Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hotter Than...Well, You Know! Keep it to Yourself.

Yesterday it was Spring and today it's Summer-with-a-vengeance. That's how it happens in Phoenix. I was raised right here in this blazing city but still struggle with the sweltering heat every year. Our vehicles sizzle as we enter them, the sun fries our skin if we aren't fully covered in SPF 50 and clothing options are limited. Comfort wins over style as we don shorts and sleeveless tops.

Last year I realized I had spent my entire life of summers complaining about the heat. We all do it. Casual conversations with store clerks, waitresses and friends are riddled with short comments about how hot it is. I decided to make a promise to myself that I wasn't going to utter any more negative comments about the rising mercury. It took discipline and intention, but I had a lot of success. When I'd slip and the H word would bounce out of my mouth I'd quickly change the subject.

Guess what happened? I actually didn't notice the debilitating heat quite so much. My mind was learning a new way of thinking; I was retraining my thoughts to move away from the heat so that my conversation didn't drift there.

This can be applied to any issue we tend to be bothered by and give undue negative attention to.

Do you think people don't know it's hot? You're not enlightening them. Do you think they are encouraged that you hate it too? It probably doesn't ease the discomfort.

But if you smile and talk about pleasant things you might divert their attention to a more cheerful topic and get a smile in return. Our words wield great power and they are typically generated by our attitudes and thoughts. If we purposely take our thoughts captive ("Put on the mind of Christ") and don't spew out the junk that sometimes surfaces, we can be a vessel of kindness and positive influence. Negative attitudes and complaints are contagious but encouragement is even more so.

Philippians 4:8 tell us, "Whatever is true, noble, right pure, lovely and admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." ...and we usually speak about what we're thinking, so this way of thinking will edify others.

If not the heat, what thought do you sometimes dredge up and share with others? Are you willing to do the work and replace that with a new way of thinking and interacting? The investment will be worth it.

Diane Markins

7 comments:

Jeff Williams said...

Diane,

This is an awesome post! Thank you for a reminder that can't come too often regarding what we set our minds on. Isn't it amazing that what we think about an how we think about those things so powerfully affects how we feel, AND how others feel?

I am inspired to pay more attention to the utterances of my mouth, and more so the thoughts I choose to dwell on.

by the way, "How's the Weather?"

Jeff Williams
www.graceandtruthrelationship.com

Anonymous said...

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature."
Marcus Aurelius
Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

Amen Preach it sister

kathleen said...

intentional, positive living. That's my new motto! Thanks Diane.

Michelle Hollomon said...

I think the same could go for "rain". We in Seattle can slosh around with frowns and galoshes grunting at the people around us... or we can comment how green everything is!

SirFloyden said...

Like Michelle says us Seattle folk can use the rain as a hot substitute. I have been practicing what you are preaching. When people start complaining about the rain rather than change the subject I try to throw their mind for a loop. Like its not raining what you are seeing is the essence of life falling from the sky. People walk away smiling or confused which makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

Dear Diane,

It is our human tendency to see more of the negative than the positive during our life's walk.
In the west California and especially Arizona the HEAT is there, but in the east people complain
about the COLD. Then there are those who say I won't live in California for all the EARTH
quakes and fires. They, however are faced with YEARLY hurricanes, gales TORNADOES
floods etc. So it's all about where you are and above all THE MINDSET!

It's far better to THINK POSITIVELY than not.

But one forgets that all this IS GOD'S GOOD earth, amen amen

In God we trust,

David A.