Permission to Dominate

Calling the shots, running the show. Who’s the boss? If you’re anything like me, you’ve realised with some age and experience, there are very few things over which you truly have control. You might oversee, manage, direct, lead. But ultimate power over your life is fleeting, an out of reach mirage.

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I used to live under the delusion that being fun, attentive, engaging, and kind would govern how much and how many people liked me. The more amazing I was, would surely hold sway over people, forcing them to fancy me.

That’s a hallucination totally not worth the striving.

Worrying what people think of me to the effect of second guessing my decisions used to be a way of life.  Tethered to this issue of control, as if I could create a world where no one would disagree with me. What an illusion!

I’ve had struggles with control my whole life as they relate to an outward fixation on my environment or other people.

Thank God, I’ve found ONE area where I can give full vent to my desire to dominate – the elixir to my insatiable need to be in charge. Imagine, it’s right here with me, in my own possession, accessible 24/7, and ready to be put to use at my beck and call. It’s TOTALLY and utterly subjected to whatever I decide.

You have one too. It’s free of charge and comes with euphoric endorphins that make you feel high on life: your and my “Attitude of Gratitude” has been there all along, lying dormant at times but easily awakened. Just look up from your pain, your frustration, your stress. Thankfulness has the power to change your perspective and shift the atmosphere in your home.

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My Thankfulness Journal, where I document 3 things for which I’m grateful each day. Why not join me and let’s swap stories on its effect?

When I give thanks for the people around me, I suddenly have grace for their mistakes. Praising myself (instead of self-loathing) for working out or eating well, causes my reflection in the mirror to suddenly shine brighter. Words of blessing upon my children for their uniqueness diminish my frustration at their non-cooperation. A Thank You note to my husband helps cross out that list of wrongs I thought about keeping. Praise for my cute yellow house and its great entertaining space makes me less upset about how small it is.

What a powerful feeling – taking control of something so important, so life-giving, and so necessary. What would happen if we all acknowledged this untapped potential we have inside, utter reliance on something as firm and unwavering as gratitude? How might our days differentiate themselves when they find themselves full of fondness?

To look heavenward each day, governed by the Spirit of God who loves us and has our best interests at heart should be our aim. Dominate that space.

“And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way” (Colossians 3:16-17 MSG).

 

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A Cup Check

My whole life, I’ve battled the “glass half empty” mentality.  This will come as a surprise if you know me because I am generally full of joy and positive about everything.  My natural tendency, however, is to see things as a “realist.”  I think that is  my excuse for worrying.  It’s rooted in fear and doubt.  It comes from a desire to protect myself; playing out the worst case scenario somehow makes me think I can handle it better if it comes.  It’s not the way any Christian should look at life.

The word of God is full of His promises to us.  It’s full of descriptions and examples of His character and faithfulness to His people.  There is NO natural reason for any of us to ever walk in doom and gloom.  Or to expect bad things to happen.  I have spent a lot of time taking my thoughts captive as the Bible tells us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5.

In order to see the glass “half full” there must be a conscious effort to choose my response to negative situations in life.  Although I’m not always perfect, I have found the greatest way to battle any negativity is to choose an attitude of gratitude.  Concentrating on the goodness of God and giving Him credit for each and every blessing overrides any sadness, depression, fear, or anxiety.

I can fill my own cup with a spirit of gratefulness.  I think this must be what James was referring to when he said to “consider it pure joy when you face trials” (James 1).  No one really is happy when he faces a problem.  But I can find something of joy in every circumstance and the perseverance I’m building is certainly something to celebrate!

Many of us have experienced inexplicable tragedies or pain that is unbearable.  It’s hard to see the cup half full during these times.  A good friend of mine years ago was walking through a dark time in her life after her husband left her.  It was difficult and lonely yet I never heard one negative word come out of her mouth.  She never spoke ill of her ex-husband.  When I asked how she remained positive despite her circumstances, she taught me something amazing.

She said it would do no good for her to hate him or to feel sorry for herself.  She actually prayed for him everyday.  On days when life was really hard she would take out her journal and literally make a list of things for which she was thankful. Writing down “my bed, my pillow, my breakfast, my car” might be the only things she could come up with some days.  This attitude of gratefulness would crowd out any fear, anger, depression, and/or doubts about her future.  I am forever grateful for what she taught me in that moment.

As my family is in a season of transition, I could easily let my cup dry up and be enslaved by anxiety and fear.  Instead, I wake up everyday and thank God for my blessings.  He fills my cup.

This morning, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for my children, my health, my most loving husband.  I thanked God that we will move to Australia debt free and able to start a new life without financial stress.  I thanked Him for choosing us to start Lift Church.  Most of all, I thanked Him for my salvation and my relationship with my creator who loves me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my CUP overflows. Psalm 23:5