That is such a weird word. It almost seems arrogant. In which it is if you are looking at it from a purely material view, “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.” But what I am talking about here is success as "an accomplishment of an aim or purpose." And in order to reach our aim in life we must set goals. It is a growth process. And a lot of times the road to success is through difficult circumstances.
This reminds me of a time I was teaching my son (who was then nine years old) how to snorkel. We were planning a trip to the Caribbean and I wanted to teach him how to snorkel so that he wouldn’t miss out on all the amazing things God has created in the sea. I explained to him how super clear the water is in the Caribbean and that he would be amazed at all that he would see. So we set a goal to learn how to snorkel. So I got into the pool with him, gave him a mask and a snorkel, and asked him to put the mask on.
Here lies problem #1. He didn't want to wear the mask because he said that he can’t breathe with it on.
“Um. Okay. But that is what the mask is for. You aren’t supposed to breathe under water.”
He tried it several times and came up from the water each time throwing the mask off saying, "I hate this." He was blaming the mask for not being able to breathe (which is it’s job, by the way).
After several more attempts to encourage him to “just try to get used to the mask in the water,” I realized that I was getting nowhere. Especially when I saw that he had decided to put the mask on the way he felt it should be worn...positioning the nose piece of the mask right on the bridge of his nose with his nose sticking out from underneath the mask.
Oh brother! Okay, let's move on, I thought. I asked him to get his snorkel. Maybe we can just practice breathing out of the snorkel.
Here lies problem #2. He didn't want to put the mouth piece in his mouth because it hurt. He had lost several teeth so it was difficult for him to adjust the mouthpiece comfortably and close his mouth. After trying to work with him for several minutes I finally threw my hands up and said what I have heard his older brother say to him several times while trying to help him with something... “I can’t work under these conditions.” He has a history of being hardheaded….like his mom I hate to say. So I moved on to helping his brother, Parker, who got it right away and was snorkeling like a champ around the pool. No fuss, no complaining. Just snorkeling!
Nine year old Tanner replies, “I am not good at ANYTHING, Parker is good at EVERYTHING.” “I can’t do anything right!”
On and on he berates himself and gets more and more frustrated…and is determined that he will NEVER learn to snorkel.
He got out of the pool and pouted for awhile and then asks this question….
“Mom, why am I so bad at everything?”
My response…. “You ARE NOT bad at EVERYTHING! What’s BAD is your ATTITUDE!”
This, my friends, is what will sabotage your success every time….A BAD ATTITUDE!
This is a choice we all have. We can choose what kind of attitude we will have. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. Everyone encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond.
What Tanner did when he encountered hardship in snorkeling is immediately tell himself, “I can’t do it” and “I won’t ever be able to do it.”
Once I started identifying the problem with Tanner I began to have grace and mercy. He was just verbally expressing what we all feel inside when we rub up against obstacles in our lives. We are our own worst critic and we will bring up all the other million things we didn’t do right to make our case for an “I can’t” attitude. Add that on top of comparison and you have a defeated little heart who begins to think that something must be wrong with him because he “can’t” but everyone else “can.”
Have you ever felt that way?
I sure have. I have stood in the way of my success time after time after time with a bad attitude…with an “I can’t” mentality.
“We can trace all our human problems to our view of God.”
- Bill Bright
Can our bad attitude really be traced back to our view of God? What about snorkeling? Can Tanner’s bad attitude be a result of his view of God?
What would your life look like if you truly believed that God created you uniquely and for a purpose (for success)? What if you believed that God was big enough to do the impossible?...That He had the power to transform your life and do amazing things in and through you?...That He cares about the smallest details in your life and desires to reveal more about His character even in the rough places?
What if He placed difficult circumstances in your life so that you could enjoy the crystal clear water on the other side and enjoy all that He has created under the sea?...To behold His beauty in a way you never imagined was possible?
Bad attitudes don’t just change overnight. It is a process of getting to know God in such a way that everything about you will begin to change. You will begin to see God for Who He truly is and therefore see yourself for who you truly are…created for greatness reflecting back His glory! So when you find yourself in that uncomfortable place...push through it, put the mask on, breathe through the snorkel….you will be amazed at how a little discomfort in your life will create growth and courage in you. You will be transformed into the person God created you to be, enjoying beauty!
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