When you hear “attitude,” do you think of someone strutting, chin high – maybe even with a chip on the shoulder? Someone looking for trouble? Someone who expects everyone to get out of their way?
That’s certainly an attitude, what I call BA – bad attitude.
But in truth, we all have an attitude. Attitude is how we approach life, what we expect when we arise in the morning.
- It can be an attitude of defeat, and we find it hard to get out of bed, because there is no hope, no matter what we do.
- It can be fear, and we postpone or avoid whatever we dread, even if it keeps us from what we need, or from what is good for us.
- It can be entitlement, thinking we deserve everything, and we are angered or upset when everything doesn’t come to us as we expect, or those around us don’t jump to meet our needs.
- It can be confusion that twists and turns us throughout the day, keeping us from accomplishing what we’d hoped to do.
- It can be a constant pity-party, interpreting everything that happens as proof that, “Nobody loves me. Everybody hates me,” as we sang years ago, leading to a diet of worms.
- It can be living short-fused, with anger ready to singe whomever doesn’t respect us, or gets in the way of what we want life to be.
- It can be a neediness that sucks the life out of relationships, and deprives children of proper nourishment from parents.
- It can be a need to control that drives us to strive to take charge of everything in our lives, and usually those around us. It wears us out, and drives people away.
Clearly, the way we think makes a huge difference in how we behave.
There is a lot of talk these days about picturing what you want, believing and you’ll make it happen. That can be taking attitude to the extreme, a kind of hocus-pocus, as if we were gods who could control the world with our thoughts.
All we really have control over is our minds. We are encouraged to “take every thought captive.” It’s up to us to choose our attitude.
We can choose to let life be a praise song.
What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night,
Accompanied by dulcimer and harp, the full-bodied music of strings. Psalm 92:1-3 (MSG)
In reading through The Message (© 2002, NavPress Publishing Group), the Biblical paraphrase Eugene Peterson wrote when he realized so many people missed the excitement and passion of the original texts, I discovered these fascinating lines from a psalm.
Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people,
Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.
So, God’s people, shout praise to GOD,
Give thanks to our Holy God! Psalm 97:11,12 (MSG)
Light seeds! Wouldn’t you love to be able to sow seeds of light into your mind that would grow and glow, giving you what you need to change your attitude?
Joy seeds to put a song in your heart, no matter your circumstances?
We can! This is the perfect season to start planting, because the seeds are giving thanks!
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Col 3:15-17 (MSG)
Since I love music, I’m happy to receive the command to sing my heart out, and welcome the chance to do so. For me, singing praise turns my heart to gratitude quicker than anything else. I usually have the radio tuned to a Christian station throughout the day, and participate in the Contemporary and Spanish music ministries at our church. Without music playing, there is usually a song running in the back of my mind. I’m learning how to let the song continue, even when I’m alone and don’t feel well, or a rude, aggressive driver cuts me off on the Interstate, or my mother’s dementia makes it hard to find her in the midst of her ramblings.
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. Habakkuk 3:17-18 (MSG)
A deep revelation of the value of giving thanks came from Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, HarperCollins Publishing. I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can read her blog at http://www.aholyexperience.com.
My youngest daughter and her family have fun ways to give thanks before meals. My favorite is everyone clapping out, “I’m thankful for, I’m thankful for, I’m thankful for.” Then they point both hands to one person at the table who gets to say what or whom they are thankful for at that moment. Even the three-year old loves to participate, and the chant goes on until everyone has had a turn.
The more opportunities we build into our day to remember to be thankful, the more the attitude of gratitude will grow and mature in us.
What are you thankful for today?