Some people claim that they live in the real world (and by implication some others, therefore, don’t). Many people want to do something which will count or in other words ‘change the world’ even if only a little bit. When someone shares one of your experiences, you may say, “Welcome to my world”. To an unrealistic suggestion we usually retort, “What kind of world are you living in?” Some assume the mantle of creator and claim to be part of the “world of finance” or “the computing world”, whilst others join with Lennon and ‘imagine’ a world of particular characteristics. It is possible to say that no two people live in exactly the same world. The person on the next desk, in the adjacent room or on the other end of the phone or e-mail speaks a different language, thinks in different categories and lives by different values and priorities. In this sense, everyone lives in a world of their own.
Psychologists have long realised that it is not just events but the way we see events which can greatly affect our mental health. So suspicion, anger, self-centeredness and fear in our interpretation of events at work, or elsewhere, feedback their stream of messages into our souls and result in stress, depression, anxiety and disease. Those people who take an optimistic, positive view of their world, learning to see themselves as players rather than victims, seem to do better and in a sense live in a different world altogether. I have a suggestion for you this working week; thankfully it’s not original and comes with more authority than I have. Paul, inspired by the Spirit of God, urges a group of Greek Christians to “give thanks in all circumstances”.
Imagine a world where your default reaction to everything is firstly to give thanks. You may say I’m a dreamer, living in a land of clouds or cuckoos rather than deadlines and targets, but consider the implications of this outlook:
It would remind you that there is someone to thank. Losing consciousness of God is one of our biggest risks at work. Thorny problems and prickly people can choke our awareness of him. It has been said that the problem for atheists is that when they see a sunset, there is no-one to thank.
It will also help you to focus on thanking God because of who he is. Thanks are not dependent on circumstances but upon his character. We thank him because he is good.
Thirdly, it will help you find positive aspects in your circumstances. Giving thanks in all circumstances doesn’t automatically mean in spite of the circumstances. It has to include a mindset which looks for the elements that provoke thanks. So a difficult meeting helped you learn a bit more about patience; a set-back helped you find skills you didn’t know you had, or encouraging someone else reminded you of the value of people. Meeting a deadline creates satisfaction; diffusing a potential problem reduces stress all round.
Even if the circumstances are largely difficult, the looking process itself remains healthy.
Put simply, this attitude of thankfulness is a good working practice which will transform your mindset, your health and ultimately your world.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
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