I’m participating in a 21-day worry-free group on Facebook, and the word for today is endurance. It’s an attribute that many of us lack, because it’s one that must be cultivated.
It’s really not a natural thing for us to willingly go through difficulties, especially extended ones, much less go through them with a positive attitude. Our brain and body were created to quickly move us away from any form of danger, pain, or suffering. When we can’t or don’t move away, the mechanisms inherent to the fight or flight response continue to escalate within us, often leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression. And while this response is natural, we don’t have to be ruled by our nature.
Our mind has the power to counter the responses. Did you know that our brain and body react exactly the same way to false danger as they do to real danger? Our mental perspective results in our physical response. If we perceive the situation in a negative light, our bodies respond accordingly. But if we frame that same situation in a positive light, we are able to remain more at peace.
For the sake of clarity, I’m not talking about actual trauma. But for anything less, reframing can be very beneficial.
Here is a simple example, suppose you are traveling and find your connecting flight delayed. I speak from personal experience as it has happened many times. If you perceive the delay in a negative way, you’ll feel stressed and may even act out in anger. But if you reframe that delay as a chance to finish your report, explore the airport, or an opportunity to be kind to a stranger, you won’t feel stressed. You just might feel blessed.
Asking the right types of questions is one of my favorite re-framing tools. Instead of questions like:
- Why is this happening to me?
- Why is my co-worker so mean to me?
- Why isn’t life fair?
Try asking questions like:
- What can I learn from this?
- How can I use this to get better?
- How will I glorify God in this?
Asking better questions leads to better outcomes. The first types of questions are victim questions. They reflect powerlessness, focusing on things beyond our control. The second types of questions are victor questions. They are empowering, focusing on what we can control. The situation doesn’t change, but our outlook and attitude does. And sometimes with a better attitude, we find that we can actually change the situation because we are no longer stuck in a trap of limiting beliefs.
The victim trap is no place for anyone to remain, but most especially a child of the Most High. So, I want to encourage you today, should you find yourself there, to pull out your Bible and apply it to your circumstance. It’s a great source of wisdom and of authority on controlling your mind. Below are just a few. Study them, pick one or two to memorize, or write them out and place them where you’ll see them. Claim the power God has given you.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV
Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Col. 3:2 ESV
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 ESV
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 1 Peter 10: 3-4 ESV
Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life. Prov. 4:23 NCV
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, – 2 Cor. 10:5 ESV
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 ESV
When we work together with the power of the Holy Spirit to reframe the struggles of the day, we can leave stress and worry behind and, in faith, walk with endurance the path set before us.
Be blessed today.
Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.