January 1, 2016

How to Plan for a Positive Mindset

It’s the beginning of a new year. It should be a time of anticipation and joy. It’s a period to set goals and move forward in specific areas. After all, if we don’t make any plans, no improvements will happen, right? “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, as the saying goes.

If we aren’t pushing ahead, we’re sliding backwards. That’s it. There are no two ways about it.

Human beings are not static. We aren’t frozen in time, so to speak. Individuals constantly breathe, move, and make decisions—for better or for worse. Yet, what if life intervenes and we seem to have no control over some, or most, areas of our lives? What if the decision-making process seems to be taken out of our hands?

That is beyond tough, as I know well! Let’s examine the calamities some survivors, including me, are going through right now:
  • Flooding near their home
  • Job loss near the traditional age of retirement
  • Bankruptcy
  • Severely life-limiting chronic illness that’s gone on for years
  • Debilitating depression
  • Disrespect and trauma in the home
  • Children making self-sabotaging choices (for years)
  • Spouses who aren’t willing or able to make a true emotional connection
  • Not as financially successful as others in their chosen field

You may not have any of these challenges. The list is not limited. There are a number of trials that can initiate despair.

The Solution

The cure is simple, yet elusive: Don’t be distracted by temporary setbacks, whether they last for hours, days, or years. This is my main New Year’s resolution; everything else will fall into place. My health will improve, as our health is always impacted by our state of mind. My sense of peace within the horrific storms of life will expand. Who knows what other benefits I’ll see when I finally let go of trying to regulate something that’s, frankly, beyond my control?

In actuality, worry and anxiety never help, as I’ve learned through hard experience. They are counterproductive. They are a trap. God only works in an atmosphere of peace. It’s the devil who feeds on trouble.

The Trap (Skandalon)

The Greek word, skandalon, is used quite a few times in the Bible, particularly in the four gospels.  Here are some explanations:

Strong’s Concordance: “a stick for bait (of a trap) generally a snare, a stumbling block, an offense.” It is the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim.
Vine’s New Testament Dictionary: “an offense…always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.”
Biblestudytools.com:  “impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall.”
Wikipedia: “stumbling block--a behavior or attitude that leads to sin.”

My Conclusion

Overwhelming things happen to many of us. Often, life gets so tough that we want to throw our hands in the air and give up—just stop trying. Here’s a crazy truth to remember during times of ridiculous trauma: We choose our state of mind no matter what we’re going through. We have the power to avoid disturbances and stay on the path to peace.

How are you avoiding the snares of anxiety and other distractions?

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