By Lynette Hagin
This month we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. When I think of Thanksgiving, it is easy for me to begin counting the days until Christmas. And if your mind races ahead as mine does, you begin to wonder, “How will I ever get everything done for the holidays?” If we are not careful, we begin to develop a bad attitude long before the holidays begin. And wrong attitudes create stress in our life.
Someone once said, “Our minds can shape the way a thing will be because we act according to our expectations.” If you begin to think that the holidays will be stressful and a lot of work, that is exactly what they will become. On Thanksgiving Day I cook my family’s favorite foods. Many of the dishes take some time to make. I used to stress out because I endeavored to have the meal ready at a certain time. When I didn’t meet that deadline, I began to fret about it. Several years ago I realized that this stress was causing me to not even enjoy the holiday.
I decided to do something about that. A simple adjustment of saying “the meal will be ready when it’s ready” made a huge difference in my attitude. I was no longer uptight about the meal, and the time of day it was served was not even important to my family. All that mattered to them was getting their favorite foods. It amazed me that such a minor adjustment made such a major difference in my attitude.
Getting a meal on the table at a designated time may never bother you. However, I am sure that some things in your life are creating attitude problems. I encourage you to take inventory of your attitudes. What is causing you to have attitude problems? Mary Engelbreit said, “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
I believe that our lives would be a lot more peaceful if we would practice that philosophy. There are many things that we are able to change, just as I was able to change the time of my meal. Sometimes we don’t take the time to evaluate our attitudes. We fail to understand what is causing us to think as we do. No one enjoys being around someone with a stinky attitude. When I meet someone with continual attitude problems, I avoid them as much as possible.
Much of the time our attitudes are affected by constantly thinking on the negative instead of the positive. Suppose your spouse said to you, “Honey, guess what happened to me today!” Would your mind start thinking about negative things or positive things? Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I like that verse in The Message Bible: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” You will find that filling your mind with the positive things in life will dramatically change your attitudes.
Instead of dwelling on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Many times our words of complaint come so freely to our spouse and children. How many times do we compliment them for the good things they do?
As the holiday season approaches, I encourage you to make an attitude adjustment. Become more thankful for those around you. See how many compliments you can hand out. Begin by saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I make that confession every day. Is it easier to say on some days than on others? Of course. There are times when I confess those words literally as a faith statement. However, before the day is over, that faith statement becomes a reality in my life because I choose to attack every situation with the right attitude.