How to Change Myself When I’d Rather Change My Circumstance

The irony didn’t escape my notice.

I was right in the middle of watching one of my “Get Healthy” videos—the one on “How to Change Myself When I’d Really Rather Change My Circumstances”.  I almost never watch my own messages but I’m so glad I did.

So there I sat, in the dark, watching my video when I probably should have been making dinner.  JP came home from work and laughed when he saw me.  Since neither of us was in a particular hurry to eat, JP decided to relax for a bit in the Jacuzzi.  When he opened the door to our garage to grab a clean towel I heard it.  Or more accurately, I heard him.

OH NO!!!

I jumped up from my computer and ran to the garage. Water from our water heater gushed out like Niagara Falls on steroids, flooding the floors.  Nothing JP tried could make it stop.  I stood helpless fumbling with my cell phone trying to figure out who to call in a moment like this.  The water company?  Our insurance?  Our home warranty company?  A plumber?  JP ran to turn off the main water valve, shutting off the water running into our home.

As it turns out, the water in our neighborhood had been turned off from 9am-5pm that day due to a water leak in one of the water company’s pipes that lay deep underground.  When the water turned back on it was just too much pressure for our water heater to handle.

Their problem caused our problem. And isn’t that just the way life works?

Someone else’s issue spills over, becoming our issue.

A spouse’s bad mood sours our mood.  A child’s meltdown stirs up our meltdown.  A loved one’s crisis becomes our crisis.  A co-worker’s stress heightens our stress. A driver’s road rage causes our road rage.  And on it goes…

Until somebody has the presence of mind to turn off the valve.  To relieve the pressure.  To fix the problem.

Our water heater flood wasn’t a circumstance I would have chosen, but then again, I didn’t have a choice. Life comes at us that way sometimes—all messy and inconvenient. And while I can’t always chose my circumstances I can chose my response to those circumstances.  If I don’t, I cause a flood of emotional yuckiness every bit as messy as a flooded garage.

I can’t always change my circumstances but my circumstances can always change me.  Just minutes before I’d preached this to myself.  Now I was faced with an opportunity to live it out.  In real life.

So, what did JP and I do? (Once the water was turned off, of course) As crazy as this may sound, we gave thanks.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: They’re nuts. Except we’re not.  We’re just two people trying to do what God’s Word tells us to do in less-than-ideal circumstances.  “In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes 5:18)

Honestly, we didn’t feel very thankful for the flood–who would?  But you can’t feel your way into faithfulness; you must will your way into faithfulness.

So we started recounting the blessings in the situation:  if I hadn’t been watching the video, JP would never have decided to sit in the Jacuzzi and wouldn’t have opened the door to the garage; If I had been home alone I wouldn’t have known how to turn off the water myself. Our flood could have caused thousands of dollars of damage instead of minimal inconvenience.

Were we frazzled in the midst of our flood?  Oh yeah.  A bit overwhelmed?  For sure. Don’t think for a minute we didn’t look like two crazy people sopping up all that water. But if we hadn’t turned our attention to giving thanks in the circumstance we would have turned on each other in the circumstance.

A bad situation would have become worse.

Doing what God tells us to do doesn’t always feel like the natural response: in everything give thanks—really? But when you consider the alternative, it’s the only way to relieve the pressure, stop the flood and avoid a total mess.

What circumstances do you need to give thanks in?

You can’t always change your circumstances but your circumstances can always change you.

If you need a little extra dose of encouragement to respond to life in more healthy ways, “Get Healthy” goes live today. It’s a free 3-week online Bible study and video series that discusses practical issues every woman faces virtually every day. Topics include:

  • Healthy Mind=Healthy Me
  • When Distractions Become Detractions
  • How to Change Myself When I’d Really Rather Change My Circumstances

Sign up under the “Get Healthy” tab on my homepage or click here.  I can’t wait for you to join me!



  1. Pearl Gantes

    This is a great reminder to give thanks in every situation. I truly enjoy reading your blogs Donna. You always have wholesome, down-to-earth, godly advise.

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