A man lived on the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. He had assumed that he lived in Minnesota, but a new survey showed that he actually lived in Wisconsin. “Thank goodness,” he exclaimed, “I never could bear those cold Minnesota winters.”
Thank goodness it is possible to rise and shine. There is always a group that comes back with grapes instead of gripes. These are the people who wake up singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning.” They rise and shine. If they were football players, they would signal for a great catch instead of a fair catch. They know that their outlook influences the outcome.
I heard a story about a doctor who was making rounds in a ward of terminally ill patients. He asked each of them whether he or she had any final requests. To one older lady, he said, “Is there anything you especially want before you pass on?” She replied, “Yes, I’d like to see my immediate family one more time.” “Of course,” said the doctor, “we’ll arrange it.” He asked a second patient for his wishes. “I’m a Catholic,” murmured the man. “I’d like to see a priest for confession and last rites.” “Certainly,” replied the doctor. Then he approached the third patient, “Have you any last wish, sir?” he inquired. “Yes,” gasped the old man. “My last wish is to see another doctor.” Research on people with life-threatening illnesses suggests that this gentleman just might get well. His focus is on living instead of dying.
Focus is a discipline. To rise and shine, we discipline ourselves to focus on the gains instead of the pains. We focus on what we have learned to focus on. Grandpa and Grandma had the grandchildren for the weekend. They decided to go on a trip. While on the way, they noticed a sign that said “Natural Park” and decided to stop. Grandpa and Grandma were thinking things like nature trails and so forth. But they soon realized that the “Natural Park” was a nudist community — naked people, or, to be politically correct, clothing optional lifestyle. They were appalled, of course, and worried about the children seeing such a thing. But before they could turn around, a group of people came riding by on bicycles. The kids noticed the people and immediately their eyes got big and then one blurted out, “Look, they don’t have on their safety helmets!” Why would that be their focus? Because they had been taught all their lives never to ride a bicycle without a safety helmet.
A new driver for an interstate trucking company found the long cross-country trips extremely tiring. But he noticed that one of the older drivers he traveled with seemed to thrive on the road. He always looked as fresh at the end of the ride as he did at the start. So one day, the young man asked the older one what his secret was. “It’s all in your attitude,” he replied. “Whereas you went to work this morning, I went for a ride in the country.” Your focus will determine if life is a lot of work or a ride in the country.
Focusing on the good takes discipline, but it will make you a positive person. We live in a world that focuses on the negative. Our world doesn’t work on a positive basis, so you have to work hard to be a positive person.
Focusing on God takes faith, and faith in God will make us powerful persons. Even when life is difficult, we’ll have faith that God has the power to transform messes into miracles and blunders into blessings. When there is no visible evidence to be positive, then discipline can lead us to faith. We believe that even in the worst situations, God can bring about good.
When people and situations have power over us, we pity ourselves and whine. When God has power over us, we pity the whiners and shine. Therefore, our “up look” (faith) makes us powerful and affects our outlook (attitude), which makes us positive and affects our outcome (life), which allows us to rise and shine.