We have a choice every time we are faced with an adversity. We see it in a positive light or a negative light. We often cannot choose the things we are presented with but we can choose how we respond to them. As a old colleague of mine used to say, “You can be bitter or you can be better.”
In his book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey says, “We see the world, not as it is but as we are-or as we’re conditioned to see it.” What a poignant statement. We often do not see things as they are. We see the through the lens of our life and current situation. Finding a dollar bill laying on the ground when you are broke is different than finding a dollar bill on the ground when you are a millionaire. Both times it is a dollar bill. Our current situation gives us a different perspective on the opportunities with which we are presented.
Covey goes on to say, “We must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as the world we see and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.” We should really take a few moments to examine the why. We see things certain ways because of our past experiences. Context is a powerful thing. We can change the way we see things by changing our circumstances and surroundings. We can gain perspective which can change the lens through which we see the world.
A great example of this is found is Philippians 1. Paul is writing this book while he is in prison, literally chained to a guard. He could be bitter and choose to see things through a negative lens. Instead, he chooses to see it as the guard is chained to him. What a way to view things.
Instead of limiting his ministry, the chains now appeared useful, indicating he was blessed and advancing God’s purposes. The way you see is more important than the tragedy. The way you see is stronger than any calamity. The way you see is bigger than the details of the catastrophe.
Ultimately, having a negative view of your current situation is based on the belief that God doesn’t have you right where he wants you. You are in the place you are in because God wants you there. I know that is a tough sentence to read when you are in the middle of your entire life falling apart, but God teaches you through every circumstance.
Positivity is a character trait. It can be learned and developed. Cultivate positivity.