“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl
Do you ever notice that some people have a perpetual smile on their face while others are described more easily as miserable most of the time? Part of it could be that some people are more naturally optimistic and others more pessimistic, but I think there is more to it than that.
I think that people have a choice to determine how they are going to look at circumstances. I am not suggesting that people pretend life is wonderful when they are facing home foreclosure, unemployment, serious illness, or death of a loved one. I am saying that despite worldly circumstances, sometimes incredibly serious ones, every individual still has power over one important aspect of his life.
Choice: We all have it. We can choose to worry or we can choose to trust. We can choose to dwell on the negative aspect of a situation or we can choose to find the positive, even if it is very small. We can choose to praise God in the midst of our “life lesson,” or we can choose to have a negative attitude that affects not only our life but those around us too – spouse, children, family, friends, and coworkers.
I know, even though it is a choice, it is hard at times to focus on trusting God instead of focusing on the circumstance. It is hard to focus on the few positives that are occurring instead of the huge looming negatives staring in our face.
But, ultimately, it is a choice. What legacy do we want to leave to those around us – whether they are our children or our friends? Do we want to be known as people who trusted God when the circumstances were bleak and seemed impossible, knowing that He would come through for us, usually in ways that we could never imagine? Or do we want to be remembered as people who put our trust in ourselves, situations, or other people and the outcomes did not turn out as favorably?
I personally am working toward being the type of person known for trusting God, asking Him to show off in my life for His glory, not mine, so that I can then in turn introduce more people to the goodness and grace that He offers to them as well. And lastly, probably most importantly, I have found that the more I stretch my choosing trust muscle, the more miracles I see performed in my life and the better witness to God’s goodness I can be to those around me. When I focus on trusting God instead of focusing on my problems, then I am more open to looking around and seeing how I can bless others instead of thinking only about me. While I am choosing to trust, it is important to thank God ahead of time for what answer He is going to provide. That is the example I want to be to others around me.