First of all, we were created for our purpose. And by faith, we're saved. By faith, we understand the promises of God. By faith, we believe that what God has said, He's going to do. And when we believe, it affects our behavior and our attitudes. Well, that's Deborah Piguet, and she's our guest today on Focus on the Family.
Your host is Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. You know, you've likely have seen these motivational posters or signs that say, attitude is everything. And you know, it's true. Attitude makes a big difference in how you look at life. Our attitude affects so much about who we are. It's one reason I think Paul tells us in Philippians 2, 14 and 15, do all things without grumbling or questioning.
Ouch, that hurts. And then he goes on to say that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. And what a powerful scripture for today, because there's so much twistedness and crookedness. A positive attitude brings glory to God, that's for sure. And here at Focus on the Family, we want to impart that to you. If you're living in negativity, and I'm not talking about just that kind of self-help thing, this is about a deeply rooted Christian faith that you can put on the armor of God every day and have an attitude that depicts his character to a culture that's hurting and needing to see him.
That's what you can do each and every day. Well, Deborah Pagay has been with us before. She's a popular guest, and our conversations often receive a very positive response from you, our listener. She is a certified behavioral consultant, a Bible teacher, a speaker, and she's written close to 20 books, including this one, Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life in 30 Days.
And of course, we've got copies of that. Just look in the episode notes for the details. Deborah, welcome back to Focus. Well, thank you so much. I'm really excited about today's topic. I'm practicing a very positive attitude. I love it.
I don't know, and this may be one of the things, temperament must play a role in this. I mean, I like to wake up every day. I'm joyful. I want to go to work.
I want to do those things. And I just sometimes struggle with the negativity that some people have. It's like, come on, the world's bigger and more important in terms of doing what God wants us to do than our petty arguments. Absolutely. You know what? You say attitude plays a role. Attitude is everything.
I don't really just teach positive thinking as much as biblical thinking, because our attitude comes out of our beliefs. Let me ask you this, because these are all truisms. What is attitude?
What is it? It's a mindset. It's how I choose to frame the experiences that happen to me.
Okay, that's good. Yeah, so it's a mindset. But I let the Bible determine how I frame my experiences. So here's a scripture that you'll probably get tired of me saying, Romans 8, 28.
I love it. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Now, if you really, really, really believe that, and our challenge is to practice believing that, embracing that. So no matter what's going down, it says, in everything, give thanks. This is the will of God concerning you.
In it, not for it, but in it, in it. So I agree. I love those scriptures. But when you apply those, people can get uncomfortable. Well that's okay. People got to get comfortable believing God. Well that's true. But as a believer, we shouldn't be uneasy with those. And if we are, we're letting our circumstances dictate our joy, our attitude.
Correct? And it sounds so trite to say it, but it is so true. And it's a matter of practice.
What am I going to embrace? I think I'm qualified to talk about this because of my background growing up in Texas. Well, describe it quickly. Well, it was, I'm black. Well, but I grew up during the time of the, in 1964 was when the Civil Rights Bill was passed. I was 14 years old.
Ooh, I was three. But before then, there were no real privileges afforded to black folks. But you see, I have never had a bad attitude. I embraced these scriptures early on in my life, that everything is working together for my good.
So I have a couple of hallmark scriptures that shape my belief. Isaiah 14, 27, behold, the Lord has purpose. Who can thwart him? Like, who can stop my career development?
That is an awesome statement. Who can thwart him? It says, who can thwart him?
His hand is outstretched. Who can turn it back? Nobody. Who?
Name somebody. So I'm, you know, I don't say I'm positive. I have a biblical perspective and I try to maintain it. Now, listen, sometimes it's a challenge. Sometimes I don't believe that. Or sometimes I act like I don't believe that.
Okay. And in those situations, what do you do when you feel like you're falling short and you're not honoring God with believing that? I'll stop and ask myself, what am I believing?
Because sometimes we don't go back to the core beliefs of saying, I'm believing something here that's causing me anxiety, causing me frustration, causing me to become angry. If so, when I was in school and I, this man discriminated against me when I was a senior in college and he said, you need to retake the English exam because you and Ms. Patmore have tied for the A in the class. I was re-examined and I didn't get the A. Now that could have scarred me. I didn't know that from that point on, I decided, listen, I read English books for my casual reading. I didn't know God was positioning me to be a writer 20, 30 years later.
Amazing. You see what I'm saying? Yeah, absolutely. So that worked together for my good because it motivated me to go even deeper. So everything works together for my good.
I'm never a victim. But Deborah, you know, in our culture, the difficulty, I think, to embrace the Christian faith, A, it's not a Western faith. It's an Eastern faith.
It's Jewish in its origins. And so you apply it into a Western culture where I'm on top of the heap. It's a, you know, a competitive environment. It's capitalism.
And there are many good things. I'm not anti-capitalist because I think it's the best system for humanity to flourish. But I'm just saying in the Western culture, you want to be on top. How do you balance these things with those influences from the culture with the reality that what God is about is your internal thinking, your heart, and how you approach life and even the blows of this life. That's why you have to get good teaching, stay under good teaching in church, teach, you need to be under teaching that tells you not to conform to this world, not to conform to the culture. Listen, there are a lot of things we do that would be, that would cause us to conform to the culture.
Listen, and we would be up a creek. Even being in debt, we're conforming to the culture. We're consumers.
We're not resisting all of the consumerism that goes on. You have to deliberately, intentionally say, I'm going to get this Bible and this is going to be my guideline. Now, I know that that's almost a rare message, but that's why we have programs like yours so we can bring people back to what the core motivations should be. OK, well, let's hit some of those things, those adjectives that describe things that impact our attitude negatively. Give us a list of a few that you've counseled people on. Most of the people on most of the people who are facing adversity. OK. OK.
So, you know, you don't say why me? I say, listen, the Bible says all the days are day for you were written in his book. He knew it before and he's well able to handle it. He can give you the grace to handle it.
Yeah. So that's or if you're facing something where you don't feel qualified to do it. I go back to Daniel 220. He gives wisdom to the wise knowledge to those who have understanding. So don't shy back because you don't have the experience.
Don't do that. Show up and let God show himself strong. So when you look at the story of Job, for example, and, you know, let's just put that in a modern day context. This poor man loses everything. His business, his family in Job comes to you. Knock, knock, knock, Deborah. I need help.
I'm in a bad place. What are you going to say to Job to make him feel better or to get the right perspective? I said, what do you know about God? Job knew his God. He knew something about God. And that's why the Bible talks about casting down imaginations and everything that's rising up against what you know about God, especially your friends. Yes. Yes. And you can't listen to everybody because everybody is autobiographical in their approach to you.
They'll say, well, if I had to do it or, you know, that's not a very good thing to do because they're going from their own perspective. Right. So we have to realize we are connected to an omniscient God. He knows everything and he dwells in you. He is all powerful.
I don't have to try to curry favor with certain people so I can get ahead. God knows everybody. He's everybody's father. He's not everybody's Lord, but he's everybody's father.
You see? So he's connected to everybody. So when you take, again, a biblical perspective, a divine perspective based on the word of God, it's amazing how few people read the Bible these days. But I can tell you, you will be in another whole place with your mindset, with your goals, if you embrace what the Bible has said and don't limit God to your experience, your education. And that's kind of that vertical relationship that so many pastors will teach us about.
And now let's move to that horizontal. Why is it important to have friendships that lift this up, that do the right thing? Maybe not the Job friendship, but something better. How should you act as a friend to somebody who's down in the gutter?
You don't judge them. First of all, you know, you don't do like I was the one who said Elihu who sat there. You that fourth man who came to visit Job. Remember the three friends. But there was a fourth person there and he sat there for 32 chapters, said nothing. And he said, I sat here all this time and I listened to all these icons of wisdom. He said, but I realized something. You know, everybody who's old ain't wise. So you got to watch who you listen to.
Cause they started off doing well. I mean, they came, they sat, they listened, they sat for seven days and didn't say a word. I could never do that. I would struggle too. I would struggle with that. But you know what?
They started out well. But you know, after a while they got impatient and tried to blame Job because we're always trying to rationalize God's behavior. We have to understand that we, there are some things we will never understand. His thoughts are higher than ours. And so, but what do we know about him?
That he loves us and that he wants the best for us. We got to embrace that as the truth that shapes our attitude. Yeah. You use the term aloofness, which I really appreciate that word. It's not used very much anymore, but it describes a very particular type of behavior. Tell us more about aloofness in that connection with our relationship. Well, there are people who just don't feel like they can trust people. Also they remain emotionally apart.
They don't like to connect. You know how in church sometimes they'll say, hug your neighbor. I know people who say, I hate that. Or they'll say, say this to your neighbor. Well, I don't feel aloof, but I don't particularly like that either.
I don't really like it either. I don't say that when I'm speaking like, say this to your neighbor. I just, I may say repeat after me, but I'm like, some people hate talking to their neighbor. But it's that emotional distance. And they don't want to be hurt probably. And so they pull in and you don't risk.
Yeah, right. Cause they don't know if you're safe, you know, and maybe their experience has been that they connect with people who were not safe. And so their best approach then is not to connect. And so that's not a great way to be if you want to be involved with people. So if you're that person, I'm assuming, you know, with millions of listeners, there are people out there that they're saying, yeah, that's me. What can you do to overcome that fear? That's what it is.
Yeah. But you get connected with the group. That's why I believe even if you don't have an official small group in your church, you need to be connected with a Sunday school class or some group where you can get to be known. You need to know people and you need to be known. Let's move to the value in others.
I love this. And I think I try to do this where you, even in a conflict situation where you're trying to find the value in that person that you're either trying to confront or what have you, but seeing value in others is so critical. It is because everybody brings something to the table.
Yes. Everybody. It may not be something that the world exalts, but everybody brings something to the table that can add value to other people's lives. And so you want to recognize that, you know, you want to recognize a person's sensitivity to other people. There are people who are just naturally helpful. There are people who are generous. So you want to recognize that and applaud it.
You know, the world applauds education, size, whatever. Yeah. I played football. Well, extraordinary talent, but find the things that God, what counts to God. I have a friend who just witnesses to whomever comes in her sight, you know, she'll witness to them.
I'm thinking like, that's great. I don't tend to do that. I'm a Bible teacher.
I don't mind teaching you the ways of God, but I'm really not wanting to just go up and say, do you know Jesus? You know what I mean? It starts with relationship.
But she's very bold. And I like that. You're talking about dialing into character traits, the things that really matter. Yeah.
Not the performance, you know, those kinds of things, but character traits. Yeah. You know, something that caught me in your book is this issue of sarcasm. Oh, and because I can, John, are you a little that way? Yeah. I mean that it kind of is a way that we banter and certainly in my family we do, and yet it can go over the line.
It can go over the line because the goal is really obviously not what you're saying, right? Like, way to go, Einstein. You know, what you really mean is that you're acting like a dummy, but that really means you might need to confront something. If there's some behavior that's causing you to be sarcastic, then you need to address it.
Yeah. I remember after college I was hanging out with some friends pretty consistently and we fell into a pattern of sarcasm and it was, it was biting sarcasm and I, you know, the Lord really got ahold of me. It's not because I was some spiritual giant or something, but I think his Holy Spirit just said to me, enough of that. And I had to come clean in front of the group and just say, we have a tendency to diss each other and be really super sarcastic.
Let's not do that anymore. Or at least I'm going to stop doing that. It takes on a life of its own. I was thinking something the other day, I was upset with Darnell because I, yeah, my husband and I had the television on up really loud because I was listening in two or three different rooms. So he came to the door, you know, and he said, why do you turn the television up so loud and then you leave the room? And I'm thinking like, you never start a confrontation with why? Because now I'm on the defensive. But I went back in the room and I said, I'm never going to talk to him again. And then I started thinking, you know, just being off the chart, crazy, right? I shouldn't ever talk to him again.
Well, I'm never going to turn on television again. And you know what? I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, he said, get off with that train.
I'm like, what train? That train of thought you need to get off of that train. And that kind of takes us toward the anger issue that you cover in the book. I mean, this can go, you go retaliation, then you probably are very close to its neighbor called anger.
And you know, that's a tool that that's another whole book. Yeah. Let me tell you why anger is a secondary emotion. You don't feel anger first. You feel something else first. You may feel disrespected.
You may feel minimized. Anger is an emotion of protest. I'm protesting the fact that you just made me feel something other than anger.
You know, you made me feel put down, embarrassed. So I'm angry about that. So you have to understand the source of the anger. So I'm protesting.
What am I protesting and how am I responding? Yeah. Yeah. And so the next big question is, how do we get rid of that anger?
How do we get it out of our lives? Well, OK, it's going to always be there because you don't have to respond to it in a dishonoring way to God. And something's going to trigger it in different ways.
Something's going to trigger it. And you've got to say, now, why is that a button for me? Because I always say, disable those buttons.
You know, if a button for me is for people to say, oh, you talk too fast. You were on that show and you talked so fast I didn't know what you were saying. Well, hey, I was on the show.
OK, you weren't. Well, I can't say that. Right.
Because that would make somebody angry. Yeah, but we think it, though, don't we? Yeah, we can think it. But I can cast that down, too. I can cast down that imagination. I love that scripture. Cast it down. Just cast it down.
Get off that train of thought. Make yourself think about something else. Well, what else can you think about? See, everything is in the Bible.
Philippians four, six through eight. These are the things to think about. This is the sifter, whatever things are good and just and honest and and God honoring.
It says of a good report, whatever's of a good report. Think on these things. If it's true, think on that. So force yourself, make yourself be a good manager, a steward of your thoughts. You know, we think about stewardship as being over money, time, talent, treasure. Listen, we have to learn how to manage our thoughts. If you don't, you're going to have a nasty attitude.
That is really good. And it's important for us. The other thing I'm thinking about is expectations. So you got you know, we've dealt with the anger thing. And I remember I think in my book, I wrote Finding Home, you know, just talking about my childhood and things.
Somebody who reviewed it Publishers Weekly or something said, well, the best advice Jim Daly can give is to keep your expectations low. That wasn't entirely my point. My point was more spiritual in that if you keep your expectations in a godly context that people are sinful by nature. This is after my father had let me down. My stepdad had walked out and my foster father had accused me of trying to murder him, which was not true. So that was the evidence for me that, you know, sometimes adults don't speak the truth. But I wasn't bitter about it. But it created in me this, you know, reasonable expectation that people aren't always going to do the right thing.
I think it was a great tool for me growing up and realizing what humanity is like. And it helps you to get through that. And yet we don't want to paint everybody with the broad brush to say it's not safe to have any expectations because I know that wasn't your goal. But you know what, expectations are real tricky. Because sometimes we have self-imposed expectations. We have expectations that we haven't even expressed to others. And then we have unreasonable expectations. And so I say, listen, don't get caught in that trap of trying to meet other people's expectations. Because if you do, I'm telling you, you're going to be tired. You're going to run yourself raggedy. And yet I want to set a standard for people in my family is what I expect.
I'll give you an example. When I had one of my birthdays, I must have been 40. We were moving to a new house or whatever. And nobody remembered my birthday except my one brother. He brought his little girl over.
She was about four or five. And another couple stopped by, but we were moving and packing and she said, Auntie Deborah, I feel so sorry for you that only five people came to your birthday party. And I'm thinking like, yeah, nobody, you know, I wasn't having a party.
But you know, in her little head, she's just a big party. And I tried to play it off. I said, oh, no, no, sweetheart, this isn't a party.
I just made punch but this isn't a party. She said, listen, you have to feel bad because there's not even enough people here to have fun with. So what she's saying, like, don't play this off, you know. It sounds like she's sowing the seed here for a little bit of bitterness is what it sounds like. Yeah, they could have remembered my birthday. They could have done something.
But I let them know that I was disappointed that nobody remembered my birthday or acknowledged it. You know, Deborah, the probably the most critical aspect of all of this when it comes to attitude and what the scripture has to say about it is in this area of pride and humility. Humility is crucial to a positive attitude. And pride, as the scripture says, always goes before the fall.
And that is really good. I remember a funny example that my two boys were learning how to ride bicycles, and they were getting pretty good at it. And all of a sudden, the older brother Trent started letting go of the handlebar. And I remember saying to him, you know what, be careful, pride goes before the fall. And he goes, all right, dad, bam, and he crashed instantly.
I mean, the timing could not have been I think it was a God thing. And his little brother Troy looked at him and said, see, dad's right. It is that kind of thing. I've walked in pride before.
Yeah. And then it takes on more adult contours when you get older, and it's in relationships and the whole bit. But speak to that issue of pride and humility as being fundamental to your character.
Well, God hates a proud attitude. And I once worked as a venture capitalist with a bunch of guys, and they always had me analyze the deals and they go out to the and present it to the powers that be. But one deal was so complicated until the way we had structured it, you know, they weren't going to be able to explain it. So they were going to bring me to the meeting. I knew I was going to be going and I tell you, I was dressed to the nines and I had my little stuff ready and I had my handouts ready.
I'm like, I am going to be the star of this meeting. So I walk out to the car, throw my briefcase in the car, I thought, and backed up and I heard this clunk. Well, what had happened? I ran over the briefcase and in my effort to get it, and it just demolished the briefcase.
But in my effort to get the papers, I got black grime all over this white creamy soup. By the time I got to that meeting, I just kind of like want to sit in the corner and just say nothing. You didn't want to be the star of the show? But you talk about the pride goes before destruction and a hearty spirit before a fall. Listen, God hates pride because that's the attempt of the flesh to take God's credit. God's not going to share his glory. He's not going to share his glory. So if you are proud, you just need to back it up and say, you know what? Everything I have came from God.
I love the scripture that talks about what do you have that you didn't receive? That's it. I mean, that really is it.
It kind of rolls into the next and perhaps the last question I can ask you. And that is this area of servant hood. You know, again, in our me focus culture, we don't like rolling up our sleeves and serving others. I mean, we do it maybe on the superficial level, speak to the value of having a servant's heart toward others. That's the heart of Jesus.
Serving others is the heart of Jesus. Even as a leader, you have to serve others. No man is an island. We can't be an island unto ourselves. And I've seen people who had maybe a death in the family, but they weren't the type of person who served others. And so when it's their time to be served, nobody knows them.
They don't have any capital built up with others. We had a friend whose brother died and everybody was so, this guy had been such a servant, not the person who died, but his brother, he was a friend of all of ours. Everybody came to that guy's side. It was just amazing just to see the support.
What can I do? Because he had earned that with his service. And so listen, we can't be like that.
We can't be me, me, me, me, me. We're going to have to really look for ways to serve others, but in a balanced way, because I see people go to the extreme with that as well. They volunteer for everything in church because they're trying to get everybody to like them. You got to understand your motive and make sure it's God honoring when you serve people. Deborah, some people who don't have a relationship with Christ listen to focus on the family. I'm glad they do.
They want marriage advice, parenting advice, and I'm glad they're coming for that advice. But in this area of attitude and who you are in your core, man, faith plays an amazing role. And I'd like to end here with you speaking to that person who maybe walked away from the Lord or had never really knew the Lord or have a relationship with God in that way. What do you say to them about the central role that faith plays in shaping your attitude? First of all, we were created for a purpose and by faith, we're saved by faith. We understand the promises of God by faith. We believe that what God has said he's going to do.
And when we believe it affects our behavior and our attitudes. And so that's why if you've walked away from God, because you're disappointed in people, don't take it out on God. He still has a plan for your life.
God has a wonderful plan and it's up to you to decide no matter what people have done, I'm going to embrace what God is saying. I'm going to read the word for myself and I'm going to start to walk it out. I'm just going to believe it.
I'm going to do it. And I'm going to, my expectation is going to be of God. The Psalm says in Psalm 62 and five, my soul wait only upon God for my expectation is from him. Expect God begin to show himself strong in your life.
He will do it. He will send people in your path to do so. God uses people. So don't cut people out. Just cut the negative experiences out. Remember them as a lesson learned and expect God to do what he's going to do in your life.
Deborah, I so appreciate that. I think one of the things that I will say to people who say to me, I haven't committed my life to the Lord because I knew this Christian and he didn't pay me the money he owed me. That is such a common statement. And I look at them with all sincerity and I say, that is foolish. And I say that with deep respect. If a human being has let you down and that keeps you from a relationship with God, keeping you from eternity with God, you're making one of the most foolish choices by choosing a human being who disappointed you over the God who will never disappoint you. And people are human and we've disappointed people. We have to understand that goes both ways. We fall short.
We fall short. Deborah, awesome. This is a great challenge and it's called choose your attitude, change your life in 30 days.
Might take me 35. I'm not sure, but I'm going to try. Deborah, it's been great having you with us. Thank you so much for having me. Well, this has been a wonderful and kind of convicting conversation with Deborah Piguet. She always has, Jim, such a great perspective.
She does, John. And we all can use a reminder now and again of how to have a more positive outlook and a good attitude because as we've said, ultimately it's a reflection of our faith and that brings God glory. Focus on the family is here for you. We want your relationship with the Lord to be as strong as possible, vibrant and healthy. And we want you to trust him and to live in joy as we've been talking about today with Deborah. If you need guidance in that regard, which I think we all do, we are here for you.
Just call us. We have a fantastic ebook called coming home that will help you take those first steps in trusting Jesus as your Lord and savior. We also have Deborah's book, choose your attitude, change your life in 30 days that will walk you through that commitment to changing your attitude for the better. And I'd also like to ask you to consider supporting the ministry of focus on the family. And when you donate today, a gift of any amount, we'll send you a copy of Deborah's great book, choose your attitude, change your life in 30 days as our way of saying thank you for doing your ministry through focus on the family. Donate today and get your copy of that book. Jim just mentioned it.
Choose your attitude, change your life. We've got details in the episode notes. You can also call us to get in touch. Our number is 800 the letter a and the word family 800-232-6459. Coming up next time, Dr. Meg Meeker will inspire you as a dad to really help your daughter become a confident woman. Sometimes he would tell me, but just his behavior showed me that he believed I could be and do whatever I wanted in life. And that meant a huge amount to me on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for listening today to focus on the family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.
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