Choosing How We Live
One of the greatest truths in life is that our mindset, attitude, and outlook is completely our choice. Some understand this, but many do not. We don’t always choose our circumstances or what might come our way, but we always get to choose how we will respond or not respond. This Easter season, it occurs to me that there are three basic ways we can choose to live. The first way is to be “perpetually disappointed.” Life is always a burden. You are always the victim. Nothing ever seems fair. You can point out everything that is wrong, but you don’t really offer any solutions. You get frustrated and angry with other people and blame them for your problems. You get irritated, short-tempered, and upset. You lose your sense of humor, and you stop doing the things you really enjoy. You may even feel like God has let you down or abandoned you. You feel isolated and alone. And the problem with perpetual disappointment is, it’s perpetual. It’s ongoing. The words and criticisms of others seem to dictate the mood that you are going to be in. Many got to this point during the pandemic.
The second way to live is to be “simply present.” You are here. You’re not necessarily down, but nothing excites you. This group is along for the ride. They may not like their job, but they’re not going to go find another one. They may think their friends are boring, but they’re not going to find new friends. They may feel stuck in their marriage, but they’re not doing anything to enhance it or make it better. The present group finds no real passion, no interest, and no motivation. At times they might complain and be negative like the first group but at the end of the day, they don’t really care all that much. Conversations aren’t that interesting or deep. They’re not really excited about anything. At least this group shows up and participates, but something is still deeply missing.
The third and best way to live is to be “alive in Christ.” Or to say this differently, to live with Christ alive in you. For Christians, this should be our goal. This is the group that understands what the resurrection is all about! Christ’s resurrection is not just something that happened two thousand years ago in Jerusalem – that’s true. But Christ must continue to be alive in us today. Those who are alive in Christ acknowledge that life can be difficult, people can be cruel, circumstances can be challenging, but they make a conscious decision to control their own destiny. They don’t let the words and actions of others bring them down. This group recognizes that every day and everywhere, they have a chance to help, to encourage, to serve, and to share love. Every situation is an opportunity.
When you meet people in this third group, they radiate energy. They listen with empathy. They genuinely care about others. They run from people who are pessimistic and negative all the time. Those who live this way understand the Golden Rule, and they treat others the way they want to be treated. They are aware that deep pain and hurt exist in the world, so they do whatever they can to help. Those who live this way seem to naturally draw others to themselves because others want what they have. Those who are alive in Christ choose their friends and company carefully in order to be around people who will make them better and have a positive influence on them. This group lives with an Easter mindset grounded in hope, not fear; in faith not certainty; in forgiveness not resentment; in peace not anger; in letting things go and not holding on to the past. Those who can live this way have little to fear or regret.
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