I was meeting with my small group from church the other day and made a revelation. As I unraveled the events of the past week, I said 90% of my problems come from attitude and not circumstances. This statement wasn’t meant to minimize the tough circumstances of life, I’ve been through a few, but instead point to the heart of all problems; our attitude towards them.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Have you ever watched a sporting event where a team or player lost heart? It’s painful to watch; even more painful than watching them lose. I’d rather watch my team go down fighting a hundred times than watch them lose heart just once.
I have a sneaking suspicion God feels the same way about us.
Life is hard; there’s no two ways about it. You’re either coming out of a storm, in the middle of one, or going into one. I don’t say that to discourage you, but instead to give you a heads up about the reality of life. None of us will stop fighting until we get through those pearly gates and Jesus wipes all of our tears away.
Many of us, myself included, lose heart in the middle of our battles and storms. We may put a good face on or go through the motions, but we lose heart and our attitude changes. What follows is a downward spiral of confusion, frustration, and despair.
A couple months ago, I went through a frustrating conflict with a close friend because of some poor communication on both sides and unfair expectations on my side. After round three of the conflict, it looked like the friendship would never become healthy again. I felt like giving up and my attitude towards my friend and even other relationships soured.
I can’t say my change in attitude helped me. It caused me to retreat from other friendships and close myself off instead of opening up to my support structure of people. Neither of those choices brought peace, joy, or satisfaction into my life; they also didn’t change the outcome of my conflict.
God worked on both of our hearts and He slowly but surely restored the friendship. He breathed life into a dying relationships and made it brand new. Neither of us could have done or said anything to create a similar result.
I could have had a better attitude throughout the process though.
Instead of losing heart and giving up, I could have trusted in God and decided to give my all; even if things didn’t work out in the end. We won’t get to see the resolution of every heartbreak, problem, and battle hear on Earth. Choosing to have a better attitude though can open our hearts to the peace, joy, and love God wants to give us while we go through them.
God opened the door for me to enjoy other friendships while I went through this conflict and I ignored them. My poor attitude also caused me to become cynical in general instead of trying to live life to the fullest. A change in attitude would have led to experiencing much more joy and peace during that struggle.
Even though we can impact quite a few things in our lives, God is the one who writes our story. Our biggest choices will not center on what happens to us, but our attitude. We can choose to keep our head up and struggle through the problems of life with everything we’ve got or we can give up our hearts to despair and frustration.
How has your attitude affected your life recently? Do you think a better attitude could help you get more out of life? What would it take for you to not lose heart?
Image Copyright: greg westfallby