I’ve often said I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. The attitude I choose keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me. I’ve discovered through the years that life is made up of about 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I respond to it.
Yes, “there’s a time to mourn.” The psalmist makes it clear that grief and lament are part of human experience. Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows.
Yet often we let our mourning expand to fretting over the less significant trials we can’t change instead of giving attention to what we can change, our choice of attitude. Yes, there’s a time to grieve. But there’s also a time to dance—not because “the glass is half full” but because the Lord Jesus Christ reigns!
Often, however, we’d prefer to pout. Stop and think about what sucks up our mental energy: the weather, the political climate, traffic, people’s actions and criticisms, who won or lost the game, canceled flights, broken dishwashers, delayed food, and gasoline costs. And what does dwelling on these things get us? Ulcers, high blood pressure, sourness, depression.
But when we keep God in the picture, everything can change. “Life under the sun” can become “life from the hand of God.” Chasing after meaning is transformed into the pursuit of God. That includes the good life—the life that truly satisfies—that exists only when we stop whining about the current one. It is the condition of savoring what is, rather than longing for what might be. The itch for perfection, the lust for something else is a virus draining our souls of contentment.
Have you noticed? Traffic never moves fast enough. A worker never earns enough. Clothes are never fashionable enough. Food is never fancy enough. Relationships are never romantic enough. Life is never full enough.
Satisfaction comes when we step off the escalator of discontent and say, “This is enough. What I have will do. What I make of it is up to me and my vital union with the Lord.”
The Father loves us. Christ arose. The Spirit will never leave or forsake us. The Almighty controls the weather and the “heart of the king.” The heavens declare the glory of God. The One who clothes flowers has arrayed them with more beauty than Solomon in all his glory. “All shall be well.”
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.