I’m sure when some see a title about attitude it ruffles their feathers right away. We all want to think that our attitudes are stellar in all things, don’t we? We don’t need to change a thing. The truth is, many times we fail. Since I was so sick last year and now am feeling almost whole again, I have been accused of being too happy. Some have asked what drug I took or even questioned if I could be this happy for real. I can literally say right now, I am just simply high on life—and I’m serious. When faced with sickness for months on end, one begins to question if they will ever be themselves again or enjoy life as they once did. Your mind starts going to bad places and if you let it life can get hopeless real fast. If you actually get it turned around and start feeling better as I did, it’s as though you have a new lease on life. Actually, you could never get well and still have a positive outlook on life is you chose to do so.
This past week I got to visit my brother, Mike, in California. Mike has been facing illness and adversity for several years now and we weren’t sure what we were going to find when we got there. We knew the last few months had been especially taxing on him and totally expected him to be in bed unable to do much of anything on our visit. However, I was pleasantly surprised when we got there to see him up, dressed and sitting in a chair when we arrived. As my oldest brother, one I’ve always looked up to and admired, I am sure he pushed to make himself go harder while we were there to not let us down. However, the toll his disease has taken on him was evident the minute we stepped in the door and was nothing he could hide.
I remember the times when he used to come home from leave while serving in the Vietnam War and take me fishing or to a Red’s game. I especially remember when one of my friends stepped on my Bobby Sherman album and broke it in half. As I was sobbing uncontrollably, Mike rescued me. He took me to the record store and got me a new one…he just couldn’t stand to see me cry. He wrote letters when he was in the service addressed just to me. When he got his new red Camaro, he drove out and took me for a ride. We always laugh uncontrollably when we are together as we reminisce about days gone by or sometimes about nothing at all. We’ve also been known to cry together just as easily. He still calls me regularly just to talk. He makes me feel special. Loved.
Mike has had his disease for several years and although it has robbed him of some physical capabilities, it has not taken his spirit. Yes, I am sure he has his bad times when he wants to give up and gets grumpy, don’t we all? However, he has not allowed a medical diagnosis to cripple his will to push on and fight this thing. I admire him for continuing to push forward. He’s always the one who is finding the silver lining and encouraging me not to worry about him. There were times this week I could have helped him, but his fight and determination said otherwise. People like Mike make it through the tough times. They push, they’re stubborn while not giving in to adversity, they see the positives and don’t let the other stuff pull them down.
A winning attitude is a choice. Just as you take a shower and choose to get dressed every day; you also choose which attitude you will have each day as well. People are always looking for the magic pill or for others to bring them up or encourage them. Many blame others for the way they feel not realizing that it is their choice, not someone else’s responsibility for their happiness. I may have a positive attitude, but it is not because I don’t suffer or have adversity in my life. It’s because I choose to see the good in each day. My favorite line to my husband and kids when they get whiny is, “Happy thoughts!” (They hate that by the way.) There is always something to be thankful for in life. There is always someone worse off than you than you. If you live your life by faith, you need to have faith that God’s got it all under control. Stop whining and start praising no matter what your circumstances!
My brother’s physical body may suffer and be wracked by disease but it makes no difference to me. I see him through those little girl’s eyes in awe of him. I respect him because of the respect he showed me throughout my lifetime. I will always hold him special as he has taught me to do by his example to me. I don’t see a man who has been weakened by sickness and disease. I see him as a strong man who loves his family and chooses to keep on fighting until God calls him home. I see a man that although the flesh is weak, he is strong.
My mother-in-law was telling me this week of a time when things weren’t going as well as she would like at their church. She was becoming discontent. One day she simply asked God to show her something new each time she attended the service and help her overcome the feelings she was having. He blessed her and began showing her awesome things she never saw before. She chose to have a change of attitude—despite the grumblings from those around her—and God responded to her positive decision.
How are you choosing to live today? Have you made a choice to live positively today? Maybe you feel that you’ve received the short-end of the stick and life is miserable? Do you choose to praise God for the beautiful day you’ve been given? Are you thankful for another day of breath in your body to make a difference in your world? I don’t need to take a pill, wait for someone’s call to encourage me, or have everything go my way. I choose to put a smile on my face, keep moving forward, and of course think happy thoughts each day while praising my Savior throughout the day. Will you take my challenge? Will you stop whining and start praising? Will you choose to find the good today that comes your way? The choice is yours.
Psalm 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.