In the fall of 1984, I began working at Chick-fil-A in Westmoreland Mall, Greensburg, PA for a man named Bill Forster.
Bill and his wonderful wife Teri had a number of significant positive impacts on my life. For example, Bill challenged me to apply to a new scholarship program that Chick-fil-A had established at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Bill and Teri supported me in that whole process, encouraged me to go for it, and didn’t complain when it meant I left the store to move to Georgia. That set up a whole chain of events in my life, including a change in career direction, significant spiritual growth, amazing opportunities while in college, and even meeting Jewel. I can honestly say that without Bill and Teri, I would never have met Jewel and married her, and we would never have had Bethany.
That’s a pretty significant impact for a couple to have on someone’s life! And I know a number of other people who worked with Bill and Teri whose lives were changed positively because of their influence.
But I want to focus in on one significant area of impact that they had on me in today’s blog: my attitude.
I grew up in Christian home with the world’s greatest Dad and Mom and younger brother. I was privileged to be taught God’s Word from an early age, to memorize Scripture, to make wise choices (which I didn’t always do!), and to live my life in such a way that I would honor the Lord Jesus. I was blessed with a lot of truth, and that foundation still stands strong today.
One area that I had never really considered, though, was my attitude. I’m not sure why; I guess I just never put it together. But Bill and Teri helped put it together for me. They modeled it for me every time I saw them, or worked side-by-side with them. It didn’t matter what they were going through, what the store was going through, or what life brought along – Bill and Teri always, and I mean always, had a positive attitude about life, about their ability to face life with God’s help, and about God’s blessings on their lives.
One night at work, after we had a brief discussion about some of my plans for the future, Bill gave me a copy of a cassette tape (that was a LONG time ago!) by Zig Ziglar on setting and reaching life goals. That tape was a game-changer for me. It opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and planning, to new possibilities in my journey with Jesus, and it helped me understand that I had made some assumptions about following Jesus that weren’t true. I had somehow in my own mind arrived at a place of thinking that setting goals and wanting to be successful was counter to the Kingdom of God. Zig and Bill and Teri helped me understand that God wants us to be fruitful, and that while fruit looks different in different professions and in different peoples’ lives, there was nothing selfish in wanting to excel wherever I was. In fact, bettering myself would equip me to help others do the same at a higher level. For teaching me that and for opening doors in my life and in my thinking, I will be forever grateful to Bill and Teri.
I also learned (again, I don’t know how I missed this, but I did) that I am responsible for my own attitude. No one else can choose my attitude for me; and I can choose to have a positive, expectant, faith-filled attitude regardless of my circumstances or I can choose to let life and other people dictate my attitude. It’s my choice. My mind; I control what I feed it, and what I focus my thoughts on. Up until that point, I had spent a significant part of my teen years with the attitude that “if I don’t expect much, then I won’t be disappointed.” As a result, I had a horrible attitude about a lot of things.
I’ve learned since then that a positive attitude is a huge advantage in life. How I think doesn’t change my circumstances, but it changes my perspective on those circumstances, it changes how I approach those circumstances, it changes how I approach God in the midst of my circumstances, and it changes how I portray Jesus to others in my circumstances!
The Bible actually has a lot to say about how we think and how our thoughts affect our lives, as well as the lives of those we encounter. Over the next few weeks, I’m planning to dedicate several blogs to the power of positive thinking. Don’t let the terminology close your mind to what the possibilities that God’s Word can open up to you!
We’ll dive in on Wednesday’s blog. In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with 3 questions to consider. Feel free to comment below, if you’d like to dialogue:
- Who has had the greatest impact on your attitude in life?
- How would describe your overall attitude about life – positive? Negative? Neutral?
- How would the person who knows you best describe your attitude about life? (Sometimes others can see things in us and about us that we become blind to over time.)
I’m looking forward to sharing with you some of the things I’ve learned, and am learning. In the meantime, remember that you and I can “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)!
If you’re interested in learning more about following Jesus, check out my new devotional book, Forty Days of Walking With Jesus: A Devotional Guide, now available on the Kindle Store. The paperback version is NOW AVAILABLE! For ordering information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org