Focus on the Family
Search

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Choosing the Right Attitude

Choosing the Right Attitude

Author Deborah Pegues encourages listeners to embrace God's promises and focus on His divine perspective as a way of cultivating a more positive outlook on life.

Preview:

Deborah Pegues: 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 effects our behavior and our attitudes.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well, that’s Deborah Pegues and she’s our guest today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, you’ve likely have seen these, uh, motivational posters or signs that say, “Attitude is everything.” And, you know, it’s true, uh, attitude makes a big difference in how you look at life. Our attitude effects 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.” Man, what a powerful scripture for today, ’cause 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 talkin’ 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.

John: Well Deborah Pegues has been with us before, she’s a popular guest, and, uh, our conversations often receive a very positive response from you, our listener. Uh, she is a certified behavioral consultant, a bible teacher, a speaker, and she’s-

Jim: Uh-huh.

John: … written close to 20 books, including, uh, this one, Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life … in 30 Days and, of course, we’ve got copies of that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Deborah, welcome back to Focus.

Deborah: Well thank you so much, I’m real excited about today’s topic.

Jim: I’m practicing-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: … a very positive attitude.

Deborah: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) 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 wanna do those things. And I, you know, 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 then-

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: … our petty arguments.

Deborah: Absolutely. And you know what, I, you say, uh, attitude plays a role. Attitude is everything. I don’t really just teach positive thinking as much as biblical thinking-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … because our attitude comes out of our beliefs.

Jim: Let me ask you this, ’cause these are all truisms. What is attitude, what is it?

Deborah: It’s a mindset. It’s how I choose to frame the experiences that happen to me.

Jim: Okay, that’s good.

Deborah: Yeah, so it’s a mindset, but I let the Bible determine how I frame my experiences.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: That … So here- here’s a scripture that you’ll probably get tired of me saying, Romans 8:28.

Jim: I love it.

Deborah: “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- and our challenge is to practice believing that, embracing that.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: 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.

Jim: So it … I agree.

Deborah: Yeah-

Jim: I love-

Deborah: … yeah.

Jim: … those scriptures, but wh- when you apply those, um, people can get uncomfortable-

Deborah: Well, that’s okay-

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: … we gotta, people gotta get-

Jim: … uh, right?

Deborah: … comfortable believein’ God. (laughs)

Jim: Well that’s true.

Deborah: But really.

Jim: But as a believer, w- w- we shouldn’t be uneasy with those and- and if we are we’re letting our circumstances dictate our joy, our attitude-

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: … correct?

Deborah: And it sounds so trite to say it, but it is so true and it’s a matter of practice. What am I gonna embrace? I- I think I’m qualified to talk about this because of my background growing up in Texas.

Jim: Well describe it quickly.

Deborah: Well, it was … I, you know, I’m black. (laughs) Well, but I grew up, uh, durin’ the time of the … In 1964 is when the Civil Rights Bill was passed.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I was 14 years old.

Jim: Oo-

Deborah: … I, and-

Jim: … I was three.

Deborah: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: But before then there were no real privileges appointed 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?

Jim: That is an awesome statement.

Deborah: Who can thwart … It says, “Who can thwart him? His hand is outstretched.” Who can turn it back, nobody.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: Who, name somebody.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: 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 challenged, sometimes I don’t believe that, or sometimes I act like I don’t believe that.

Jim: Okay, and in, uh, those situations, what do you do? When you feel like you’re falling short and you’re- you’re not honoring God with believing that.

Deborah: 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, it’s causing me frustration, causing me to become angry. And, so, uh, when I was in school then I, this man discriminated against me when I was a senior in college, and he said, “You, uh, need to retake the English exam ’cause you and Miss Patmore have tied for the A in the class.” I was reexamined and I didn’t get the A. Now that could have scarred me.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: I didn’t know that. From that point on I decided … Uh, 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.

Jim: Amazing.

Deborah: You see what I’m saying?

Jim: Yeah-

Deborah: So-

Jim: … absolutely.

Deborah: … 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.

Jim: But, Deborah, the, you know, in our culture, the difficulty, I think, to embrace the Christian faith, hey, it’s not a Western faith, it’s a Eastern faith, it’s Jewish in its origins. And so you apply it into a Western culture where I’m top of the heap is a, you know, a competitive environment, it’s capitalism, and there are many good things. I’m not anti-capitalist, ’cause I think it’s the best system-

Deborah: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … for humanity to flourish, But I’m just saying, in the Western culture, it, 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.

Deborah: That’s why you have to get good teaching, stay under good teaching in church, teach, uh, you need to be under teachin’ 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, uh, that we could, 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- the consumerism that goes on. You have to deliberately, intentionally say, “I’m gonna get this Bible and this is gonna 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, uh, motivation should be.

Jim: Okay, well let’s hit some of those things, those adjectives that describe things that impact our- our attitude negatively. Give us a list of a few that you’ve counseled people on.

Deborah: Okay, I counsel people on, um, m- mostly people who, uh, are facing adversity.

Jim: Okay.

Deborah: Okay, so you don’t, you don’t say, why me. I say, listen, the bible says, all the days ordained for you were written in his book-

Jim: He knew it before.

Deborah: … before one of them came. He knew it before and he’s well able to handle it. He can give you the grace to handle it.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: So that’s e- … Or if you you’re facing something where you don’t feel qualified to do it. I go back to Daniel 2:20, “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.

Jim: So when you look at the story of Job, for example, um, and, you know, let’s just put that in a modern-day context, uh, this poor man loses everything, his business, his family and Job comes to you, knock- knock- knock, “Deborah, I need help, I’m in a bad place.” What are you gonna say to Job-

John: Hm.

Jim: … to make him feel better or to get the right perspective?

Deborah: I’d say, “What do you know about God?” Job knew his God, he knew something about God, and that’s why the Bible s-, talks about casting down imaginations and everything that’s rising up against what you know about God. You-

Jim: Especially your friends.

Deborah: Yes- yes-

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: … right, and you can’t listen to everybody, ’cause 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.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: 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- (laughs)

Jim: Wow, that-

Deborah: … so-

Jim: … is good.

Deborah: … 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 at 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.

Jim: 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 us 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?

Deborah: You don’t judge them, first of all. You know, you don’t do, like, a, what was the one who said, uh, Elihu, who sat there, you, that fourth man who came to visit Job. Remember the three-

Jim: Yeah, oh yeah.

Deborah: … friends? But there was a fourth person there and he sat there for 32 chapters, said nothin’.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: And he said, “I sat here all this time and I listened to all of these icons of wisdom.” He said, uh, “But I realized something, you know, everybody who’s old ain’t wise.” So you gotta-

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: … watch who you listen to, ’cause they started off doin’ 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.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: So … (laughs)

Jim: I would struggle too.

Deborah: You know, 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 tryin’ 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.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And, so, but what we do know about him? That he loves us and that he wants the best for us. We gotta embrace that as the truth, that shapes our attitude.

Jim: Yeah. You use the- 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, uh, more about aloofness and that connection with our relationships.

Deborah: Well there are people who just don’t feel like they can trust people, so 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.”

Jim: Well I don’t feel aloof, but I don’t particularly-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: … like that either. (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: Yeah, I- I don’t really like it either. I don’t say that when I’m speakin’ like, “Say this to your neighbor.”

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: I just … I may say, “Repeat after me,” but I’m, like-

Jim: Right.

Deborah: … some people hate talkin’ to their neighbor.

Jim: But it’s that emotional distance that-

Deborah: Yeah, it’s emotional distance.

Jim: … and- and they don’t want to be hurt probably and-

Deborah: Right.

Jim: … so they pull in and you don’t risk.

Deborah: Yeah, right, because they don’t know if you’re safe-

Jim: Right.

Deborah: … you know, and maybe their experience has been that they connect with people who are 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.

Jim: So if you’re that person, I’m assuming, you know, with millions of listeners, you, 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.

Deborah: Yeah, but you get connected with a 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 that, um-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … where you can get to be known. You need to know people and you need to be known.

John: Deborah Pegues is our guest today on Focus on the Family and, uh, what a great book, Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life … in 30 Days. And, uh, it’s an easy read, it is gonna be a great resource for you or someone you love and, uh-

Jim: (laughs)

John: … we’re gonna encourage you to call and get a copy or, uh, stop by the website. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Um, yeah 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 tryin’ to find the value in that person that you’re either tryin’ to, uh, confront or what have you. But seeing value in others is so critical.

Deborah: It is, because everybody brings somethin’ to the table-

Jim: Yes.

Deborah: … everybody. It may not be s- something that the world exalts, but everybody brings somethin’ to the table that can add value to other peoples’ lives and so you want to recognize that.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: You know, you want to recognize a person’s sensitivity to other people. Uh, 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- (laughs)

Jim: Yeah. Football-

Deborah: … you know.

Jim: … I played football.

Deborah: Well, you know-

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: … ex- extraordinary talent, but find the things that God … What counts to God?

I have a friend who just witnesses to whomever, well comes in her sight, you know, she’ll witness to them. I’m thinkin’, 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 one to just go up and say, “Do you know Jesus?” (laughs)

Jim: Right.

Deborah: You know what I mean?

Jim: It starts with relationship.

Deborah: But, uh, relationship, but she’s very bold-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … and I like that.

Jim: Yeah.

John: You know, you’re talkin’ about dialing into character-

Deborah: Yes-

John: … traits-

Deborah: … yes.

John: … the things that really matter-

Deborah: Yeah, not the-

John: … yeah.

Deborah: … performance, you know-

John: I appreciate that.

Deborah: … those kind of things, but character traits.

Jim: Yeah, you know, something that caught me in your book is this issue of sarcasm.

John: Oh-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: … and because I can- yeah, John, uh, are you a little-

John: Me too.

Jim: … that way?

John: Yeah.

Jim: 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-

Deborah: It can go over-

Jim: … and-

Deborah: … the line because the goal, we’re, is really, obviously, not what you’re saying, right, like-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … “Way to go Einstein,” you know.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: What you really mean is that was, you’re actin’ like a dummy. But that really means you might need to confront something. If there’s some behavior there that- that’s causing you to be sarcastic, then you need to address it.

Jim: Hm.

John: Yeah, I remember, um, after college I was hangin’ out with some friends pretty consistently and we fell into a pattern of sarcasm, and it was, it was biting sarcasm.

Deborah: Ooh.

John: And I, uh, you know, the Lord really got ahold of me. It’s not because there was some spiritual giant or somethin’, but he, I think his Holy Spirit just said to me, “Enough of that.” And I had-

Deborah: Yeah.

John: … 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.”

Deborah: Yeah, and that takes-

John: Or at least I’m-

Deborah: Yeah- yeah.

John: … gonna stop doin’ that.

Deborah: It takes on a life of its own.

John: Yeah.

Deborah: I was thinkin’ of somethin’ the o-, the other day, I was upset with Darnell, uh, because I had the tel-

Jim: Your husband?

Deborah: Yeah, my husband. And I had the television on, up really loud, ’cause I was listening in two or three different rooms.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs) So he came to the-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Deborah: … 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-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Deborah: … ’cause now I’m on the defensive.” But I- I went back in the room and I said, “I’m never gonna talk to him again.”

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: And then I started thinkin’ of, no, you know, just bein’ off the chart crazy, right? “I shouldn’t ever talk to him again,” or “I’m never gonna turn on the television again.” And you know what I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, he said, “Get off of that train,” and I’m, like, “What train?” That train of thought.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: You need to get off of that train.

Jim: And that, kind of, takes us toward the anger issue-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that you cover in the book.

Deborah: Whoa.

Jim: I mean this can go … You go retaliation, then you probably are very close to its neighbor called anger-

Deborah: Oh, listen.

Jim: … and, you know, that’s a tool that devastates.

Deborah: That’s another whole book. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah- yeah.

Deborah: 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.-

Jim: Embarrassed-

Deborah: … so … Yeah, embarrassed-

Jim: … what have you.

Deborah: … 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?

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: And so the next big question is how do we get rid of that anger? How do we get it out of our lives?

Deborah: Well, uh, okay, it’s gonna always be there, ’cause it’s gonna, uh, you don’t have to respond to it in a c-, dishonoring way to God.

Jim: And something’s gonna trigger it in different ways.

Deborah: Something’s gonna trigger it and-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … and you gotta say, “Now why- why is that a button for me?” ‘Cause 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 the that show and you talk so fast I didn’t know what you were saying.”

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: “Well, hey, I was on the show, okay, you weren’t.”

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: Well I can’t say that. (laughs)

Jim: Right, ’cause that would make somebody angry.

John: Yeah, but we think it though-

Deborah: (laughs)

John: … don’t we?

Deborah: Yeah, we can think it. But I can cast that down too. I can cast down-

John: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: … 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.

Jim: Yes.

Deborah: Philippians 4:6-8. “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.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: 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, uh, time, talent, treasure. Listen, we have to learn how to manage our thoughts. If you don’t, you’re gonna have a nasty attitude.

Jim: Hm, that is really good, and it’s important for us. The other thing I’m thinking about is expectations.

Deborah: Oh.

Jim: So you got, you know, we’ve dealt with the anger thing-

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: … and I remember, I think, in my book I wrote, Finding Home, um, uh-

Deborah: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you know, just talking about my childhood and things, uh, somebody who reviewed it, Publisher’s Weekly, or something, said, “Well, the best advice Jim Daly can give is to keep your expectations low.” That wasn’t entirely my point.

Deborah: Right.

Jim: My point was more spiritual in that if you keep your expectations in a Godly context, that people are sinful by nature. Uh, this is after my father let me down, my step-dad had-

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: … walked out, and my foster father had accused me of tryin’ 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, uh, I wasn’t bitter about it, but it created in me this, you know, uh, reasonable expectation that people aren’t always gonna do the right thing. I think it was a great tool for me growing up and realizing what humanity is like.

John: Hm.

Deborah: And it helped you to get through that and, yet, we don’t want to paint everybody with a broad brush to say it’s-

Jim: Sure.

Deborah: … it’s not safe to have any expectations, ’cause 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.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: And so I say, listen, don’t get caught in- in that trap of tryin’ to meet other people’s expectations, because if you do, I’m telling, you’re gonna be tired, you’re gonna run yourself raggedy, and yet I want to set a standard for people in my family is what I expect, and I’ll give you an example. When I had one of my birthdays, I must have been 40, I, we were moving into a new house or whatever and nobody, uh, 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, uh, packing, and she said, “Auntie Deborah, I feel so sorry for you that only five people came to your birthday party.”

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: And I’m thinkin’, like, “Yeah, nobody …” You know, I wasn’t havin’ a party, but, you know, in her little head-

Jim: Yeah, right.

Deborah: … she’s used to 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, ’cause there’s not even enough people here to have fun with.”

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: So what’s she’s saying, like, “Don’t play this off,” you know, but-

Jim: It sounds like she’s sowin’ the seed here-

Deborah: Uh, –

Jim: … for a little bit of bitterness-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: … is what is sounds like.

Deborah: But I’m thinkin’, like, “Yeah, they could’ve remembered my birthday, they could’ve done something,” but I let them know that I was disappointed that nobody remembered my birthday or acknowledged it.

Jim:  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.

Deborah: Hm.

Jim: Humility is crucial, um, to a positive attitude. And pride, uh, as the scripture says, “Always goes before the fall-”

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: … 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 of the handlebar. And I remember saying to him, “You know what, be careful, pride goes before the fall,” and he goes, “Oh, right, dad,” bam, and he crashed, like-

Deborah: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: … 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.” (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: But it i-, it is-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: … that, kind of, thing. Um, it- it-

Deborah: Oh, I’ve walked in pride before. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, and then- then it takes on more adult contours-

Deborah: Yes-

Jim: … when you get older and it’s-

Deborah: … yes.

Jim: … relationships and the whole bit. But speak to that issue of pride and humility as being fundamental to your character.

Deborah: Well God hates a proud attitude and, uh, I once worked a venture capitalist with a bunch of guys, and they always had me analyze the deals, and they’d go out to the, and present it to the powers that be. But one deal was so complicated until, uh, and the way we had it structured, it, I, you know, they weren’t gonna be able to explain it, so they were gonna bring me to the meeting. I knew I was gonna be going and I tell ya, I was dressed to the nines, and I had my little stuff ready-

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: … and I had my hand-outs ready, I’m, like, “I am gonna 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.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: Well, what had happened, I- I ran over the briefcase-

Jim: (laughs)

John: Oh.

Deborah: … and in my effort to get it, uh, it had just demolished the briefcase. But in my effort to get the papers, I got black grime all over this white cream suit.

Jim: Oh no. (laughs)

John: Oh. (laughs)

Deborah: By the time I got to that meeting I just, kind of, like wanted to sit in the corner and just say nothin’.

John: You didn’t want to be the star of the show?

Deborah: But you talk about, uh, pride-

John: Hm.

Deborah: … goes-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall?

Jim: Right.

Deborah: Listen, God hates pride, because that’s the attempt of the flesh to take God’s credit.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: Well God’s not gonna share his glory-

Jim: Yes.

Deborah: … he’s not gonna 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’s, talks about what do you have that you didn’t receive?

Jim: Uh, that’s it, I mean that really is it.

Deborah: That’s it.

Jim: It, kind of, rolls into the next, and- and perhaps the last question I can ask ya, and that is this area of servanthood. Um, you know, again, in our me focus culture, we don’t like rollin’ up our sleeves and serving others. I mean we do it, maybe, on the superficial level. Speak to the value of having a- a servant’s heart toward others.

Deborah: 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- 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 the p-, his brother. All of our … He was a-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … friend of all of ours, everybody came to that guy’s side. It was just amazing to, just to see the support, what can I do, because he had earned that, but, with his-

John: Interesting.

Deborah: … service. And so, listen, we can’t be like that, we can’t be me- me- me- me- me. We’re gonna have to really look for ways to serve others, but in a balanced way-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … because I see people go to the extreme with that as well, they volunteer for everything in church-

Jim: Yeah..

Deborah: … because they’re tryin’ to get everybody to like them. You gotta understand your motive and make sure it’s God honoring when you serve people.

Jim: Deborah, uh, 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, uh, or had never really knew the Lord or ever, uh, 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?

Deborah: 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-

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: … 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 gonna embrace what God is saying. I’m gonna read the word for myself and I’m gonna start to walk it out.

Jim: Yes.

Deborah: I’m just gonna believe it, I’m gonna do it, and I’m gonna, my expectation is gonna be of God. The Psalm says in Psalm 62 and 5, “My soul wait only upon God, for my expectation is from him.” Expect God to 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-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … just cut the negative experiences out. Remember-

John: Hm.

Deborah: … them as a lesson learned and expect God to do what he’s gonna do in your life.

Jim: 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.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: 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-

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: … 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.

John: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: And people are human and we’ve disappointed people. We have to understand that-

Jim: Yeah-

Deborah: … goes both ways.

Jim: … we fall short.

Deborah: We fall short.

Jim: Deborah, awesome. This is a great challenge and it’s called Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life … in 30 Days. It might take me 35, I’m not sure, (laughs) but-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: … I’m gonna try. Deborah, it’s-

Deborah: Hm.

Jim: … been great havin’ you with us.

Deborah: Thank you so much for having me.

John: Well this has been a wonderful and, uh, kind of, convicting conversation with Deborah Pegues. She always has, Jim, such a great perspective.

Jim: 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, uh, that brings God glory. Uh, Focus on the Family is here for you. We want your relationship with the Lord to be as strong as possible, vibrant and healthy. 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, uh, we are here for you, just call us. We have a fantastic ebook called Coming Home that will, uh, 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, uh, 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. Each and everyday thousands of people reach out to Focus on the Family for help and many are in full-blown crisis, um, others are just looking for some practical help and wisdom. God is already working through friends like you to bring healing and hope to couples on the verge of divorce, uh, mother’s considering abortion, families in crisis, parents who are struggling to raise their kids, and children who are waiting in foster care for a forever home. But of all of those who benefit from Focus on the Family resources, like this radio program, only a small percentage support the ministry through prayers and financial giving. Uh, families from across the country, and from around the world, they need you, it’s that simple. Think about how many more people God could help through your support of Focus on the Family today. 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.

John: Donate today and get your copy of that book by Deborah Pegues at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And while you’re there, be sure to take our listener survey, it’s your opportunity to, uh, tell us what you like about these broadcasts and share ideas for future interviews. 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.

Dr. Meg Meeker: 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.

Today's Guests

Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life ... in 30 Days

Receive Deborah Pegues' book Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life … in 30 Days for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Practical Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Jay and Laura Laffoon laugh their way through a conversation on practical ways to celebrate your marriage. This couple of over thirty-nine years talks about how to enjoy your spouse by improving your day-to-day habits and attitudes. Work, parenting, and the realities of life can keep couples from taking the time to invest in each other, so Jay and Laura advise couples about how to be intentional and connect more deeply.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 2 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 1 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 1 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.