I always felt that was a loaded question when I was a senior pastor or the Head of School. Since one of the primary parts of my job was to stay on top of and fix problems, my brain would sometimes be focused on the negative. How’s “everything” going usually awakened in my consciousness the two or three biggest problems with which I was dealing. I had to check myself before giving an emotional answer.
Keeping an eye on the positive… If I stepped back and looked at the big picture, there were lots of things going well. Some were going so well, they didn’t need my attention at all. Small group or community leaders were doing great jobs and many believers were growing. Here at Veritas, most of the teachers were doing a great job with their students and the children were growing in skills and their joy of learning. At the times when I “counted my blessings”, tracking the victories, my spirits were considerably lifted than when my thoughts were occupied with fixing problems.
How about at your house in your family — how’s everything going? Are you one who, like me, is preoccupied with the things that need fixing? Are these issues weighing you down? Are you sighing around the house or rejoicing?
I found I needed to make a shift so that my mood did not impact the mood of the church. I needed to find the right balance of being objective, honest, but balanced. I started to spend a few minutes before driving to church on a Sunday morning to rehearse in my mind the great things that God was doing. I needed to think of all of the things about which I, and the church, needed to be thankful!
Have you ever noticed how the opening of the Apostle Paul’s letters focused on thanksgiving? His communication, even with a church as messed up as the one in Corinth, started with rejoicing, commendations and praise. (1 Cor. 1:2-9) Even this community of believers who had problems with divisions, sexual immorality, hurtful worship, pride concerning spiritual gifts, and a lack of love, had good points and ways that God was working for the good.
Note that Paul did not neglect the problems, but he started his communication observing the positive and giving thanks for God’s work in their lives.
In our homes and our school, we need to express our thanksgiving. We need to intentionally count our blessings. We need to store them in the front of our minds. “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.” (Philippians 4:8)
An honest, objective answer to the loaded question above was: “Many things, even most things are going great. And like with anything this side of The Fall, there are challenges that need wisdom, grace and prayer. I am rejoicing in the work of God and looking forward to His work in every area! Thanks for asking.”
As I continued to solve problems, I did not make them my focus on “how everything was going.” As I balanced my thinking, my attitude toward everyone, including the challenging ones, was much improved. Do you need any attitude adjustments this week?
Your fellow servant-warrior, Christopher