a chore. You walk with your chin up and a smile on your face because you know what is waiting for you on the other side.
Okay, back to reality! Sadly, I'm guessing you haven't gotten any calls from Uncle Al in the time you've been reading this post have you? ...nah, me neither. Which probably means the homework still seems daunting and those deadlines are still looming. Sucks...
But hey, cheer up, I've got something better for ya, I think you're gonna love it. You know how you made that profession of faith a while back... well, God was thinking, once you're done with this life you might like to go spend eternity with Him! He's got a mansion with your name on it. It's a pretty cool deal, if you ask me... you'll be getting your own crown not to mention chatting with Noah and walking down streets made of gold. Anyway, if you're up for it, I think He's got a few requests for you. He wants you to enjoy your time here on earth, stop whining about homework assignments and deadlines, put those skills and aptitudes He's blessed you with to use and serve others. If you can do that, you'll find the journey to God's embrace a lot easier. Waddaya say kid?
Have you noticed how difficult it is for people to go through the day with a smile, a cheery "hi neighbor!" and a wave? I'm sure this isn't true, but I get the feeling that some people just don't want to be happy. So they choose not to! Strange isn't it... that we would choose to be grumpy? It is a choice, you know, just like choosing to forgive or choosing to love unconditionally. The moment you swing your feet down onto the cold tile floor, you are making a conscious decision of how your attitude will be that day. Perhaps, you oversleep - it would be easy (not to mention, natural) to start your day off flustered over being late which opens your emotions to being pricked by the world on your way to work (crazy drivers, anyone?). One thing leads to another and you're driving home, unwilling to accept any of the good from the day.
Perspective motivates action.
How small and insignificant do the bad drivers or the horribly failed presentation look when you know that you're one day closer to sitting in the lap of your Savior? One day closer. I struggle with getting upset at the world just like anyone else does; the posts I write here are just as much to me as to anyone reading. I love writing because it's a time of reflection on my own life. How am I rising above mediocrity? Or, more often, how am I succumbing to it? The answer to those questions should root you in the present and in that moment you can make a decision to refocus on what's important and shake off the rest.
Everything starts in the morning, including your attitude. Here's a great little way I've found to start my day off right. Take it or leave it.
1. As soon as your feet hit the floor, put on some coffee or water for tea.
2. While the water is heating up, hop in the shower. If you're a night-shower-er, that's cool - still hop in the shower. The steam will help open up your sinuses, ungook your eyes, get rid of your bedhair and generally wake you up. It's during this shower in the morning that I find to be a great time to pray - no distractions, just you and God. Ask Him to give you a heart for others and not yourself, to allow you to have an eternal perspective, to enjoy the little things in life and to see the junk as fleeting.
3. After your shower, your coffee/tea should be done. Fix yourself a cup however you like it and sit down to read Scripture.
Alter, ignore or adopt this morning routine. I've loved having a consistent 30 minutes throughout my week because it gives me a stable place from which to start the day. I think you might too.