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Change your words to change your perspective

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

This little change can lead to a huge mindset shift

magical color sunrise on water with boats
An epic San Diego sunrise


It is well known that with everything in life, perspective is everything. When things get tough, we can choose to make lemons out of lemonade, find the silver lining, or feel sorry for ourselves. As the eternal optimist, I can usually shift my perspective on any situation to find the good. Yet I am still not immune to complaining, being annoyed by interruptions to my plans, or having to perform tasks that I do not find enjoyable. The daily grind wears on optimists, too. In this season where we should be practicing gratitude, focusing on what we do have, and the important things in life, how do we actually make that happen? How do we keep from getting swallowed up in the rush, the advertisements and the stress- on top of the already great demands on our lives? How do we practice gratitude and ground ourselves without resorting to uninspired recitation of “I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful for my job”?

The solution:

One simple, game-changing word switch: substitute saying, “I have to” with “I get to”.

This little switch presents everything in a new light:

  1. Instead of saying “ugh, I have to do the dishes”, you can say, “I get to wash the dishes, so the kitchen will be clean when I wake up tomorrow.”

  2. “I have to host Thanksgiving this year” becomes “I get to spend time with my family without having to travel.” (Or, I get to have an extra glass of wine because of it!)

  3. “I have so much Christmas shopping to do” becomes “I get to bless my friends and family with these gifts”

  4. “I have wake up early and run 5 miles today” becomes “I get to run today, and be out in the peaceful morning doing something healthy that will make me feel better.”

  5. “I have to stop eating junk food” becomes “I get to eat food that will fuel my body and enable me to be healthy and reach my goals.”

Changing our language changes our attitude. The Bible tells us: “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” (Proverbs 18:21) Declaring “I get to” brings with it an inherent sense of gratitude, privilege, and joy. This thankfulness brings us closer to God, as we recognize the blessings He has already placed in front of us. We begin to see the pieces of our lives- even the unpleasant or mundane ones- as opportunities serving a greater purpose. It becomes apparent that there is purpose and significance in our actions, evidence that we are loved by a great God.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG

Live it out

So, let’s try to use our lips to change our minds. It may start out as a conscious or unnatural choice, but the practice of declaring opportunity and goodness into our lives on a regular basis will transform our attitudes into believing it, and living it as truth.

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