Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2: 5 (NLT)
The memories flooded through the quiet of my thoughts this morning as I swung the kitchen cabinet door open to reveal the assortment of coffee mugs standing ready for use.
Memories of travels and friendships, family trips, and various challenges poured through my mind, as I read words like: Kapalua, Beaver Creek, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Harvard Law School, Super Bowl XXXVII, Augusta National, and a couple with pictures of our beautiful granddaughters wrapped around the sides.
They were all moments indelibly etched in my heart and drawn out from the now fading inscriptions on the mugs. But there was one that seemed as bright and beautiful as the day it first graced our collection many years ago, and which once again reminded me as I started my day that—
“Attitude is Everything.”
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl recounts the unspeakable horrors of his long-time imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz and Dachau in which he was stripped to his naked existence, and in which his father, mother, brother and wife all died. An imprisonment in which he—with every possession lost, every value destroyed, while suffering from hunger, cold and brutality, and hourly expecting his own extermination—was able to find that life was still worth preserving and there was, in what little there seemed to be left of his life, still value and hope.
He found that despite his circumstances, we are never stripped of one of our “last human freedoms—the ability to choose our attitude despite our given set of circumstances.”
Frankl’s experiences remind us that even though we can’t always choose our circumstances, we can always choose our attitude, and through that realize the capacity within each of us to rise above those circumstances. It’s our choice, and the depth of the inner character directing our lives which is revealed by the attitude we exhibit in those most serious of life’s circumstances and struggles.
Frankl’s experiences should also remind us of the potential that God has placed in our lives, to know Him and to receive Him, and, through Him, to make a difference in this world. To make a difference in a world where barriers between us that have existed for generations are knocked down, and where we learn from the difficulties and mistakes of the past, and vow to change them. Where we stand ready to act and assure that the wrongs of the day are made right, and where we each not only feel a responsibility for ourselves, but for each other.
The circumstances of our days may be difficult. They may try our souls, strain our relationships and test our resolve.
Yet in those moments it is important to remember that even though our life in this world is a mere blink in the eye of God, we are on a journey that is about choosing an attitude toward life that makes a significant difference not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others around us.
The same attitude as the attitude of Christ toward us and toward the world.
A journey through life with an attitude—whether within the walls of our home, at the office, in school, on the ball fields, among the homeless, the oppressed, the poor, whether here or somewhere else in the nation or world—where in the face of need, injustice, or hopelessness that is around us, we realize that we cannot, and will not, turn away.
And when we do that, when we have that attitude in the life we live, not only will our lives be lifted, along with the lives around us which we lift and brighten by our efforts, but the quality and potential of our society, our nation and world as a whole will be lifted by the rising tide of all of our attitudes of commitment and caring, of compassion and courage.
And in that journey, we will discover anew, the life we were meant to live.
A life not measured by the standards of success set by others, but instead a life measured by the breadth of the smile of our God as He watches us from above.
And it all begins with our attitude.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.