At night I tried to sleep with a chip on my shoulder. It didn’t work very well. Angry, angry.
And then there was the time I went through a stretch of feeling sorry for myself and comparing myself to others. Or do you want to hear about the time … no? Me, neither.
That was a tough patch.
I’ve been a lot of unhealthy things in my heart and in my head for a slice of my life. But, I’ve learned something: if I find a stray cat in the kitchen, I’ve got to kick him out, or he’ll make himself at home. If I keep my anger, or self-pity or any other sick attitude for too long, I become that thing. I’ve got to do something about the “stray cat.”
Otherwise, I’m not just angry for a moment. Everyone gets mad. But, when I hold onto that anger too long, I become an angry man. Some folks, if you separate them from their self-pity, their anger, their critical spirit, or a host of other “stray cat” attitudes, they almost cease to exist.
There is a story about a lady whose constant request at the prayer meeting was, “Pray for my terrible husband.” The people prayed and God saved him; changed his life.
And she left him for another man.
I suppose she felt a need to be pitied. She was defined by her misery. “Poor Sis So and So.” I imagine that her new man made her miserable, so her itch to be pitied was scratched.
Watch/develop/decide… your Attitude
What is your attitude in life? What do people think about when they think of you?
There is a Syrian immigrant somewhere, shivering under a tent who has more hope than some of us. He’s in miserable conditions, but he’s hoping for something better and that keeps him going. And many of us whose lives are better than 90% of the people in the world are wretched and depressed.
Remind me again why that is.
Hope is an incredible factor in healthy, happy lives. It’s a foundational stone for a good attitude.
Our feelings ebb and flow during life—physical battles, trials, difficult people, emotional changes, life-stage changes, so many things influence our attitude. Good things shape us, too.
We have to take charge of our attitude. We have to be intentional about it.
Seth Godin says, “”Attitude is the most important choice any of us will make. We made it yesterday and we get another choice to make it today. And then again tomorrow.
“The choice to participate. To be optimistic. To intentionally bring out the best in other people… they are a choice. No one does these things to us. We choose them and do the work (and find the benefits) that come with them.”
So How Do You Do It?
I suspect that some babies show up in the delivery room, pop open their wonder-struck eyes and say, “Hello, doctor. You’re really looking good. This is going to be a great day.” They seem to be born with a great attitude.
Maybe that happens, but for the vast majority of us, it doesn’t come naturally. As a matter of fact, I think the only ones who were ever like that were Adam and Eve. And they weren’t exactly born. A rotten attitude seems to be a result of man allowing sin to enter the world.
Since then we’ve had to work to get our attitude right. Here’s how to get started.
1. Be thankful. If you’re convinced that the world owes you life, liberty and happiness you’ll always be mad when life isn’t like that. Stop and genuinely give thanks to God for His blessings. If you can’t think of any, you’ve got a serious blindness problem. Really. Do it! Stop and thank Him. Make it a habit. (Romans 1:21; Colossians 3:15)
2. Become the master of your thoughts. You decide what stays in. Your heart decides what’s important and if anger and frustration prevail it might be that you’ve got a heart problem. Look and see why you’ve got heart disease and deal with that.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)
“A good man produces good things from the good stored up in his heart, and a bad man produces evil things from his own stores of evil. For a man’s words will always express what has been treasured in his heart.” (Luke 6:44 J.B. Phillips)
Sometimes a thought gets hold of us and we can’t get loose. We need supernatural deliverance—either once and for all or once a day.
‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Rom. 12:2, J.B. Phillips)
But, it’s more than a choice. God has to do a work in our attitude, so that we can have his attitude. Positive thinking isn’t enough. « To be made new in the attitude of your minds » Eph. 4:23
3. There is a powerful connection between your mouth and your heart—one influences the other, one reveals the other. Wives, how do you talk about your husband to others? To him? Husbands? And how do you talk about your life? All that reveals your heart AND influences your heart.
We all talk to ourselves. This is our narrative about ourselves, our story as we relate it. Do you want people to pity you or pay attention to you? Sometimes if we feel incapable of exciting admiration we settle for provoking pity. Proclaim your praise for the Lord—and others. Proclaim your confidence in Jesus and His promises. Let your story be the story He tells about you and the dream He put in your heart.
4. Choose those that you hang with, as much as possible. When you can’t stay away from grouches, gripers, criticizers, complainers and “the-world-is-coming-to-an-end-ers,” be a positive influence in the life of these negative people.
And if positive people are constantly encouraging you by interjecting something positive into your self-pity, it might be a sign that you’re the grouch in the situation. Quit it!
5. And …
Don’t just resist a nasty attitude. Fill your mind and heart with good stuff, so there is no room for junk. Read and pray the Psalms; fill up every spare corner of your mind with the great promises of God’s Word. Get excited about God’s promises. Remember His answers to prayer.
Keep your relationship with God up-to-date: love His presence, admit your sin when you fail, and pay close attention to difficult relationships with those close to you. Here’s something to think about–if we’re constantly clashing with others that might indicate a problem with us. We all clash at times but when it happens often, it may well be our attitude—the world owes us, we feel disrespected, angry about something, or we might be disobeying God in an area of our life and we want to misdirect attention.
Get some exciting God-given goals. Learn to pray and walk in God’s presence.
Getting your mind « renewed » is a process. We must work at it each day. But, it sure beats the alternative which is stinking-thinking, stinking-speaking and stinking-acting.. All that leads to a stinking life. (Rom. 12:1, 2)
“A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.” (Proverbs 18:20, NKJV)
Putting It into practice:
What is the one word that best describes your daily attitude?
Ask three people who know you well to describe your attitude in one word. Then ask the same people to describe you biggest negative attitude in one word.
Pray seriously about this: what am I going to do to change the negative part of my attitude?
This article might interest you: FOUR SURE-FIRE WAYS TO FIX THOSE PROBLEMS BETWEEN YOUR EARS http://davidscoffeestains.com/four-sure-fire-ways-to-fix-those-problems-between-your-ears/)
Here’s a book that will help you in your journey towards an attitude that leads to God’s abundant life—“40 Days to a Joy-filled Life” by Tommy Newberry
Images: pixabay.com, johnhain; fr_golay, petelinfort; keijj44