Mind over Matter

I received the news. More work is coming your way. Internally I didn’t take the news well. But on the outside, I tried to show willingness for the extra tasks at hand. I was annoyed. I was frustrated. I had finally jumped one of the last hurdles of a busy fourth quarter. I was ready for a slow February. So I didn’t take the news well. But it was news I was expecting. Just not all in one fell swoop.

The words that I kept hearing in my mind were a rebuke.  They were words telling me that my attitude was wrong. They were saying I should know better than to be so upset about something so small. They said you’re bigger than this. Don’t let this annoyance bring you down.

What is in the heart, the mouth speaks.  Matthew 12:34

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

 So I knew I must be silent, because the meditations of my heart were not pleasing to God. I knew that. And I knew I must not voice them. I knew I needed to dig deep to find out why I was so annoyed. What was the real issue anyway?


We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4


Someone else had assigned a task. I did the work. But then they redid the whole thing. The final piece didn’t have one ounce of my efforts in it. I didn’t want to be offended, but I kind of was. Why? What did it matter? Did they think my work wasn’t good enough? Maybe. Did they want to take the project in a different direction? Obviously. So why wasn’t I ok with that? I knew I needed to be. I knew I couldn’t let a bad attitude creep in. I knew that I needed to be able to applaud them for a job well done, if it ever came to that. And I needed to mean it. Not force the compliment.

So I set out to pray. For myself. For my stinking attitude. I’m only human. But I want to be godly. I want to be an example of how to handle a disappointing situation. Did I pass the test? Only time will tell.

Someone else insulted me to my face. She didn’t realize what she was saying. But I sure did. I chalked up her words to youth and ignorance. For one day, she will stand in my shoes. And when the tables are turned on her, we’ll see how she responds. Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut that day.

If I want to be like Christ, then I need to be like Christ at that moment when it counts. Not tomorrow or next month. But right now. Right when the truth smacks me right in the face. Right when I have the opportunity to prove to myself that God is enough in all the trials of life.

I’ve learned that in those moments of  frustration, disappointment, insult or direct honesty, I do have a choice. I can choose to be like Christ or not.  Easy or not. I need to take a step back. Listen to what’s being said. Appreciate the fact that I have work to do. Be willing to take criticism. I can be a godly example. It is a choice.

Heart Problems

She said my name with a sense of urgency.  She wanted me to do something that was her responsibility.  She had forgotten about it.  It was now urgent.  Do or die time.  And now it was my burden.  I had now been tasked with the responsibility to make things right.

Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.  Someone close to me uses that phrase.  But somehow I couldn’t say those words.

I could feel the bad attitude rising quickly within me.  I could have used words that would have reduced her to something small.  But that would have made me smaller.  I could have slammed a file down on the desk.  Or stomped off.  That would have caused more problems.  Instead, I stewed.  Boiling on the inside. No one can see stewing, can they?

Words can hurt people.  Actions can hurt people.  You can’t take those things back.  Both words and actions are devastating.  Thoughts and attitudes are just as destructive.  Is my bad attitude harmful to others?  Who is harmed if I think ugly thoughts?  If I don’t act on them?

Bad thoughts and attitudes are destructive to the one who thinks them.  They make a person bitter.  Or rude.  Or greedy.  Or judgmental.  And they spill out onto the next person.


Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.  Psalm 19:14


Whatever comes out of the mouth begins in the heart.  Maybe I should put duct tape over my mouth to keep the ugly words out.  Is it possible to duct tape my heart, as well?  Would that keep the ugly thoughts away?  Would that stop the bad attitudes?

Then I remembered.  I’ve been trying to approach situations as if I’m doing everything for Jesus.  If Jesus had been the one asking me to do this thing, would I have created stew?  Would my attitude be different just because the messenger is different?  Is it fair to be willing to do for one what I’m not willing to do for others?

As soon as my thoughts turned to who I was really working for, I felt a shift of my attitude.  I was willing to do this.

It was actually a simple task she asked of me.  It was just scheduled over an event I had already planned.  My schedule had to change in order to accommodate someone else’s need.  I knew that no matter what my attitude was, I would still have to do what was asked of me.  I didn’t have a choice.  Maybe that was the problem.  I didn’t have a choice.

Sure, that person messed up.  I could help them out.  I’m sure they were going to get a talking to later, so why should I make the situation worse by being difficult.  It’s all a matter of the heart.  The attitude.  Whatever is in the heart comes out in actions and words.  Kind or unkind.  Pleasant or ugly.  Good or bad.

There is a choice.  It’s really a simple choice.  Remove the emotions and treat someone the way you would want to be treated.  Sounds so simple, yet sometimes the struggle is very real.