Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Winning Attitude is Everything!

I have been blessed with a 14 year old boy who loves to play football. It has been so much fun going to his games and watching him play. I have always loved sports myself. You learn so much being part of a team. This year, CJ has been playing on the Union Christian Eagles Varsity team. This is a small Christian school here in Fort Smith, AR. Junior High is 7th - 9th grade and Senior High is 10th - 12th. At the beginning of the season, the decision was made to move the 9th graders up to varsity because they did not have enough players to play varsity. It has definitely been a learning experience for CJ. He has had a rough go of it because they have had a losing record. He has had to find the love of the game to keep practicing everyday and gearing up to play on Fridays.

What has made it even rougher, is the Junior High team has a winning record. Knowing that was the team he was supposed to be on, he has had his moments where it has been easy and justifiable to complain. I have been so proud because I have watched him week after week come out, be pumped up and give his best. After 7 losing weeks, he was rewarded last night with a winning game!! And on top of that, he was the lead tackler in the game (ok, now I'm just bragging!!) Seven weeks of day in and day out practices and losing games to finally score that one win! I remember telling CJ you have to go out there and keep your head up and play to win regardless of what the score says or there is no point in playing! It was so interesting to watch the difference in the attitude of every player, every coach and every fan last night when we were finally winning!

It got me to thinking about life. It is so easy to keep a great attitude when everything is going your way. It's easy to work hard and stay committed when you know it will pay off in the long run. It's easy to give and serve when you are recognized publicly for your efforts. Motivation comes easy when everyone around you is motivated too. It's fun to be part of a winning team. But life doesn't always work out like that. More often than not, you find yourself working while no one is watching, giving without a seen return and giving your best only to be met with the attitude of "what's the big deal, that's whats expected of you!" Daily you are put to the test - the attitude test that is. You don't have to worry about finding ways to express your bad attitude. That comes easy. More than likely, you will find yourself looking for ways to keep a good attitude.

But one thing that I have discovered.. having a bad attitude has never helped my bad situation get better. The big trap you can fall into is letting the stress of your situation become your outlook for the day. When you go into a game expecting to lose, more than likely you will. When you get up and expect nothing but bad things to happen, they usually do. Can just your attitude change things? I say yes. A good attitude doesn't make the problems go away, it just gives you the courage and the outlook to see beyond that problem. Problems come and go...attitudes tend to linger! And bad attitudes are contagious and toxic. When you live your life with a bad attitude, you will find that you can't enjoy a victory or an accomplishment as much because your bad attitude will want to rear it's ugly head and stomp on your joy. Just like I heard a fan in the stands last night..."well yeah we won, but it doesn't matter, we have lost seven already". I just shook my head like really?? I wanted to tell that person please just go to your car and leave these kids to enjoy the moment!! Because those boys on the field were not giving a rip that they had lost the previous seven games..they were relishing the moment of the one win! They were living in the moment..singing the school fight song! :)

Life brings enough hardship on it's own. It doesn't need our help!! I have decided that I don't care what may come, I am determined that I will face it with as good of an attitude as possible! My attitude is all I can control usually. I don't intend to give that up :) I am not saying it's always easy. As soon as you make the determination to keep a good attitude, you will usually be tested. But the Bible tells us that testing brings out the best in us.."the gold". You are golden! You are more than you think you are. You are stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit for. Let your attitude reflect that!
Your Friend doing life with you...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prayer Changes Things

Everyone has heard those stories..those miraculous moments in others lives. You know the ones that tell of those just too awesome moments to be coincidental. They are contemplating a major decision in their life and get into their car and turn on the radio and the song that is playing has the answer to their prayer. Or they open their
Bible straight to the scripture that seems to word for word describe everything they have been going through! Or they go to the mail box and open up an envelope and there is a check enclosed for the exact amount of the bill they have due! I love hearing these stories. They are so inspirational and uplifting. I once read a book called God Winks and I was moved by all of the stories of ordinary people living in extraordinary moments. I love these moments but if truth be told most of us feel like these "God Winks" happen for everyone else and not us.

If you are like me, and you are honest with yourself, you have had moments full of faith and then just as many moments where you feel like you are praying to a brick wall. It is so easy to "believe" for someone else. To pray with conviction and have full confidence that God is going to come through for a friend or a loved one. It just never seems as easy when we are believing and praying for ourselves. I have never doubted that God loved me. I can honestly say that I believe that with all of my heart. But I have had moments of questioning why? Why did I have to go through the things that I have had to go through? Why did it seem like everyone else was being blessed but I had to work for every single thing I had? Why do I always have to wait on an answer? When is my instant answer coming? Why do I have prayers that just seem to be unheard or never answered?

Have you had those days like me where you just seem to wake up in that kind of mood? You know, not bad, not good, just a "there" mood. You are ready to face the day on auto pilot. You are confident this day will be just like hundreds of others. You have a sense of restlessness and you just can't put your finger on it. Well that was my day today. Woke up not really feeling all that well. Not really sick, just tired and unmotivated. That is when life is sure to hit you with all of the little irritations :) Those things that aren't really a big deal? No one would listen to you if you complained about them kind of things! Here's a little recap: woke up to have cereal, the milk was expired. Decided to go to the grocery, took a shower and my eye swelled up like I had been punch in a prize fight. Put in the visine and endured the burning and got ready to go grocery shopping. We all know that grocery shopping at Walmart on a Saturday is irritation enough. Decided to carefully budget because I had to be frugal. The minute I get in the store, my son starts texting to see if I can buy him an Xbox game. Frustrated, not at him, but because I have to exercise wisdom in my budget, I have to say no yet again. Decide to buy little "specials" to make it up to him. Get home and unload the groceries. Have a roast in the crock pot so I decide to make us a little snack to tide us over. Open the 2 liter of Dr. Pepper to pour CJ a drink and it explodes all over me and the kitchen, which I just cleaned yesterday!

Wipe up the mess and decide to take it easy for a little bit. Go out to check the mail, and there is a letter from a law firm trying to collect on an old debt from when I was married. It was in my name, so ma'am we need to you to make arrangements to pay. Go back inside and I can tell my kid is bummed so I decide to take him to rent the game he wanted me to buy. We are having a great time and are pulling back into our complex and for some God unforeseen reason I guess I cut the corner into my parking place too close and me and CJ hear a pop. He gets out of the car and I look in my rear view mirror to see him standing and holding the trim that goes over my back tire! Aaarrgghh!!! I don't know whether to laugh or cry!!! I control myself and tell him to put the piece in the trunk, I will have it fixed next week. Walk into the house and go to put something in the trash in the kitchen and my tennis shoes stick all across the floor!! So much for the great cleanup on the Dr. Pepper!! We eat dinner and then I decide that CJ and I should run and vacuum and wash the car. If it has to look Ghetto missing a piece at church tomorrow, at least it will be clean Ghetto!! :)

Get back into the car to go home and when we were wiping out the car apparently one of us hit the CD eject button. Push the CD back in and the precious voice of my mother comes through the speakers singing these words:
"I know what gladness is, I've had my share
I know what sadness is, I've been down there
I know the peace and joy the Lord can bring
Down on my knees I learned what really changes things.
The only way to God is earnest prayer
Just breath His holy name, He will be there.
He knows the grief you bear, you're every pain
Just go to God alone, Prayer Changes Things!"

I started smiling and realized that I was having my own "God Wink" experience at that moment. Nothing that I could do in myself could fix anything that I was going through the day. I got into that car just a few moments before saying to myself..What in the world am I going to do? And then that precious voice begin to sing those words. My son looked at me not knowing what I was thinking and said I'm going to download this to my phone! I love Mamaw's CD :) Simple, but just for me. Yes, I still have bills to pay, a car to fix, a budget to stick to and a messy floor but I realize that I am not alone in it. Jesus is there with me in the middle of all of the irritation :) He is listening and moving on my behalf. Not always how I want or as fast as I want, but moving none the less. All I have to do is take a moment to call on His name and He will be there :)

Don't know what struggles you may be dealing with or mountains you may be facing in your life, but I don't have to. Each of us in our own way has been there before. The truth is..Prayer Does Change Things. God is always listening, walking beside us, patiently waiting for us to call on Him. I know each of us would rather not have to go through the little irritations in life and would welcome those instantaneous moments of blessing everyday. But making it through something and coming out stronger speaks for itself! Learning to live a life full of prayer is worth it. He is there. He is listening. And even as I type this, He is moving on our behalf! Praying for you today my friend!! :) Here with you in this journey of life...
Your Friend-April