I need to start this post out by saying that ‘letting things go’ is something I’ve always struggled with. If one of my sons is sick and is going to miss a family event, I stress about disappointing people. If we end up using $1600.00 more in propane for the winter than we were expecting to, I worry about paying the bill.
I’ve just had a painful example set before me that no matter how hard things are in your life, you can choose to have a good attitude. My 63-year-old step-mom, Vicki, has ovarian cancer and the doctors have just estimated that she only has a couple of months to live at the most. And this is after 3 months of undergoing chemo treatments followed by 3 months of radiation. Her second round of chemo had just started when they discovered that her cancer had spread throughout her body.
If you ask Vicki how she is doing, she would say that she is doing well. She has to take her pain meds every 2 hours, she is wearing pain patches, and she is on morphine. She does have some pain even then – but it’s way less than it has been for almost 2 years and she is grateful for that.
My dad says that she’s running around doing all sorts of stuff cleaning up the house and organizing – and he can hardly keep up with her. We’re considering this to be a miraculous gift because she was bedridden before and now that she has been given this diagnosis she suddenly she has tons of energy. She loves to plan and we feel that this is God allowing her to carry out her final wishes.
Vicki has been setting up appointments with all of her family and friends so that she can say a final “good-bye.” She wants people to pray that she’ll have one more good month. We’re hoping that she can continue like this for awhile so that she and my dad can enjoy their final days together. And she doesn’t want anyone being mopey or sad around her… just happy. She’d like happy cards – funny cards…
They have planned out her funeral and it’s going to be a big party with music and bagpipes. She knows she’ll be partying with Jesus and she wants us to be celebrating her life down here.
If my step-mom can have such a positive attitude when she has just been handed a death sentence, then there is no excuse for me to have a bad attitude just because something isn’t going my way throughout the day.
When you feel yourself having a less than stellar attitude ask yourself this question: Is there something I can do about it?
If there is, then do it. Don’t delay – even if it’s something you dread. I’ve had times when God is working on me to do something and I feel absolutely miserable about it until I finally break down and do whatever he is asking me to do. Do your best and trust God for the rest.
If there’s nothing you can do about it, hand it over to God. Pray about the situation and ask God to change your attitude. Some of my favorite Bible verses are Luke 12:25-26 – “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Good question!
There are some things that we have control over in this life. There are many, many more things that we have no control of. When something is out of our control, there are 3 things we can do to help ourselves let it go:
1. Focus on the good – My step-mom, Vicki, is focusing on heaven. When your kids are giving you grief, or the housework is piling up, or you’re feeling incredibly tired after a long day of homeschooling, what are you focusing on? There are usually more good things than bad going on in our lives. Choose to focus on the good things and your attitude will turn around in a hurry.
2. Talk it out with whoever has hurt you – People will hurt us, whether they mean to or not. When you feel your attitude is suffering because of a situation with a specific person, talk to them about it. Matthew 5:23-24 says “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Quite often, when we approach someone in humility and try to work things out, they will be more than willing to do so.
3. Share it with a trusted friend – If you’re feeling overwhelmed, struggling with temptation, or just need someone who will show us some empathy then find a trusted friend with whom you can confide. Be sure this friend will do the following:
- Offer you Biblically sound counsel
- Be willing to speak the hard truth to us if that’s what we need to hear
- Will keep our conversations in confidence
John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
No matter what trials we are currently experiencing, we have the ability (with God’s help) to let go of the hurt, the pain, and the fear and to choose a good attitude.
Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.“
It isn’t always easy to have a good attitude! At least it isn’t easy for me… but life is too short to allow ourselves to be bogged down with anxiety and bitterness. Ask God to help you let it go and He will gladly give you His peace.
Question: How are you at letting things go and choosing a good attitude. Is it a struggle for you as well? Have you learned any other tips you could share to help the rest of us? Please leave a comment below.