IT’S OUR CHOICE

For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. [1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)]

I choose to feel blessed. I choose to feel grateful. I choose to be excited. I choose to be thankful. I choose to be happy. I choose to believe in Jesus Christ. [D’s daily affirmations]

laugh moreYears ago, there was a character on Saturday Night Live named Stuart Smalley. From a highly dysfunctional family, he was a member of several twelve-step programs. As part of his mock self-help TV show, Stuart would look into a mirror and recite daily affirmations like “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” In fact, Smalley’s creator, Al Franken, published a tongue-in cheek book of his alter ego’s affirmations that included “When I Go Home to Visit My Family I Will Stay in a Motel!” and that twelve-step maxim, “Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt!”

We can laugh at Stuart’s affirmations but what we say to ourselves every day is of utmost importance. The word affirmation comes from the Latin word affirmare, which means to make steady or strengthen. Affirmations really do strengthen us because they break the cycle of negative thoughts that lead to negative speech and negative actions. In short, if we think and say we can’t, we won’t! If we say we can, we probably will!

Stuart came to mind when a church friend told me she starts her day with prayer, Bible reading, devotions, and five daily affirmations. When I asked her to share them, her email response started with the words, “You have a choice.” Indeed, we do. God doesn’t consult us when our spouse dies or we have a stroke, the boss doesn’t give us a choice when he fires us and the tornado doesn’t offer an alternative route when it passes through our yard. Nobody consults us when the baby is born with cerebral palsy, the stock market crashes, or we become victims of a crime. God doesn’t ask us to pick the day’s weather or whether we’d prefer health, arthritis or melanoma. We don’t get much of a choice about what life hands to us; we do, however, have a huge choice about how we face it.

So, what sort of things should we affirm? An article in the Huffington Post suggested thirty-five phrases including, “I radiate beauty, charm, and grace,” and “I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.” Rather than turning to Stuart Smalley or popular media, however, I’d rather do as my friend does and look to God’s word to guide my daily affirmations.

Because of Psalm 112:7, I choose to face life with confidence: “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.”

Because of Ephesians 4:32, I choose to be compassionate and forgiving: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Because of 1 Peter 4:8, I choose to love: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

Because of 1 Chronicles 16:34, I choose to be thankful: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

Because of Proverbs 31:25, I choose laughter and joy in the face of adversity: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Because of Colossians 3:12, I choose to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit. “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

What are your daily affirmations? How do you choose to face today?

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right. [Henry Ford]

A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. … For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. [Proverbs 15:13,15 (NLT)]

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