Attitude is Everything

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Our attitude makes a huge difference in our lives. For example: think about being caught in traffic. Some people get all upset and angry that they're stuck. Sometimes they yell at the person in front of them or call other drivers names. The mood in that car becomes tense and unhappy. Other people listen to music, make jokes, take the time to be grateful, and keep an upbeat attitude. The atmosphere in that car is pleasant and peaceful. People can be caught in the same traffic but have drastically different experiences -- all because of their attitudes.

In fact, our attitude determines our experience. That's how powerful thought is. If we focus on the negative -- the troubles or the mistakes -- we'll get caught up in them. If we focus on the positive -- the solutions or the blessings -- we won't be hurt or beaten down by problems; we'll be lifted up and out.

So how do we maintain an upbeat, peaceful, and patient attitude? How do we not react negatively when things don't go the way we'd like?

One way is to embrace the vision Paul had for the Romans: "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had" (Rom 15:5 NIV). Just think what our lives would be like if we really expressed the same attitude that Christ Jesus had:

  • We would be patient, rather than upset, when people don't understand what we're talking about. We would happily take time to explain things again gently.
  • We would be calm, rather than frustrated, when things don't go as planned.
  • We would find the good in others, even those whom other people criticize.
  • We would be thoughtful when others around us are trying to hurt us or make fun of us.
  • We would rush to help those in need, even the outsiders.

The wise men of the Old Testament understood the importance of controlling our attitudes. They explained:

  • "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Prov 15:1 ESV)
  • "People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." (Prov 14:29 NLT)
  • "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." (Prov 16:32 ESV)

Sometimes keeping a calm or joyful attitude can be very difficult. That's when we turn to God and "let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes" (Eph 4:23 NLT). When we let the Spirit fill us with all we need, we will find we are spiritually poised and able to meet any situation with equanimity. We will be a positive force for good, blessing ourselves and others.