Friday, January 7, 2011

Now I Know My ABCs

I had a conversation with a friend the other day and she asked me something that is a fairly frequent question.

"How do you keep a positive attitude in the midst of everything that's going on with Lily?  I mean, all the unknowns, all the uncertainties.  How do you even get up in the morning knowing what all you have to face?"

My first response is always this - "I didn't know I had a choice.  Are you saying I can actually choose to just stay in the bed every morning and not get up?  Well, I know what I'm doing tomorrow morning!"

My second response is - "Because I'm the mom and this is what moms do.  We're martyrs, right?"

Of course, neither one of these responses is actually true, nor do they really answer the first part of the question about maintaining a positive attitude.

And my response to that is - "Brace yourself.  I don't always have a positive attitude.  Sometimes, I have a downright bad attitude.  I stomp my feet.  I shake my fist.  And I whine.  Oh, do I whine.  To the point where my big girls are offering me cheese to go with my whine."

And the absolute truth is, sometimes a bad attitude feels good.  I want to be mad.  I want to feel sorry for myself.  I want to really wallow in my misery.  And I don't want anyone to try and make me feel better.

Oh!  Ouch!  I think I just fell off my "Pastor's Wife Pedestal".

I apologize if I've disappointed anyone.

The good news is that I really don't want to live my life with a bad attitude.  It may feel good for 15 minutes, maybe even a whole day.

But it don't feel good forever. (purposeful bad grammar for the sake of emphasis)

I know that most of you are probably familiar with Charles Swindoll's statement on attitude but all of us can use a refresher so preach it, Chuck!

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.

Wow.  Are you letting that sink in?

All the lines are awesome but that last line, I LOVE.  "...we are in charge of our attitudes."

Why do I love that particular line so much?

Because it says I can be in charge.

I can't control much of what happens in my life but I can be in charge of my attitude.

And I like to be in charge.

Just ask my family.

On second thought, please don't.

Let's just move on.

I have come up with a little something called The Autism Alphabet.  But really, it can be applied to just about any circumstance you find yourself in.

So how do I keep a positive attitude in the midst of everything going on with Lily?

Well, I can....

be Angry or look at my life as an Adventure.
be Bitter or I can recognize Lily for the Blessing she is.
Cry all the time or I can seek Comfort from the Lord.
feel Defeated or I can be Delighted in the Lord.
be Envious of other moms or I can be Encouraged by a strong support network.
feel like a Failure or I can Focus on Lily's progress.
Gripe or I can look at Lily as a Gift straight from Heaven.
Hate the unknowns or I can have Hope in the future.
be Impatient or I can be Inspired by all Lily has taught me.
be Jealous or I can be Joyful.
Kick and scream or I can be Kind.
Loathe each day or I can strive for Laughter.
be Mad at God or I can see the Masterpiece Lily is.
have a Negative attitude or I can look at each day with New eyes.
feel Overwhelmed or I can Observe God's daily presence in my life.
be totally Pitiful or I can accept Lily as a Precious gift just the way she is.
be Questioning of the Lord or I can just be Quiet and let Him work.
Resent the Lord or I can seek Refuge in Him.
feel Sorry for myself or I can offer Support to others.
look at Lily as a Tragedy or I can be Thankful for her.
be just plain Ugly or I can celebrate Lily's Uniqueness.
be a Victim or I can be Victorious.
Weep tears of sorrow or I can Whoop with joy.
look for the nearest eXit or I can face each day with eXcitement.
can Yell or I can say Yippe!  Yahoo!  Yay!
live like a Zombie or I can be Zippy!

Ok - I know several of those (especially towards the end there) are really reaching but I think you get the idea.

I get to choose my attitude.

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."  Winston Churchill

It's all up to me.


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