Kids, though, aren’t the only ones with attitude issues. Writing the article made me keenly aware adults struggle, too. A quick look in the mirror confirms it. Yep. That girl staring back at me? Sometimes she has attitude issues. I’m guessing you do, too.
But here’s the deal: unless we admit our bad attitude we can’t adjust our bad attitude. Unchecked, a bad attitude for one hour can lead to a bad attitude for one day. And a bad attitude for one day can morph into a bad attitude, period.
It’s not a happy way to live. And what’s more, for those of us who are parents, our attitude inevitably affects our child’s attitude. It’s a sobering thought.
How does a bad attitude show up in a grown-up?
- Little things bug us.
- We feel depleted and defeated…sometimes before we even begin.
- We lose patience easily.
- We feel entitled to something better.
- We spend lots of time trying to get others to see our perspective, and little time trying to see theirs.
- We feel under appreciated and over worked.
- We’re stubborn.
- We complain.
- We’re critical.
- We allow negative self-talk.
- We’re bitter.
Look back at the list. Not a pretty picture, is it? Listen to me: You were never meant to live like this.
But how do we step out of the muck a bad attitude creates in our hearts, our minds, and our relationships, and step into the peace a positive attitude promises us?
Several years ago our family went on vacation–vacation, for heaven’s sake!–but everything about the trip bugged me; I didn’t like the location of our hotel. It wasn’t my first choice destination. The weather didn’t cooperate. (Yes, I know this makes me sound completely self-absorbed and utterly ungrateful. But I’m keepin’ it real, folks.)
I tried to put on a happy face and pretend all was well, but inside my soul I couldn’t deny that my attitude stunk. Two days into our vacation I realized if I didn’t turn my attitude around, I would be miserable. My family would be miserable. Our trip would be miserable.
And I would regret it.
Why was my attitude negative in the first place? The same thing that makes many of us struggle with bad attitudes: Unfulfilled expectations.
But here’s where I went wrong: I allowed my unfulfilled expectations to fuel my unfiltered, unhealthy thinking. I allowed negative thoughts to run rampant in my mind.
God’s Word tells us “Be made new in the attitude of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23). Frankly, I wasn’t doing this. And my stinky attitude was proof.
An attitude is not what happens; an attitude is how we perceive what happens. An attitude is how we deal with what happens.
Turning a bad attitude into a good one requires a new way of thinking.
So here’s what I did:
- I got alone (not an easy task on a family vacation, but given my attitude, oh-so-needed!)
- I asked God to help me turn my attitude around. I admitted my attitude so I could adjust my attitude.
- I pulled out my Bible and renewed my mind with God’s truth and perspective.
- I got a piece of paper and at the top I wrote “Things I’m Grateful For”.
As I thought, as I read, as I prayed, as I wrote, something shifted. I could feel the change begin in my mind, seep into my heart and soak into my soul.
When my attitude was made new, I was made new! And trust me, everyone was happier because of it. I wondered why I hadn’t made the change sooner.
From time to time all of us–man, woman or child–struggle with a bad attitude. But if we deal with our attitude, how quickly we deal with our attitude, and how we deal with our attitude determines not only the quality of our day, but the direction of our destiny.
Is there an area where you need to be made new in the attitude of your mind? Don’t wait. Do it today.