Check Your Outlook

What is your outlook on life? What is your attitude or your point of view? What do your expectations for the future look like? It may not seem like it, but your outlook actually shapes your thoughts and your actions. That's why it's so important to maintain a positive approach to life.

Imagine two people you know who seem to have the very same problem. Let's say that as you observe them, it becomes obvious that one of them remains happy and cheerful while the other has become depressed and miserable. What does that tell you? The truth is that people have a choice. They can choose whether they want to be happy or not. The "problem" is rarely the problem—it's the way that problem is viewed. The approach, or the outlook of that problem, is what makes the difference.

You have to realize that you have a choice about your outlook. You can choose to trust God, believing that everything will work out, or you can choose to believe that God can't or won't help you—that everything in your life is hopeless.

I love how Hebrews 2:13 addresses this issue: And again He says, My trust and assured reliance and confident hope shall be fixed in Him… (AMP). I love the phrase "shall be fixed in Him." This sounds pretty bold to me. What a great declaration! No matter what happens, no matter how difficult or confusing or frustrating things may get, I will fix my hope and trust in Him. It will be okay. It is a choice I make.

You see, your approach to life is your own decision and nobody can make you miserable or angry or frustrated if you decide that you are going to be positive. If someone you know makes a bad decision or uses bad judgment, it doesn't mean you have to allow that to alter your attitude. Why should you allow anyone else's bad decisions to send you into a tailspin of misery?

Let's say I have done my best in a situation but a friend is still angry and dissatisfied about the way I've handled myself or the decisions I've made. Does their bad attitude mean I now have to lose my joy? No, of course not! But I won't just automatically become positive. I have to decide not to let them steal my joy.

It's a personal decision—they decide how they will approach their life, and I must decide how I will approach mine. They may decide to believe the worst, but I can still decide to believe the best. It doesn't take a genius to know which one of us is going to be happy and positive and enjoy their life. Your outlook—your attitude and approach to life—is your choice.

Let me ask you again: What is your outlook on life? Are you positive, always believing the best and ready to show mercy and forgiveness to those who may have hurt you? Or are you depressed, discouraged and discontent because things didn't happen to go the way you had hoped?

Also, it's important to pick your battles wisely. Every one of us is confronted with situations every day that we won't win. We can't allow ourselves to be drawn into those battles. Anytime you feel yourself tempted to have a negative outlook because of someone else's bad decision, let me encourage you to realize that it's a battle you won't win. There isn't anything you can do about the other person. You can only do something about YOU.

When you realize that you are in control of your outlook (and no one else's), you will find that your life will become much simpler and more stress free. No longer will you be influenced by every little thing that comes your way. God has given you the power to decide what your attitude will be. And it's easier to have a positive outlook than a negative one.