Once upon a time there were two 8-year old twin boys – completely identical in every way except one. THEIR ATTITUDES! One of the boys was always upbeat…always smiling…always cheerful. To him, the cup was always half-full and there was always a silver lining in every situation.
But the other boy was quite the opposite. Seldom would you find him in a good mood. To him, the cup was always half-empty and there was never a silver lining. He was always worried. Always depressed. Always down on life.
Their parents began to worry about these unhealthy extremes in their boys. One boy took life way too seriously and had too much anxiety. The boy was the polar opposite. Life was a party for him. He needed to be brought down to earth a little bit. So the parents came up with a plan. For their 9th birthday, they were determined to find a way to balance their children out.
First they went to a toy store and spent hundreds of dollars on all the latest toys, games and electronics for their depressed son. They filled his room with these items while he was out at school and thought to themselves “When he comes home and sees all these toys, that’ll cheer him up a little.”
For the other son, they filled his room with something different...much different…HORSE MANURE! Yep, that’s right. 30 cubic yards of horse manure, fresh from the stables!
They had the perfect plan…or so they thought.
The boys came home from school. They were told that they each have a birthday surprise in their rooms and sent to go see what it would be. The parents left the children in their rooms for a few minutes and then went in to see the results.
First they went to the boy who received all the toys. To their surprise, they walked in and the boy was crying. “What happened?” they said.
“I wanted the blue racing car, not the red one. And this video game isn’t the newest one – there’s a newer one that just came out last week. And this watch is a digital one but I’m not a baby anymore and I wanted a watch like daddy’s. THIS IS THE WORST BIRTHDAY EVER!”
Bewildered and frustrated, the parents walked out of the room. They couldn’t believe that he was still sad. Then they went to see their other son – fully expecting to find him upset as well.
But when they went in they couldn’t find their son. All they saw was the big pile of manure and that’s it. They called out for him and suddenly they see him pop out from the midst of the manure – his entire body covered with manure, yet somehow displaying the biggest smile on his face.
“Mom! Dad! Thank you SO MUCH! This is the best present ever!”
“Huh?” asked the very confused set of parents.
“You guys know that I always wanted a pony. That’s been my dream for years. And I finally got one. And not just any pony, but there must be a super-duper, colossal-size pony in here somewhere. LOOK AT ALL THE POOP HE LEFT!”
It’s all in how you see it. The Bible says it this way:
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6).
Your perspective is the autopilot of your life. It sets the tone for how we live. Change your perspective and you can change your life. Keep the same perspective and you’ll only be spinning your wheels when you try to change your behavior. It all starts in your mind.
How would you characterize your thinking? What naturally tends to dominate your perspective? Is it:
Worry about your future. Worry about your family. Worry about whether or not things will ever change. If your perspective is dominated by fear/anxiety, you’ll never find rest from your worries. You’ll always find something to worry about. And if you have nothing, you’ll be worried even more because you’ll think that God is just saving up something big to dump on you. Right worriers?
Nothing’s ever good enough for you. Not happy with your circumstances. Not happy with people. Not happy with who you are and not optimistic that there’ll ever be a time where you are. If this is you, I promise you that no change in circumstances will satisfy you. You need a change in attitude, not a change in circumstances.
“Life will never change. I will never find the answer to my problems. Life is just one dead end after another. What’s the point of even trying???”
What dominates your thinking? Would anyone out there say that their perspective is based on TRUST in God? HOPE in our Heavenly Father? PEACE that all things work together for good to those who love God?
“I have set Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices.” Psalm 16:8-9
That’s the goal. The goal isn’t to fool ourselves into thinking “everything’s ok.” I'm not advocating that we stick our heads in the sand and convince ourselves that we have no problems. No way. Not at all.
But we must see through the bad and find the good. We must look past the pain and find the purpose. It’s there. It’s always there. As long as my Father is still alive and sitting on His Throne in heaven, then there’s hope. There's always hope. There’s always good to be found. There’s always a reason to rejoice.
But you have to look for it. Why? Because in the end, you will find what you look for.
Send a butterfly off into the forest…what will he find? A flower. Send an anteater off into the same forest…what he will find? Ants. Why? Because each one finds what they’re looking for.
So what are you looking for?