for the week of May 15, 2000
by Rubel Shelly

Attitude isn't everything, but I'm convinced it's more important than most of the things to which we attribute our daily outcomes. The person inclined to whine that others have gotten more breaks or to excuse his failure or poor performance by blaming someone else is likely sabotaging himself with a poor outlook.

Many things about your life are simply the hand you have been dealt. You can't change the fact that you were born in that place and with certain givens for your appearance, IQ, or natural skills. Education and training can open some doors for you, but they cannot change your past, make you taller and more athletic, or alter the fact that some people are unfair in the way they treat you.

The one thing you can do something about is how you choose to respond to your life circumstances. Even Jesus couldn't control what other people thought and said about him. But he refused to let them dictate his spirit and behavior.

There is a section in John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer that reads . . .

Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.
What enables everything in one's life to generate "the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin"? What can turn such negatives as disappointment, anxiety, and criticism into positive outcomes? And what can keep success, praise, and gratification from becoming pride? Your attitude makes the difference.

When a given day begins, countless things are headed your way over which you have no control. It may be bad weather or someone's bad temper, a deadline that won't budge or a client equally resistant to change. The one factor you can control through it all is your attitude toward them.

Your attitude today will make all the difference in everything that matters.

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