Your Attitude Can Make a Difference
Proverbs 17:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Which of the things below do you believe has a bigger impact on your Christian life?
- Your Circumstances
- Your Genes
- Your Attitude (perception of things)
Some Christians might be quick to point to their circumstances, saying, “I live in poverty if only I had more money.” Other Christians might say, “If only my marriage was better.” Then, some Christians might feel, “IF only I had better health, I might be happier.” Your genes are not something that you can alter, so your attitude, that is, your perception of your genetic makeup or your circumstances is going have the greatest impact on your Christian life.
Good for Your Healing
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good for healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” In other words, your attitude or perception of your genetic makeup or circumstances can affect what you are able to do to improve upon your situation. On this proverb, Dave Bland writes, “This verse closely ties with 14:30 and 15:13. The sage knew that the internal psyche has the power to heal as well as to destroy the body. One’s internal demeanor affects physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.”
Disbelievingly of such an idea, you might be tempted to argue, “why should I hide my life difficulties behind some mask of optimism because no amount of positive thinking is going to remove my problems in life.” You might think that you are simply ‘a realistic person living in reality, as oppose to, some fantasy land.’ On the surface, those thoughts might seem to be true.
Pamela’s Perception: “I have been alone for several years as a single mother after my husband committed adultery on me. I have worked so hard to be a great mother, putting in much time, effort and love into my children, and I still fail at being a good mother because my ex-husband often criticizes me. I’ll never succeed at being a good parent. No matter how hard I work, no matter the effort I put forth, no matter how much love I show, it’s never good enough. Why do I even try?”
Pamela’s Different Perception: “I have been blessed with three wonderful children for several years as a single mother after my husband committed adultery on me. I have worked so hard to be a great mother, putting in much time, effort and love into my children, and none of my children use foul language, act out as rebels, stay out late, do drugs or drink alcohol, get in trouble with the police, or many of the other things mother’s struggle with. My best friend has highlighted some things, some aspects of my parenting that he loves, but he also has offered advice on some basic mistakes. I have learned some valuable lessons that will help me to be an even better mother. All of my hard work, all of the effort that I have put forth, and the tremendous amount of love that I have shown, it has made all of the difference in my young ones being good children.”
Who Has Happiness and Succeeds Here
Which perception leads to a bigger impact on Pamela’s Christian life. Which perception will end up making Pamela a more capable mother. Which perception will lead to Pamela having a happier life as she looks at the idea of remarriage. When you, the reader, face life difficulties and even criticism, which Pamela do you act like?
Care for your attitude or perception in life in the same way you would cultivate a garden. You need to root out those poisonous weeds (thoughts) of irrational thinking, that is, pessimism and negativity. Instead, sow seeds of realistic optimism into your life. Then, fertilize your life with actions that evidence your new rational thinking, your new positive emotions. Then, you will reap an emotional crop that will make your life much more satisfying. And it will confirm the fact that your perception of your circumstances and genetic makeup, i.e., your attitude makes a difference! Many people, so as to live a healthier life, forsake certain foods; you can do the same by forsaking irrational thinking, namely, negatives attitudes.
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 Or good medicine
 Or saps one’s strength
 Or good medicine
 Or saps one’s strength
 Dave Bland, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 2002), 166.