By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
The older I get the more I am convinced that attitude in life is extremely important. I think that an attitude toward a given situation is more important than the reality of the situation itself. I have seen people in a bad situation with a great attitude and they discover a good dimension of life that is indescribable. Likewise I have seen people in good situations with a bad attitude and they have a miserable life.
Attitude is how we look at things. It is what we see and how we see them. When we face something in life it can either be an obstacle or an opportunity. It can be a burden or a blessing. It can be a stumbling block or a stepping stone. Our attitude makes a determination of what it ultimately is in our situation.
One of my favorite sports figures was Coach Tony Dungy. One of the highlights of my retirement was when he wrote me a personal note. I remember pulling so hard for him when he won the Super Bowl.Tony Dungy’s son Jamie died. He shares his attitude when he wrote, “Why do bad things happen? I don’t know. Why did Jamie die? I don’t know. But I do know that God has the answers, I know he loves me, and I know he has a plan – whether it makes sense to me or not. Rather than asking why, I’m asking what. What can I learn from this? What can I do for God’s glory and to help others?”
That is an attitude of life that is based on the goodness of God and faith in His ultimate wisdom. That is confidence. That is trust. That is life at the highest level. The right attitude takes life to a new altitude.
We people here in America have so much for which to be thankful, yet we seem to complain so much. The Pew Research Center did a survey of 48,643 people in 44 countries. The results are amazing. They found that people in poorer nations in Africa and South America were more likely to say they were having “a good day” than people in Europe, Asia, or even the U.S. People who have the least seem to have the best attitude and enjoy “a good day.”
Oftentimes we say to people “have a good day.” My Dad said that we should not say “have a good day,” but rather say “make it a good day.” To simply want to have a good day indicates that we might just sit back and have little to do with how it turns out. To tell people to make it a good day indicates we have to act positively if we are going to have a good day.Your circumstances don’t determine where you go – they merely determine where you have to begin.
If your circumstances are tough, just remember that kites always rise against the wind, not with the wind.Paul wrote, “Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) His circumstances of life were extremely difficult, but he preferred an attitude that lifted him to an altitude that was above those circumstances.
A man asked a friend how he was doing and he said, “Under the circumstances.” The friend interrupted him and said, “Why are you living under the circumstances?” Catherine Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army, faced extreme challenges. She would often look at her circumstances and say, “The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over.”
Make it a good day!
John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
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