One afternoon I was having a late lunch with a friend at a nice restaurant. Throughout the lunch, I noticed my friend was becoming increasingly irritated with our waiter who was somewhat forgetful, inattentive and slow. My friend’s frustration was starting to show, and it was pretty much out of character. I chuckled as I asked her why she was allowing the waiter to get her so worked up. She told me, “I have a hard time dealing with people who are just plain slow. I get frustrated when people are lollygagging and only doing their job halfheartedly. Sometimes, I get so irritated that I blurt out something that I know I shouldn’t say, and then I get mad at myself for doing it!”
I could tell immediately that she needed to change her perspective, so I asked her, “What are you thinking about right now? Are you keeping score of all his mistakes?”
She began to laugh and said, “Yes, that’s exactly what I am doing.”
I said, “Are his mistakes really worth this whole lunch? Are they so important that they deserve more of your attention than I do?”
She quickly got the message and decided that instead of allowing her circumstances to direct her thoughts, she was going to choose her thoughts more carefully.
Do you ever find yourself getting frustrated at people like my friend did? Do you keep score in traffic or in the grocery store checkout line? What’s going through your mind when that coworker, who always seems to annoy you, approaches you during lunch? Are you thinking, Here we go again? If so, realize that when you go back into your memory and retrieve past frustrations, you are setting yourself up to relive them. You are allowing negative thinking to direct your day instead of being directed by the Holy Spirit of God. That’s why we have to be conscious of every thought and be careful what we choose to dwell on.
Today, instead of keeping score, choose to keep a positive attitude. When it comes to those little irritations, let people off the hook by looking for the best in them. When you do, you influence others to do the same. Do you ever notice that when you have a negative perspective about someone, it doesn’t take long before the people around you do too? Remember, your words have power to influence people. Don’t sow discord; sow peace. Don’t let your thoughts push you around; instead, push your thoughts around! Choose to see the best in others because when you magnify the good, the good will increase, and you’ll see a harvest of blessing in your own life in return.
“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).