Monday, April 19, 2010

How is your attitude?

One piece of advice I heard from time to time while growing up was "Watch your attitude." It was helpful advice, even though it was generally unappreciated at the moment it was given.

Our attitude is important, because it is one of the few qualities of our life that we can control. Think about it. You have no control over what people think of you. You have very little control over how people respond to you. You have no control over the strange and unexpected things that happen throughout your life. But you can control how you respond to them!

Our attitude is a choice. No one says it is an easy choice, but it is a choice.

Like many people, I often find myself struggling with my attitude. It is easy to allow outside circumstances dictate my responses. Trouble is, whatever I'm feeling on the inside will eventually make its way to the outside. When my attitude is bad, I will eventually behave badly toward other persons. That's unfair to them, and unhealthy for me.

So what can we do? Are there ways to change our attitude? The next time you're struggling with your attitude, consider the following steps to improve your attitude....

Remember that God is with you. In the New Testament book of Romans, the Apostle Paul says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). The next time you're struggling with a bad attitude toward something someone else has done, remember this verse. Can you imagine that in the midst of whatever is happening in your life, God is working for you good?
  1. Nurture your relationship with God. Our relationship with God is like any of our other relationships: if we want it to be strong, we must spend time together. Your relationship with God will become a means toward a changed, positive attitude if you nurture it. Spend time in church, in prayer, in study, and in fellowship with other Christians.
  2. Identify issues that rob you of a good attitude. What is it that robs you of a good attitude? Is it certain people? Certain circumstances? What can you do to change those circumstances? Identify these, and be aware of them. Write them down and let them be your personal attitude adjustment plan.
  3. Finally, control your thought life. Philippians 4:8 says "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Do you do this? When you find yourself being consumed with negative thoughts, invite positive thoughts into your mind, and think about these things.
I give thanks to God that the unhealthy, sinful parts of our life can be removed---even our unhealthy, negative attitudes. May God help you along the way to a good attitude.

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