The Power of Your Attitude
In yesterday’s sermon I spoke of the power of attitude. Here’s an important addition to the discussion.
It is in your power to choose your attitude. Many people think that their circumstances dictate their attitudes, but this is not true. You are a creature with amazing God-given power to choose your thoughts, attitudes, and even emotions. Yes, thoughts, attitudes and emotions will come and go, but to simply give in to whatever emotions and attitudes that present themselves is the default position. You can take hold of your thoughts and attitudes and direct your life toward something better.
Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, survived some of the most tragic and disappointing events a person could ever endure. He endured the death of his father at a young age, the death of his fiancee, and the death of his young son. His career was littered with failure and defeat before becoming the 16th U.S. President, and even after having become President he was constantly grieved by his difficult wife and the stresses of guiding the nation through a bloody, devastating Civil War. The media continually lampooned him, even taking aim at his looks and calling him a “stupid-looking monkey.” Yet, it was this same man — this extraordinary man — who proclaimed, “I think people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
What? Can you live through what Abraham Lincoln lived through and still decide to be happy?
Zig Ziglar, one of the modern-day gurus of the personal development and achievement, late in his life endured the death of his adult daughter to leukemia. He later said he was temped to allow the grief of his daugther’s death to make him shrink back and crawl into a shell of his own sadness. But then he took himself by the collar, figuratively, and told himself that if he allowed this sad event to effect him for the rest of his life, then none of the things he had been teaching to others for so long were true. He decided then and there that he would choose to be happy. And that’s how he lived out the rest of his life.
While I have never personally had to endure the kind of tragedies and disappointments to the extent as people like Abraham Lincoln, I have nevertheless had my share of terrible circumstances to overcome. And I have known plenty of people who have had it worse than me by losing young children. Some of them were almost destroyed by the grief. Others grieved for a while and then went back to the business of living full, rich, happy, and productive lives.
Regardless of what life throws at us, we can choose to be happy, because “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).