GarbageTHERE IS A SAYING in computer geekdom: “Garbage in, garbage out.”  Meaning that you can’t expect great results when you’re starting with junk.

The human mind works the same way.  And it explains how easy it is for people to get caught in cycles of despair and hopelessness.  If you don’t have hope coming into your life, it’s hard to imagine how you can have hope for a better future.

A great reason to stop watching cable news channels, but that’s another topic.

This became very present for me this week. I was feeling a bit worried and frazzled a few days ago, to the extent that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep.

So I decided to focus on all the things I’m grateful for, especially the people in my life.  I started up a bit of a sung litany in my head, “For _____, I thank you O Lord.”  I started with my wife, kids, family, friends throughout my life, supporters, bosses, teachers, ….

I was astounded at the size of the list, easily covering 50 individuals and groups before I fell back asleep.

And it did have the intended result: It changed my outlook.  I moved from scarcity back to abundance, from uncertainty to confidence, from fear to hope.  It was an incredibly powerful shift of mindset and emotions.

A lot of what we deal with is fantasy inside our own heads.  It’s not really reality – it’s just a reaction and interpretation of reality.  Which is where the enemy gains a foothold.

So have confidence my friends.  Be generous and optimistic, built on a foundation of gratitude for the many gifts we receive every day.