Keepin' On

"I figure I can either quit, or keep on going. I choose Keepin' On."

The Power of Change

There is a lovely little power that we all have which, when properly applied, changes things. It alters thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and experiences. It changes gray skies to blue, bad days to good, failure into success, or vice versa. The knowledge of its existence is ancient. Its use is far too infrequent. A famous inventor used it to keep going and succeed. An athlete used it to swim the English Channel.

My first experience with it took place while I was upside-down. I was lying in a heap at the bottom of a set of stairs. A favorite teacher was looking down at me, as were other students. I was not hurt, but I felt like a fool. In the next moment, however, something happened to make this one of my favorite stories instead of a huge embarrassment. I am going to tell you what the something was, this power, because I want you to use it, too. It is a key component in the Keepin’ On Universe.

If you are guessing, you may think I am referring to faith, hope, or perseverance. You would be wrong. Those are wonderful qualities. Have all of them you can hold, but they are not the power I am referring to.

The inventor noted above looked at all of his attempts to invent a light bulb and concluded that he had found a thousand ways that did not work. Having eliminated all those ways, he new he was close to finding the solution.

The athlete looked at the water stretching beyond the horizon. She realized that having conquered the channel stroke for stoke many times in her imagination, doing it for real was now equally possible.

My teacher looked at me lying at the bottom of the steps and said, “You fall beautifully!” “I do?” I thought, “Well, how about that. Others may stumble and fall, but I have a special style all of my own.” A moment later I realized what she had done. After all, she was a psychologist and I was a graduate student in psychology. I knew what she had done, but it was too late to debate or deny. My embarrassing experience had been re-framed into something quite wonderful. I was already remembering the event with a smile.

What all of these people used was the power of “re-framing.” To re-frame is to alter the meaning of the things that happen to us and around us, for good or for bad. I recommend doing it for good. Re-framing is more than looking on the bright side or seeing the glass as half full. It is about changing the meaning of events and, therefore, how those events affect you and what you do next. And by the way, the glass is neither half full nor half empty, but that is a story (and a poem) for another time.

We’ve heard for years now to ask WWJD, “What would Jesus do?” I think it is also helpful to ask, “What would Jesus say?” As I bumble my way through life, instead of being hard on myself, or others, I find it helps to think how Christ would re-frame situations in His own loving, honest way.

So the deal is this. You and I actually control very little of what happens around or to us. But we have buckets of control over the implication of those things and how they affect us. We get to decide what things mean. Now I do not know about you, but since I get to decide, I am going for the Lord’s perspective; now that is what I call power. Got to go now, it is time for the semi-final round in the regional stumbling competition. The big money is on me. Your Keepin’ On tip of the Day: What Would Jesus Say?

About Jim Thomson

Husband, father, grandfather, counselor, and writer.

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