“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important: than facts, than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do, than appearances, than giftedness or skill. It will make or break a home…a church…a company. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing 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
While living deep in the jungles of Panama, I became well acquainted with the full spectrum of my attitudes! We lived on the Colombian border and the path through our village was the drug runners, migrants, and rebels route from Colombia to Panama City. There were no formal crossings, which brought an array of security challenges.
One afternoon two Colombian men were walking on the path past our house that led deep into the rainforest. For some unknown reason they turned and approached our screened front porch. They were hot, dirty and hungry. Ralph quickly offered them something to drink and sent them to the river to bathe with the promise of a meal upon their return. After the hastily-prepared food, he began to share Christ with them. They talked for hours and the sun had fallen behind the mountains and darkness was imminent. I scurried to get the girls ready for bed, carefully sliding them under the mosquito netting making sure I tucked it tightly under the mattress to keep the creepy crawlies out!
As I turned to rejoin Ralph and our guests, I heard my husband say, “If you would like to sleep on the porch, we have blankets and…!” I am a person of many words but in that split second…I stopped dead in my tracks, horrified and mute! My former smiling, serving attitude immediately and silently screamed, “WHAT!?...NO! … What are you thinking, Ralph? We have no locks on the doors, we don’t know these men, we have two little sleeping girls just a parachute wall away…??”
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within? Put your hope in God: for I will yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God”. Psalm 42:11
With my mouth wide open and my dumbed silence ready to protest, I watched my husband stand, reach for his “poncho via” belt of bullets, strap them across his chest and announce that he would not be sleeping that night! If he heard the porch door that separated us creak, he would not hesitate to use the cocked gun that he was now holding in his hand!
Relieved, I quickly rehearsed the change in my attitudes that had taken place in the course of just a few minutes! Attitudes are inevitable…both positive and negative. We women are responsible for both! They reveal our true character. The whole of virtue resides in its consistent practice. Teaching the hearts of our children to take charge of their attitudes is the channel to their future success. They watch our attitudes and respond in “like kind”, thinking… “This is how mom responded in this circumstance”.
Test your attitude:
Are you Impatient? Argumentative? Temperamental? Moody? Ungrateful? Fearful? These attitudes are ugly, self-centered and reveal the real you, apart from His empowerment. They always results in chaos.
Are you full of joy? Exuding peace? Abounding in love? Giving, not taking? Serving, not expecting? These attitudes are in harmony with God and will bring calm, blessing and reward.
“Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud, and the other stars.”
What do you see?
What you see is reflected in your attitude!
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” William James