In his article, How Do You Change a Bad Attitude, Dave Boehi asked for ideas for readers. Here are 50 of the emails we received. Click here for the rest. And click herefor the follow-up article inspired by these responses.
1. I change my mood by doing something generous for someone else. It doesn’t have to be financial. Acting kindly toward another person to bless them changes my whole outlook very quickly!
2. I just wanted to let you know that this memo hit home for me today! I was just thinking this morning how I need to apologize to both of my sons (ages 12 and 13) for being in a sour, bad mood this entire weekend. I know that it affected all of us. Even on my drive into work, I was wondering what I can do differently to help me when I get in a rut like that. Between having a migraine and yesterday was the birthday of a close that was murdered by her husband last July, I was in no mood to deal with two boys that were not feeling good but felt good enough to argue and fight with each other. I can’t wait to hear the suggestions on how to turn a bad attitude around. I’m ready!
3. Amazing that this came today. We are in the throes of this very problem at our house. The tendency is to be selfish and focus almost obsessively on these circumstances and details. We have no control over this and, to me, the sour attitude has to do with taking back control from God. I found that it helps to memorize and meditate on scripture that reinforces that we are not in control. I find it really hard to stop thinking about MYself and MY circumstances in all of this. Something that snaps me out of it is by praying for someone else or serving someone else in someway.
4. Love this question. Take it to the Lord in prayer … then listen to Him. Look for him. He will appear in the most amazing ways! Then sing!
5. The one thing that has helped me change my bad attitude in marriage is a book called How to Act Right When your Spouse Acts Wrong. Starting next Thursday, I am going to have weekly meetings with my daughters and daughter-in-laws to go through this book. It made me realize that sometimes marriage isn’t about my happiness but my holiness. When the book says that, it is not to say our works make us holy, but in my case my husband is not a believer, therefore my actions may be the only testimony of Christ that he sees. I must keep my actions before Christ in order that I can pray for my husband salvation and not be a stumbling block. Does that mean I always succeed? No! But it reminds me that the only person or attitude I can change is me!
6. Your piece on bad attitudes hit me where I live at the moment. I have a mom with Alzheimer’s who thankfully is happy, pleasant and not difficult to deal with. My dad on the other hand is a different story. He has some health issues but not anything that should keep him sleepy and in bed most of every day. Several doctors have told us it isn’t depression and since he won’t talk much, I have concluded he is ready to die and go live with Jesus.
My bad attitude comes from the struggle to provide care for my mom when my father still has a ring on his finger testifying almost 53 years ago to take care of my mom in all circumstances of life. It takes four people to take care of them so they can stay at home. It costs money, which I try to carefully manage. The cost to my physical and mental health and that of my sisters cannot be calculated. Since dad interacts with us on a limited basis, we don’t have a good understanding of what is going on with him. This also contributes to the attitude issue.
I find that going to choir practice puts a balm on my soul and heals me a bit. “Talk therapy” with my husband, children and best friends helps also. I try to get outside myself and do something to help someone else. It might be volunteering in the church nursery, fixing a gift basket for an upcoming fundraiser or fixing dinner for my family. If I take the time to look around I can always find someone in a tougher situation than I am. I also realize that this situation is not forever although it seems like it sometimes. I KNOW that heaven is forever and this trial is momentary. The biggest thing I do is pour my heart out to God and ask him to fix me. He is faithful to me and I could not endure this valley in life without my church family.
7. Oftentimes I do catch myself with a bad attitude, or with the people around me. And it is not always easy to snap out of it. As a woman, sometimes I attribute it to “hormones” and I have two teen-age girls who are going thru the change, so when they start having a “bad” attitude with me, I have to remind myself of how much of that “change” is affecting them too, then I just learn to adjust.
Or there are times when it doesn’t even make sense why I have a bad attitude, it could be the dishes, or what to make for dinner, or just things don’t go as planned, just anything that I could put the blame on. Then, I stop in my tracks and have to look at the big picture and remind myself of all the blessings that are hidden in those things that I complain about. It’s all a matter of perspective and having a grateful heart then a better attitude seems to follow after…
By simply acknowledging GOD’s greatness, changes my whole disposition, soon thereafter, I realize I have a smile on my face, and thankfulness takes over my heart. Then I know, GOD just made me feel a lot better already.
8. First I’m glad you didn’t leave us with a three point… how to get out of a bad attitude lesson. I agree with you that it is a very tough issue and not one to easily write about or be an expert on. I also think many “Christians” find this as a major daily struggle. I once had a professor who claimed to be “entirely sanctified” (whatever that means) but most weeks he had a horrible attitude and was not a nice man. Needless to say I didn’t buy the theology he was selling.
I think in my own experience a good attitude is comes from finding perspective. When I was a young man I took a trip to Haiti twice and saw things that most kids my age had not. Because of this view on poverty and oppression I found myself more positive and thankful about life. When the electricity got shut off during a storm, like your example, I was not crushed because I realized 90% of the world does not know the amenities we take as normal each day. I think having a bad attitude often comes from not having a realistic view of just how good we have it in comparison to the majority of the world. Go to prison for a day and then you will know what tree freedom is. Become a trash collector and realize how much our western culture values materialism. Just fill in the blank and you will change your bad attitude into an attitude of thankfulness to a God who is truly good and wants only good things for us… even with the lights out.
9. Thank you for this devotional today. My husband is suffering from an Inflammatory Arthritis condition and has been on Prednisone for several months. He is 72, and has always been very active and loves hard labor! Of course now he is quite limited, having only about 6 productive hours a day. He is also experiencing some personality changes, as well as memory issues, which we hope are short term.
I am having to remind myself each day that these changes are most likely due to the pain and the medications he is on, and it is a real challenge for me to stay patient (not always gracefully) and to understand that some of this may be permanent. At the same time, our 42 year old son who is serving God in China, recently asked that we commit to pray for him for 10 minutes each day. In meeting this challenge (you know, sometimes prayer for your kids only amounts to ‘dear Lord please bless ____ and walk with him today and keep him in your care’) I am finding scripture to pray for him.
I recently decided to pray the blessing of fruits of the spirit. Wow! What an eye opener. Because as I prayed these fruits over him, I realized that I also needed to pray them for me. It has made such a difference in my attitude toward my husband. It is changing me from being selfish to attempting to be more selfless, and it has been truly a joy. Perhaps this small example will help someone else who is reading this.
10. Gratitude is the king of all emotions. When you are being grateful it conquers All other emotions. Thinking about being grateful may not be enough sometimes it takes the action of actually sitting down and writing the things you are grateful for.
11. I find the quickest way to get back on track is repenting. Usually by the time I discern I have a bad attitude I have already said or done something to offend a member of my family I gather my family to the table or if in car while driving (this can happen too often I say these exact words: I’m sorry for acting poorly by yelling, not acting nice, or lashing out, I was wrong for having this behavior would you please forgive me it stops my attitude immediately.
12. Hello. I recently heard a woman talk about all of her challenges she is facing and at the end she said, “God is enough”! When life is throwing things at me left and right, I tell myself, “God is enough”!
13. When I have a bad attitude it is because I am focusing on only the negative. I try to remember that God’ s word says to think on that which is lovely, true & good. This goes a long way in helping me. Also sometimes the bad attitude is because I am worrying or want to be in control of the situation. Again God’ s Word says “be anxious for nothing.” Instead we are commanded to pray about everything. When I feel worry coming on I try to remember to take my concern to God & turn it into a prayer because God is the only one who can change the situation.
Also God is the only one who is in control, not me. When my spouse is being sour I try to talk to him as a brother in Christ & remind him of these same principles. It all boils down to getting our thinking in line with God’s thinking. Not always easy, but worth it if we can just kick our flesh to the curb.
14. I have had to adjust to the bad attitude of my spouse. We will walk into 20 years of marriage this August but we have been separated for the last 6 years. Reconciliation has been trying to manifest since last April. We deal with anger and strife (& every evil work literally) in our marriage and frankly my husband has checked out and feels his life is ok but mine isn’t.
When dealing with his bad attitude concerning me the Lord has kept me in 1 Corinthians 13 since Nov 2011 (The Lord had me studying this scripture before I went to Phil about reconciling). I have had to develop a love that is not touchy, fretful or resentful (plenty of practice here) and allowed the Holy Spirit to show me him the way he sees him.
Dealing with bad attitudes constantly reminds me that Jesus went to the cross for us and knowing that we all have bad attitudes yet he still went anyway.
15. I have found myself in the position you describe far more times that I like to admit. Carrying around a bad attitude, and knowing it, but not able to change it, at least not as quickly or easily as flipping a light switch.
In my faith walk, I have been struggling for quite some time, years, with how to really turn things over to Jesus. It seems like I always try to do it HIS way but using my abilities. I am doomed to fail when I try to do it alone. Just recently, it clicked that I still have to move but I have to let HIM do the work. It has to be me taking the actions or steps required to do the things I need to do, but I need to constantly recognize that my abilities are inadequate and pray for HIS strength and abilities to bring me the victory over sin that I desire.
HIS strength will resist that snack. HIS love will erase that bad attitude. My strength and talent alone are never enough to beat the sin virus that plagues me. Only in HIS Grace is victory a certainty. It’s all in the mind set, and it’s all about keeping it simple.
16. I have been in a bit of a funk lately. For me I think it is a grief reaction with several recent losses: my dog died, one of my first friends in our current city, daughter went back to college, etc. I force myself to compose a gratitude list sometimes a few times a day, giving thanks for the many blessings I do have. Also for me getting away in nature revitalizes me to appreciate God’s majesty.
17. I don’t know if this will apply but I feel it will help. A little over a year ago I was struggling with negative thoughts and I decided I was not going to be defeated by those thoughts that day. I was not going to let it consume me as it had in the past (kind of like the bad attitude). Anyhow, every time a negative thought entered my mind I thought of a verse to quote or a song to sing. I was at work a lot of that time so this would happen most of the time in my thinking but some of the time out loud. By the end of the day I had a wonderful feeling of victory. It was really neat.
I know that if I would apply that all the time it would make a major difference in my life. Satan can’t stay around when there are praises to God or scripture being quoted. Just like it was when Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and Satan was defeated. All negative thoughts and bad attitudes come from our allowing Satan to have control when in fact we are on the winning team and we have control – through Jesus
19. This is a timely one for me. I was just going through this last week when I was sick & feeling completely overwhelmed by the problems in the world & my outlook on what was happening. It also helps to know that I had missed 2 weeks of my shot. I unfortunately now suffer from low testosterone. I started by shutting off tv (which I barely watch anyway) & talk radio. I even had to stop listening to my favorite AFR Talk. I then removed myself from my wife & son so I didn’t take it out on them for 1 evening.
Ultimately, I didn’t actually start to get better until I made it to my doctor to get my shot to regain a normal hormonal balance. Other instances usually just require evaluating what’s missing. I told my wife years ago that there are 3 areas that must be in balance for my attitude to be in balance. 1) Regular exercise, 2) Regular church attendance, 3) Regular intimacy. When 1 or more is out of whack, it manifests itself in a poor attitude.
20. 1st of all the way I deal with a bad attitude, towards a situation or person, is to look around and see what is RIGHT, not waddle in self-pity. After the school shootings in Connecticut right before Christmas, my father-in-law dying the day after Christmas and a friend who is 5 about to die any day, I look at my life and I am humbled and grateful that God has still allowed my husband and me, along with our children and grandchildren to still have our health.
Things aren’t always easy and some of us struggle with finances and disappointments but a humble and grateful spirit always reminds me that things could always be worse for us and we could be one of the people dealing with losing a child, losing a job, without a home, etc. If your trials can be fixed, a broken heater, car, air conditioner, or etc., just thank God that it can be and you are not dealing with life changing experiences.
21. Hi. I have a chronically bad attitude or at least a propensity to have one. My delightful wife of 23 years just passed away 6 weeks ago. She entered the hospital early Thanksgiving morning and died 12/4. For the 4 kids aged 22-15 and me it was a pretty somber holiday season. But I think we and I did overall pretty well and we didn’t have that sour attitude.
Here’s how I’m getting through it. I’m thankful to God for the great marriage we enjoyed all those years. We have 4 great kids who are all believers and go to church each Sunday. The oldest graduated college and is living at home saving money and hopes to settle down some time. Needs a Christian husband. We have a nice mostly paid off home and an excellent church family.
So it seems simple and it really is. Take the focus off of ourselves, keep looking to Jesus to care for us and counting our very many blessings. Things could be so much worse.
22. As a photographer, I love wide-angle lenses, especially when used properly. The photos from these lenses are dull and uninteresting when used simply to get everything in the picture. They are stunning, however, when used in the right perspective. For example, a 20mm lens can be placed relatively close, within inches, of an object and render something relatively close in a very different way with perspective of the overall surroundings, when allowance is made for a large depth of field. When my attitude is bad, I need to take my eyes off the critical up-close focus and increase the f-stop to gain perspective of the whole picture.
I am a pastor of pastoral care to a congregation of over 2,000 people. The needs and issues are overwhelming at times. In my ministry, I constantly find God calling me back to one simple perspective: see all that there is in light of the cross of Christ and the Christ of the cross. When I reflect on Ps. 118, that even the day of the cross was the day the Lord had made and I can and must rejoice in it, I regain my perspective in my circumstances, and the circumstances of our people.
There is much more I could write. We were missionaries for 20+ years in West Africa with extended time in bush situations with no electricity, running water, telephone, etc. Mail came every 5 weeks or so. The hospitals I visit regularly are incredible compared to what all of our African friends there had and endured. It does make me very grateful for 24hr. electricity, running water, even hot water, telephones, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. Finally, I remember why things happen.
- In the words of Robert Kellemen, we live in a ‘fallen world (that also longs to be redeemed) and sometimes, it falls on us’.
- We also reap what we sow, i.e. there are consequences to our actions.
- God allows some things just to demonstrate His glory (e.g. the man born blind. Neither his father nor mother sinned. It happened for God’s glory to be shown).
- God allows us to experience suffering to remind us of our dependence on Him for all things.
- God allows suffering, sickness, etc. to allow us to experience a bit of what Christ carried for all people for all time.
- God allows things in our life for the unbelieving world to see how He carries us through any and every circumstance, trial, sickness, problem.
- God allows things in our lives that folks might minister to the Lord Himself by ministering to us. Mt. 25 ( I was sick, in prison, etc. and you did it unto one of the least of these).
23. On occasion with someone who just strikes a raw nerve, you cannot help but get a ‘bad attitude’! During times such as these, I use to just fly off the handle, but as I have become [hopefully] a more mature Christian, I have found myself more and more sending up silent small prayers to God asking Him to help me to love that person as He would love them, who irritates me so badly and to keep my tongue silent. It’s a good thing to remember that old saying, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ BTW – I had to do this Sunday at church – LOL!
24. There is nothing that we can do on our own. Just turn it over to the Lord. It says in His Words that He will take care of our needs. There are three ways that the Lord answers are prayers and we can handle two of them with ease and that is yes or no, but when He tells us to wait, that is the hardest for us humans to do. Just trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
25. The only way I can think of to shake off that bad attitude is to read God’s word, pray to him and ask the holy spirit to infuse you with joy. A physical boost I use to help with feelings of gratitude in the winter is a dose of St. John’s Wort with my morning vitamins. Between those two, I hope it helps!
26. I am currently divorced. March 2012. Most devastating time of my life. Was married to a minister, and I won’t go into the details. Needless to say, it has been extremely rough not to be and remain negative and self-loathing this past year as I have been healing.
With that being said… the answer to your question in my experience and listening to God comes down to this scripture: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8).
I taught a Sunday School class once and impacted not only myself, but those in the class as well with this truth. When you think upon something long enough, it becomes part of your belief (your heart). When something is in your heart, you act on it. That’s why Jesus said when a man looks upon a woman with lust in his heart, he has already committed adultery. Jesus knew that whatever is in a man’s heart, he will act upon it sooner or later. Is why guarding the heart is stressed so greatly in scripture…but that’s for another time.
God made this scripture real to me one day. I had just moved back into my home in August 2012. I had been there maybe a month? I was outside pulling weeds from an overgrown flower bed. I was angry at what my ex-husband had done. Didn’t know why this happened to me. I lost my independence living again with my parents, lost my financial security, lost my best friend, lost my lover, lost being a full-time mother… you get the picture. I was grieving, but very angry and had nothing good to say or think. My attitude was bad. Rather than take it out on my family, I took it out on the weeds. They were getting ripped up with anger.
As I sat there in the flower bed crying and praying to God, I felt the Holy Spirit so gently speak to my heart… “Bekka, think on those things that are holy and pure and good and of good report.” I stopped dead in my tracks. And I began to say OUT LOUD to myself… I am thankful God for my children being healthy. I am thankful my parents are here helping me through this and financially keeping me stable as we share this home. I am thankful that I have good friends and support. I am thankful I am healthy….
As I continued on counting my blessings… I spoke those words into my ears, which affected my mind (thoughts)… I felt the anger melt away inside of me, and my attitude changed from anger to grateful.
So to answer your question, attitude depends upon our thoughts. And sometimes those thoughts have to be changed intentionally and with effort. Circumstances and fiery darts are always slamming into us every day. Put on the whole armor of God… protect your heart by protecting your mind. It is easier said than done. This I know. As I continue to heal, I continue to struggle with this every day… but every day, I choose to win with Christ who strengthens me. I just have to keep asking…
27. Hi! I am currently experiencing lots of bad attitudes. Funny thing…is all me! I have been like a switch lately. Sometimes with reason and sometimes without. I am praying and asking God to help me. I am that black hole that is dragging everyone in my family in. I am reading a devotional sent from God! It is called Unglued. The writer seems to experience everything I am. I believe this is from God because I am learning the exact Bible verses for the specific need.
28. I have seen how my issue will affect others in that moment. I look at my fault and change it. I forgive myself and go to that family member and apologize. Then be proactive in changing the atmosphere. I become the thermostat not the thermometer.
29. Hello! When I have a bad attitude about someone, in this case my husband. I can feel like everything that he does makes me mad, I ask leading questions so that I can justify being mad, etc. What do I do, I confess and ask his forgiveness for my actions. But before I do all of this I get on my knees, confess, ask for forgiveness from our Lord and ask for help in softening my heart and helping me find the right words to speak to my husband and ask for his forgiveness. I think that just owning it and telling the person that you recognize your bad attitude and you’re making steps to change this is a huge thing in healing and moving forward…with a new attitude.
30. I start singing. I’ve found that when I have a song in my heart, no matter what kind, it lifts my mood, changes my focus. From Amazing Grace to The Hokey Pokey and everything in between, music comes from the heart and it can’t be crabby when it’s singing.
31. Thanks for sharing so candidly! I struggled quite a bit this past year in my marriage and in my parenting with bad moods. It’s so funny how my kids (12 and 14) can so easily point out when I’m in my funk. But I facilitated a 22 week Aphesis discipleship group from January to June of 2012 and what I learned and experienced there really helped decrease my reactivity levels as well as equip me to deal with bad attitudes. The process took us through 3 basic themes.
First, we spent 5-6 weeks exploring our old selves, ie. sinful nature, cultural influences, and family dysfunctions. Then another 5 weeks or so engaging that self with Father God, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The remaining weeks were spent on identity, relationships, and life skills of building trust, communication and forgiveness. What really helped was growing the skills of awareness of emotions / attitudes and the beliefs underlying them. Then reflecting and sorting them out with God and fellow believers / family members. Basically living in the light of God, His truth and grace. Here’s Aphesis’ website: http://aphesisgroup.com/
32. As I write this, our megachurch is praying and fasting today for the wife of one of our pastors who was just diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer a few weeks ago. Few people ever prepare for something like that. She is young and beautiful, he is handsome and both have been godly people at least since they met at Moody Bible College some 20 years ago. They are scheduled to speak on a weeklong marriage cruise in March, my wife and I are on that cruise, our first in 12 years of a very rocky marriage. Her prognosis is not good, but we are praying for a miracle.
I have fallen into that bad attitude throughout my marriage and the way I have finally found to overcome it and get out of it, is to focus on Jesus and not poor pitiful me. This pastor and a colleague began a Discipleship Training group at our church, aimed at making disciples of all men, focusing on men, to be the spiritual leaders of our homes and families. One of the books required in that curriculum, which they developed, is “Inside Out” by Dr. Larry Crabb. He has found the secret to finding joy in all things as the Apostle Paul had. Whether in want or in plenty, we realize our insignificance before a holy and righteous God who owes us nothing but eternal condemnation as our starting point. I recommend anything written by Crabb, I have read about 12 of his books now, and they all have the reader do internal examination to see our sin as God sees it.
Once we fully appreciate just how far we are from the holiness of God, only then can we appreciate and feel the love he has for us, that he would offer a way of salvation at all. Suddenly, my marriage problems seemed far less significant, but my contributions to them became much more apparent. It is not a pleasant journey, but I think it is a necessary one for every Christian. Crabb’s book “Shattered Dreams” is probably my favorite of his as it takes you through the book of Ruth in his self-examining way. His latest, “66 Love Letters” is a fitting ending to the journey of self-examination that focuses more on the love of God seen in every book of the Bible.
This is what permanently changed my bad attitude. We must quit writing our own story and add our story to his, the greatest story ever told.
33. Yes, I had bad attitudes about a lot in my marriage…and it’s always been what somebody else could do to make it better, I started forcing on what I can do and me only. I let go of unspoken expectations of my husband, it I could not tell him then I let it go. It also took him telling me about my self….boy did it hurt…I receive it because I was able to listen to him. I also was able to express some shortcomings of mine
34. When the bad attitude is toward my husband of 33 years, because of his sin and I tried, in love, to confront the issue with no resolve, for years, how do I change my attitude? It’s getting harder and harder. Psalm 23 says the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want (need). I feel like I need (and deserve) him to change and stop the resistance but the Lord says he’s met my needs. My attitude toward what I think is a need, must need changing. How?
35. I think of situations or people which are worse than mine. There is always someone who needs prayers for illness, finances, or marriage. I am a member of online support groups for fibromyalgia and lupus. The heart-breaking stories make me feel so blessed and healthy. Or I often think of our brothers and sisters from articles in “Voice of the Martyrs” magazine. And I recall stories I have read from the Holocaust. My life is near perfect when I think of others who are worse off than me.
36. Well in my home it’s my marriage and husband refusing to fix it or working towards allowing god to be his guide. For today he told me after 19 years of marriage and 9 children he wants nothing but to divorce he’ll keep everything as is and don’t want to affect the children. Well they are already affected because you say I love but I am not in love with you. I don’t see a future so let’s leave each other. I don’t understand how a men who goes to church holds bible thinks like this…throughout our marriage he has been unfaithful but still I stayed because the vows where between God and him through whatever I will be their and I was. Conviction is what I hear for my husband because, in reality only god can bring him to his knees and allow him to see that where he is, is destruction. I can not save him only god can before it is to late.
37. It is one of the most difficult things to overcome, but sometimes, you need to refocus on how our ancestors did it, and survived the winter. When our children were little, not babies, thank God. We bought some property. We had prayed about it and God allowed us to purchase it. I remember telling God, I don’t know what I’m asking for, but my husband really wants property, so if it is your will, let us get it. Well, we did not take into account that there was not electricity on the property and a well was dung, but with no electricity, it doesn’t work.
Anyway, we lived it the high desert in California and that winter it snowed. We were living in an 8 x 40 trailer. Thank God, we had propane so we had the stove and oven. I cooked a lot and baked a lot to keep us warm. We got water from our neighbor, 10, 5 gallon water bottles and 25 lbs of ice every other day for the frig. We lived this way for nine months. We found out after winter, that we actually did have a heater. There were good times and bad times, but I never felt so close to God, and the kids, our son, Raymond 8 yrs old and our daughter, Amber 3 yrs old, thought it was wonderful. It takes completely taking the focus off of us. We had an hourlong drive to church and at least the car heater worked, too. God has brought us through so much and yet, I doubt. Thank you for your time.
38. I used to facilitate a customer service course for government employees and one of the tenets I shared with participants was “choose your attitude”, which was borrowed directly from the FISH philosophy of customer service. Simply put, we make a choice as to how to respond to a situation. No matter what life throws at us, we choose our response. I often have to remind myself – or be reminded by my husband – to practice what I preached.
My word for the year is patience. I have 3 small children under the age of 6, one who is a preemie and very needy of my time and energy, which makes the other 2 a challenge at times. I often find myself at a breaking point when I feel like all 3 of them are pulling me in opposite directions and my husband either isn’t there to help, or is and still isn’t. I find the best way to calm down is to take a deep breath, and remind myself to practice what I teach. My sour attitude never makes things better; in fact, as my husband says, “when Mama’s unhappy, everyone’s unhappy”. It doesn’t always work, but I’m trying. That’s my word this year is patience. I’m a continual work in progress.
39. I have a rule about negative attitudes that tend to dominate us when things aren’t going like we think they should! I remind myself and others I am in the presence of that we need an “AA”, i.e. Attitude Adjustment. We need to get our focus off the difficult circumstances we are facing at the time and adjust our attitude to a more positive approach. Count our blessings rather than looking at the “lack of blessings”. I have found this helpful in my personal and business life. Give it a try!
40. A friend of mine sent this to me while I was going through radiation treatment for breast cancer. “In my devotional today I am reminded that “to bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice our understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent.”
Holding onto my definition of what is beneficial with a white knuckled grip produces sore fingers when God has to pry it out of my hand. My attitude seems to follow my definition of beneficial.
41. My Christian Leadership group is reading a book called Leadership and Self Deception, by the Aberdeen Group. Although it is not faith based, it speaks directly to how our own attitudes color our perceptions of others, which in turn change our behavior toward them and how we often “justify” our behavior as a result.
42. You have to kick-start your prayers. You have to force yourself to start counting blessings. Push the bad thoughts out of your mind and replace them with the things you are thankful for. The first thing to do is HIT YOUR KNEES! Really, drop to your knees. Just that act makes you realize that you are in the presence of the Lord, our God, and it is a humbling experience. Then block out all of your whining and complaining and thinking of the things you want or need, and immediately start thinking of the things you are thankful for. Start praising God for them and continue. Tell God how wonderful He is. Tell Him how awesome He is. Tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him for all of your blessings. Make a list of the things you are thankful for, and keep it near. He will strengthen you and help you through the hard times. Keep the FAITH!
43. For me I have noticed lately that when things happen and I refocus on God and tell him ok Lord, this is all yours and wholeheartedly surrender it to you and not take it back, my attitude changes. When it comes to my spouse when him and I are actively and consistently in God’s word together and doing devotionals the bad attitude does not come as often and I am able to see things differently. Moments with You devotional has helped my husband and I reconnect and has helped our attitudes towards each other.
44. I pray for Gods help. I sing and try to think on things to be thankful for. If I can get my eyes off me I usually start feeling better. If it’s my spouse I try to encourage them to see the bright side (if there is one!) or sometimes I just give them space to work thru it with Gods help.
45. There was a time period of about 3 years where my spouse was irritable and angry nearly all the time. The rest of the time she was in bed. Doctors did not find anything physically wrong with her. She blamed it on my job, but she pushed me to work harder and harder all the time.
That 3 years was the darkest time of my life. I dealt with it in several ways. First, I considered my duty to be there for her regardless of whether she was helpful for me. I reminded myself it was for better or for worst imaginable, not for better or for better. In those times that I was about to display a bad attitude I would remind myself how Christ treated His bride in giving himself up for her. It took a lot of reminding myself repeatedly of the above.
When there are less troubling things like the weather and loss of power, I do different things. One thing I do is consider it a learning experience. I would use it as a chance to research how others dealt with this situation in the past, find books at the library about it. Or books about people who have survived being exposed in the wilderness or snow/ice.
Also, I mix in singing praise to God. Some Christian songs are so catchy, it’s just infectious and lifts your mood. I picture myself as Paul when he was singing praises to God in prison even after being beaten and flogged.
46. This is a struggle for me too. The only way I can get over it is to get the bad out through prayer. I have to be willing to humble myself and go to the Lord. The key is to stay in that position until you find the peace and change required.
Along with that, is serving. My wife Leslie and I have 7 children, thirteen and under! We have been working on adding two bedrooms to our home for nearly two years. As you can imagine, life is hectic at times and our house feels like a storage unit. This has been incredibly frustrating and disappointing, especially as we have been delayed in completing the project for financial reasons.
One day I found myself angry over the ‘pile-up’ in the master bathroom. Immediately I began to have a bad attitude, thinking thoughts like, “can’t she pick up any of her junk on the counter” and “how hard is it to pick up after yourself?” So, I began to pray and wait on the Lord and then He replied to me in a small voice, “How hard is it?” So, I started picking up. As I worked through the mess in the bathroom, God began to open my heart and mind to peace.
The bad attitude was dumped out and replaced with concern and compassion for my bride. She and I both work, me at the church and her at the hospital. She works nights. Immediately I thought of all the work she does and all the ways she blesses our family.
She prays for us every day; she cooks; she gets the kids to church on her own; she works out; she cleans; she does so much. She is the most amazing helper I know.
Our life may have ‘pile ups’ in the bathroom (& possibly the kids’ rooms, our room, and the couch with unfolded laundry), but it is also filled with love and family. My attitude change started with prayer, then was transformed through service. God lavishes His grace and compassion for us through the prayer of Jesus Christ in the garden and His obedient service to death on a cross. That’s how my attitude gets changed.
47. I seek God, in His word, as well, prayer concerning the situation at hand.
48. I grew up in a very negative household and when I was 21 or 22, a man I was dating brought my pessimistic outlook to my attention. Since then (I’m now 42), I’ve tried to have a more optimistic outlook.
When the power is out for an hour, or even a few days, be grateful you have a roof over your head; you will have power eventually; you aren’t living on a sheet of cardboard in the streets. When you can’t cook b/c the power is out, be grateful you have peanut butter and crackers and you’re not rifling through trash for someone else’s leftovers.
I do find when I try to say these things to my spouse, he gets very irritable and says I’m trying to make him feel guilty, so I just have to pray for him. He will come around in God’s timing. It’s not my job to help him change his attitude. That’s for him and God to do. I just love him and sometimes avoid him if he’s especially nasty. He almost always apologizes later, which I know is God working in him.
49. Before I can change a bad attitude, I have to realize I have a bad attitude. It’s so easy and common to complain, and many of us don’t even realize we have one until a spouse or friend comments on it.
Years ago my husband told me I complained a lot. I was surprised. I thought I was giving him information. I figured I had a lot to complain about, since money was tight, and life didn’t exactly fit into my expectations. It was easy to find fault with him, too. Years later I came in contact with some business associates who recommended some books on attitude. It was an eye-opener to be sure, and started my journey of change. I read scripture verses about “have this mind in you” and “as a man thinks, so is he,” and realized God didn’t want me to have a poor attitude. These business associates also stressed the need to be grateful, and it didn’t take long to experience a better attitude in various circumstances.
My husband now tells me I put a positive spin on things! I wondered why I hadn’t heard much about attitude in the churches I attended throughout my life, since scripture says a lot about it. As I walk with the Lord and desire to please Him in all I do, I am growing an attitude of thankfulness, acceptance of others, trust in His care, and release of expectations that could derail me.
My husband and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary in July. We attended a wedding in June 2012 where we “won the dance contest” as being married the longest, and the MC asked each of us what made our marriage a success. Not being skilled with spur-of-the-moment replies, I blurted out that it took us about 35 years to start to get it right! I had learned to accept my spouse, good and bad, and to be responsible for my part of the relationship, owning the disrespect I had shown (that was a shock to learn).
We attended a Weekend to Remember (2004?) but we were still in too much pain to see solutions. The Lord guarded us and took us through a few more years, an interstate move to care for my elderly mother, a six-month separation, deep pain, and eventually we were able to work through issues. We are grateful to the Lord for His hand in our lives. I heard a Focus on the Family broadcast interviewing Emerson Eggerich about his book, “Love and Respect,” and was stunned to read how easy it was to be disrespectful to the men in our lives (all men, not just husbands).
My husband and I have worked through a lot, healed from our painful marriage and are doing better than ever. SO grateful. We both know that we have good will toward the other, and I am aware of treating him with respect. He is loving me with so many acts of service, it’s hard to believe this is the same man I wanted to run away from. We are enjoying each other! Ahh, thank you, Lord.
In 2011, I won a book from a Christian radio call-in (I hadn’t caught the title they were offering, but I was the 7th caller). When it arrived in the mail, my first thought was, oh, it’s a book for men (oops, attitude showing). A few days later I opened it to look at it and found an envelope inside that contained a complimentary registration for Weekend to Remember! We were not able to attend at the time, but I kept it where I wouldn’t forget.
Our church did a small group series on marriage and we met some new people. One couple wanted to attend the Weekend but couldn’t schedule it. Recently, after a conversation with them, I ran and got my free registration gift card and gave it to them. They were very excited and attended! It meant a lot to me that they have the opportunity to grow. Oh, and that book on men standing up–my husband picked it up, read it, liked it, and has recommended it to other men. He’s concerned about the lack of men’s ministries and discipling men. So much to be grateful for!!
50. a) I remove myself from the situation temporarily (not leave) just back away for a few. It can be as easy as going to the garage to grab something or stepping into the bathroom. b) I attempt to clear my mind of the emotions and pull out the facts. c) Analyze the facts in light of what could be (both positive and negative). What I wish were happening right now and what if it were truly worse? d) It at this point my inner child pops out and I’m forced to admit I simply don’t want to feel better. Once you reach this point you have a decision to make. e) I try (not always successful) to simply force myself to make the next move whether I feel like it or not. Sometimes just acting like I feel better is what ultimately turns the tide.