Are You An Atmosphere Changer?
Make Your Life Matter No Matter What
Are You An Atmosphere Changer?
I arrived at the quaint, Italian restaurant early to choose a quiet table for dinner. Andrea Bocelli’s soothing voice soared over the speakers. Red and white checkered tablecloths and green vines adorned the room. The calm ambiance was perfect for an evening dedicated to spending time with a few women from my church, connecting over garlic knots and chicken florentine. The atmosphere was set for meaningful conversation. And in a moment, with one simple gesture, the atmosphere changed.
“We’re about to pray,” Michelle sweetly told our waitress. The five of us had already reached out and grasped each others’ hands.
“Would you like to join us?” she continued. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen Michelle do this.
“Sure,” the waitress responded, pleasantly caught off guard.
“What’s your name?” Michelle went on. “Fallon,” she answered.
Two of the women unclasped their hands and Fallon took theirs. One of the girls, Lisa, prayed for Fallon. She prayed that God would help her to flourish in this job and that He would show her His love. When we finished praying, Fallon’s eyes were misty and she was beaming from ear to ear.
With one simple gesture, the atmosphere changed.
Not only did it change the atmosphere for Fallon, it set the tone for our entire conversation, saturated in vulnerability and genuine concern for each other.
We have the power to shift and change the atmosphere by our presence. Through our words and actions, our presence shifts the atmosphere and changes it for the better – or for the worse. When gossip, negativity, slander, sarcasm, yelling, or hate speech permeates the air, it brings darkness, confusion, and heaviness. It weighs down others and changes the atmosphere to one where people become wounded and guarded.
However, when we choose to fill our space with praise, encouragement, patience, hope, and peace, it elevates those around us, pointing people to Jesus.
A beautiful example of this in Scripture is Acts 16. Paul and Silas sit in utter darkness, chained for speaking the Gospel. Severely beaten and unjustly treated as Roman citizens, they had every reason to nurse not only their physical wounds but bitterness and pride.
Yet, they turned their focus upward and outward, not inward.
In the middle of their difficult trial, they were singing praises to God. At midnight, in the dark, chained and bleeding, they chose to worship. Scripture tells us everyone could hear them. Their worship shifted the atmosphere and God responded by sending a violent earthquake, opening the prison doors. The jailer nearly fell on his sword to avoid punishment for the released prisoners. Yet Paul and Silas don’t move. Telling the jailer to stop, they stay put, prompting the jailer to ask how he could be saved.
The story doesn’t stop there. Look at the jailer’s response:
He washed their wounds.
Immediately he and his family were baptized.
He brought Paul and Silas into his house and set a meal before them.
He was filled with joy.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Look at what happens the next day.
When those in authority realize they had unjustly treated Paul and Silas as Roman citizens, they provide a public escort. Paul and Silas are exonerated, establishing their innocence and protecting the integrity of the church.
Paul and Silas chose to worship, and their attitude in the midst of adversity changed the atmosphere. It changed the atmosphere in a jail cell, in a city, and in the early church.
We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control our reactions.
Perhaps you feel trapped by a situation. Perhaps you feel surrounded by the darkness of physical or emotional pain. Can I encourage you today that God sees you? He cares. If you’re going through a difficult time today, look upward and outward. God will give you strength, wisdom, and compassion – even for your enemies.
What you don’t know about Michelle is that she deals with pain every day from a disease that has changed the atmosphere of her life.
I asked Michelle to share in her own words: “Drs say I have CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy). Basically, it’s an autoimmune disease that attacks the myelin sheath (insulation that surrounds the core of a nerve fiber or axon and that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses of my peripheral and central nervous system).
So, it puts a hole in the communication system of the nervous system. My brain wasn’t able to communicate with my body. This included digestion, temperature control, movement and much more.
I have to give up my control and allow His will to be done because He obviously knows better than I and has a reason for our precise journeys. I want to be the instrument He created me to be. I have a new and real understanding of “This is not my home.” Each day doesn’t always go as we plan and I really want everyone I meet to KNOW their Savior and I want to share His love more than ever because of what He has held me through. I always said that I wanted every cell of my body to know and long for God. And He sure made that happened. I take time in prayer with Him. I am grateful for even the smallest movements. I try to choose Joy each morning and want to look different to nonbelievers. I pray for anyone that will let me. I really want my children to see how my relationship with our Father is how I keep going.”
If you want to “Make Your Life Matter No Matter What,” be an atmosphere changer today. Be a “Michelle” to a “Fallon” in your life. Be a “Paul” or a “Silas” to a “jailer” in your life. Instead of allowing pain to cripple us and cause us to live in victim mentality, let’s use our words and actions to point people to Jesus.
Make your life matter no matter what,
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