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My wife sat across the table from our six-year old, trying to convince her to join in the fun. “It’s your choice!” she said. “You can choose to have fun with us, or you can choose to be grumpy, but we are going to do our chores!” We were trying to make a game out of cleaning up the house, and she was having none of it! So, my wife sat her down and explained that the house was going to get clean one way or the other, and it was up our daughter to decide how much she was going to enjoy the experience. “But I don’t like cleaning!” she protested, to which my wife cheerfully replied, “You could like it if you choose to, your attitude is your choice!”
Our attitude determines our actions, and our actions determine our outcomes.
This saying, “Your attitude is your choice!” is something of a catch phrase we have adopted in our family and one which has had a huge impact on me. Attitude is so important in life because our attitude determines our actions, and our actions determine our outcomes. It’s so simple, yet the ramifications are profoundly catalytic.
Noted author and speaker Chuck Swindoll said it this way:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is 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 is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, church or home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.
The outlook we have determines so much of how we experience life
According to the Mayo Clinic, the words we say and the attitude we have in life has a huge effect on our health. Researchers have found that people with a positive viewpoint on life have an increased life span, lower rates of depression, greater resistance to the common cold, and even better cardiovascular health!
When we expect the best, that is often what comes our way!
Now, I don’t want to make it seem as though it’s as easy as just deciding to be happy and then all your problems go away. The choice of attitude lies in four areas:
Our attitude is determined by what we say
Scripture affirms what research has shown to be true: “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT). This verse has an interesting promise for us, one that is both a poignant warning and a wonderful pledge. If we speak words of life in a relationship, the result is often a life-giving and rejuvenating relationship.
If we are always negative, the result over time is often a relationship that is draining and damaging. If we always expect the worst to happen, that is what we usually get. However, when we expect the best, that is often what comes our way! It could even be the same circumstance, and one sees the worst while the other finds the best in it, and it all comes down to choice.
Our attitude is determined by who we focus on
Selfishness often motivates negativity. The issues negative people bring up are always how something has affected them.
Solutions come when our focus is totally on God; anxiety comes when our focus is half on God and half on our problems.
If we can get our focus off ourselves and onto the Lord, the negative attitudes will fade away. When we encounter issues, we can choose to concentrate on the problem and try to solve it on our own, or we can decide to focus on Christ, give our Him problems and ask Him to show us a solution. When we do this, the key is to get our focus off our problem and on to God. Solutions come when our focus is totally on God; anxiety comes when our focus is half on God and half on our problems.
Our attitude is determined by where we look
Negative people always look in the rearview mirror rather than the windshield. Nothing can be gained from the longings of the way we used to do things. Those who are negative tend to look at the past with undue fondness and the future with unnecessary foreboding. If you want to think and speak positively, adopt a mentality which says, “The best is yet to come!”
When you believe that, not just for you personally but your family and for your job and your future, it changes how you think. I know that for those who place their faith in Christ, the best truly is yet to come! I can say this with confidence because the Bible says that we “are being transformed into the same image [of Christ] from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18 ESV).
Our attitude is determined by how we react
There are many things in life which happen that are out of our control, yet how we respond to those things is often entirely up to us!
What you will find in your life tomorrow is largely based on how you handle what you were given today.
You cannot choose the circumstances into which you were born, or the family you grew up in, or the talents & abilities we were naturally gifted with.
However, you can choose what you are going to do in those situations. What you will find in your life tomorrow is largely based on how you handle what you were given today. Things are going to happen in your life which you didn’t plan on. There will be messes made, and chores that you have to do which are not your favorite, but how you view it and react to it is up to you. This could end up being the best or worst year of your life; it’s your choice…