I remember seeing and reading this quote every day for a solid year in elementary school. I can't recall which year it was, maybe 1st or 5th, but from where I was sitting in the classroom I had to see it every day. It was on a long, big banner positioned right above the teacher's head and the chalkboard so it was right in front of me every time I looked up from my desk.
At the time, I probably didn't fully comprehend this wise saying. Actually, I know I didn't. Today though, I get just how big a difference my attitude can make on a daily basis. If I have a bad attitude, no matter what's going on, it can completely ruin my day (and possibly other peoples' day if they unfortunately happen to come across my path).
I was listening to one of Joyce Meyer's audio books (I Dare You) on my way into work this morning. I have a pretty long commute so I like to listen to something. Not just anything though- Music on the radio just makes me feel more stressed while driving in traffic. I usually listen to NPR news or soothing classical music or, preferably, something positive and uplifting such as Joyce Meyer teachings and the Brook Hill's worship cd.
Anyway, one of the things she said was "I believe that our life is about 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it." Attitude does make a big difference in the quality of our daily life. There's nothing we can do about the things that happen to us (those things out of our control), but we can do something about how we handle them. I'll admit, I don't handle things well. Anything that wasn't within my plan, anything that happens unexpectedly or for the worst, basically anything that doesn't go my way I immediately get a bad attitude about. This bad attitude steals any chance of me having joy and peace.
The Bible says I can have joy and peace despite any bad circumstance going on. It says that it's possible for me to have contentment no matter my circumstances. So i'm the only one to blame if I have a rotten, no good, terrible, bad day. Do you remember reading that book as a kid? I loved it! Whenever I had a bad day at school I would come home and ask my mom to read it to me. You know, Alexander's only real problem was his attitude, not everything bad that happened to him. I was reminded of all this this morning and it got me thinking that maybe I need an attitude check on a regular basis. I'm tired of letting my circumstances and emotions control me. Many people say "I can't help how I feel." I've certainly been one to say that. But it's not true, we can help how we feel! Whatever we're thinking and dwelling on in our minds will eventually become how we feel which ultimately affects our behavior and character. We can change our attitude and feelings by transforming the way we think and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts. It's more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It's more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home... The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We can't change our past. We can't change the fact that people will act a certain way. We can't change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes." Charles Swindoll
On a completely different note, this coming Sunday April 17 I have the pleasure of being featured on Sarah Harmony-Powell's blog where I will be writing on the topic of forgiveness! She is the author of Inspiring Excellence where she writes to encourage women in their spiritual journey with God and inspire excellent living. She's part of the (In)Courage Community- where we came to know each other- and has posted as a daily guest for (In)Courage. She's doing a series titled "Take Back Your Faith!" For those of you who go to Brook Hills and/or have read David Platt's book "Radical," you'll be interested to know that she was inspired to do this series after finding out about him and his message to take back our faith from the American Dream. If you want to start at the beginning and find out more about this series in which she challenges herself and other women to go deeper in their relationship with God, you can go here. Be sure to check out her blog on Sunday to read my article/devotional on forgiveness! Thank you!