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Attitude Adjustments

Attitude colors the way you see the world, and the way you see the world is a reflection of what you believe about it, and what you believe about it dictates how you behave in it. Your attitude, then, is inextricably entangled with your actions through your beliefs. Wrong beliefs produce wrong attitudes which produce wrong behaviors, which validate wrong beliefs, which, in turn, buttress wrong attitudes. You may not always be able to easily challenge a wrong belief, but you can almost always challenge a bad attitude. And you should – because that bad attitude can launch a never ending, self-reinforcing, downward spiral.

Consider how a man may “wake up on the wrong side of the bed.” He tells himself that he does not want to go to work, and that his work environment is horrid, that his boss is an imbecile, and that his job has no meaning. Those wrong beliefs orient his attitude negatively. When he enters his office, he sees how his staff made a minor mistake, but he perceives it as way bigger than it is, and he thinks to himself, “I’m the only one that does things correctly. This is a terrible place to work.” The janitor’s mother died, so he didn’t come in this morning and the trash cans were full, the floors unswept, and the bathroom was out of toilet paper. Without any kind of questioning, the man tells himself, “this place is a terrible place to work. The chores are never done. His boss adds a new task to his schedule, and instead of seeing its necessity to the company’s success, he sees only that it was placed, “moronically,” in an inconvenient segment of his schedule. A department head in another program was inspired by one of the man’s research papers, and used his data to start a bold and unconventional new project. The man tells himself, “what am I doing here. Only one person ever pays attention to my work. My labor is pointless and insignificant.”

If the man adjusted his attitude to one of faith, trust, and confidence in God, he would have told himself very different things. Instead of seeing a mistake that his staff had made, he would have seen an opportunity to train her for wisdom. Instead of telling himself the lie that the chores are never done, he would have asked where the janitor was this morning. Instead of seeing his boss as an imbecile who doesn’t know how to schedule, he would have invited the boss into his day to better familiarize him with the operation. Instead of belittling his research work, he would seek to further inspire the bold new program.

Guarding your attitude is very much akin to guarding your heart, because it is from there that your attitude flows (Proverbs 4:23-27)! If you long for your spiritual life to change, then start by changing your attitude and examining your beliefs in light of what God has said.

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