// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
I WANT TO ASK a thought-provoking question: Are you a pessimist or an optimist? A pessimist always sees something bad in a good situation. An optimist will always see something good in a bad situation.
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. "I'm the greatest hitter in the world," he announced. Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it—and missed. "Strike one!" he yelled.
Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down, he swung again and missed. "Strike two!" he cried.
The little boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. "Strike three!" "Wow!" the little boy exclaimed. "I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"
Your attitude determines how circumstances impact your life. The little boy's circumstances hadn't changed, but his optimistic attitude prompted him to give an encouraging meaning to what had happened.
An old adage says, "You'll find whatever you look for." If you look for trouble, you will find trouble. If you look for faults, you will find them. If you look for the positive, the good, the helpful—you will find it.
Years ago a story was told of a man who owned a record company. Do you remember those vinyl disc records? Besides running the operation, he spent many hours in production creating the master discs from which other records were pressed.
Over the years his ears became adept at catching the "pops and sizzles"—the imperfections that had to be eliminated from the master disc so they would not carry over to the copies. One day someone remarked to him that working with music must be enjoyable. His response was enlightening. He said, "You know, I haven't listened to music in years. When I turn on my sophisticated home stereo, no matter what recording I'm listening to, all I hear are the pops and sizzles."
That is the way we sometimes are with life. We can become so attuned to all the negatives that we look at everything with a destructive mental attitude. The world can program us to be negative. News is not news unless it is bad. We rarely hear about good deeds or positive things.
We tend to focus on the difficulties in our lives. We look at what has gone wrong or what we do not have. We concentrate on our weaknesses and mistakes. Certainly life can bring unmet needs, broken dreams, and unfulfilled expectations. It can be easy to focus on problems and heartaches. But when we do, we can get depressed and lose our joy.
What should we focus on? Colossians 3:1–2 (NIV) says, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Focus on the Lord—not on the world. I am thankful that I was raised in a Christian home where we were taught the importance of seeking the Lord first. My parents always focused on Matthew 6:33: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" (NLT).
My focus all my life has been to delight in the Lord—to focus on seeking Him, not the world. We must set our hearts and minds on things above. My head and my heart have to be moving in the same direction or inner conflict will erupt. If my head doesn't want the same thing that my heart does, I will have difficulty staying focused.
Romans 8:28 tells us that when we stay focused on God, "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose" (AMPC).
Make a daily choice to stay focused on God and on the positive things in your life. As you keep your focus on Him, even negative things will turn around for your good.