Lord, Change My Attitude

A few months back, our women's ministry at church did a Bible study called Lord, Change My Attitude by James MacDonald.  Let me just say, it was incredibly convicting!  Even the weeks and subjects that I didn't think would be a huge issue for me proved to be where God worked the most.  I wanted to blog about it each week but my life is just a little crazy and I didn't get a chance to do that. Then, I started a few weeks ago, going through each week to share what God was showing me through those weeks and realized that it was going to be incredibly long and I would probably lose all two most of you.  So, let me just give you a brief overview and encourage you to do this study.  I cannot say that it was fun but I will do the dramatic and say that it was life changing!

It was a 10-week study with the following subjects.

Weeks 1 & 2 - Replacing a Complaining Attitude With An Attitude of Thankfulness

Weeks 3 & 4 - Replacing a Covetousness Attitude With An Attitude of Contentment

Weeks 5 & 6 - Replacing a Critical Attitude With An Attitude of Love

Weeks 7 & 8 - Replacing a Doubting Attitude With An Attitude of Faith

Weeks 9 & 10 - Replacing a Rebellious Attitude With An Attitude of Submission

See...I told you it wasn't necessarily fun but definitely good.  Just the outline of the chapters is enough to scare most people away.  :)

Some things that stood out to me in those 10 weeks.....

I complain....a lot.  I am truly truly working on this.  I am trying to teach my children that God does not like complaining and I certainly don't like to hear them complain.  One of the things I thought about most of all was when I spend all day long cleaning the house and someone comes home and talks about what I didn't do.  How frustrating is that?  I wonder how God must feel when He has given me so much and I still continue to complain about every little petty thing and the big things too!!!  It isn't becoming and it will ruin a testimony.

Complaining hurts yourself, hurts God, and hurts the people around you.  YOUR GRIPING POISONS THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.  

Complaining turns us away from all of the good things that God has done.

I have noticed when I start to complain and I pray....immediately.  Not every time but I am a work in progress.

Contentment...oh boy.  Honestly, I am not sure if this week or the week on a critical attitude hit me the hardest but this was definitely a hard week for me.  My husband and I talk all the time about why I am not happy.  I mean, I am happy sometimes but for the most part I just feel like something is missing.  The most profound thought from this week:  He is enough.  Things, people, whatever CANNOT make me happy.  Happiness and joy are not the same thing and joy comes from the Lord.  Joy is within and when I realize that God wants what is best for me I will have that joy.  When my desires line up with God's desires for me.  Before I can have that oneness and be in tune with Christ, I must listen to Him and respond to His call and spend more time with him.  I am working on that too.  Again, it is a process.

I recently saw the movie Mom's Night Out.  It was GREAT!!  Super funny but more importantly, it had some very serious life lessons for busy moms with small children who just don't feel quite adequate in the world that feel like it is spinning out of control.  Allyson, the main character is a blogger and blogged at the end of the movie:

My life needs to change in order for me to be happy: FALSE.  I MUST change in order for me to be happy.  

God has given me exactly what I need to be the mother to my children because He has given them to me.  

I am a failure:  FALSE.  I am a mess but I am His mess.  I am a work in progress and

At one point, she said, "When I was a little girl, I wanted this.  I wanted a loving husband and beautiful kids.  Why am I not happy?"  Later in the movie she talked about not being enough and a very wise, yet unsuspecting character asked her, "For who?"  She talked about all of the people that she was not good enough for and he simply told her that the only person that she was measuring up to was herself.  He told her to quit being so hard on herself.  

DING DING!!!!  It just spoke SO much to me.  God is good and gives us JUST what we need why do we search for so much more?  

I do have a critical attitude.  I am sure that most of that stems from being a perfectionist.  I notice things...spelling errors, grammatical errors.  Am I perfect?  ABSOLUTELY not!!!!  Do I like it when people point out my faults.  Well, no.  I have caught myself several times since this study refraining from correcting someone when they made silly mistakes if they didn't matter.  One of the biggest issues with being critical is that it harbors negativity.  I am trying and praying and on my knees begging almost for Christ to transform me from the person that everyone thinks I am into the person that I really am - a loving, giving, caring person that just wants to be kind and gentle.  I see progress but it is slow and I get frustrated with the process.  :)  One step at a time.

One of the common themes in the Bible study from beginning to end was that God is faithful when we are not.  That has been such a profound statement for me in the past few days, months, and years that I can hardly stand it!!!  I mean, I can say it over and over and over and I believe it but do I TRULY believe it?  If I am not living it out with a right attitude, I think it is hard to display a true belief in that statement.  

I think the last week was probably the week that I felt like I could breathe a little.  I am a rule-follower.  I don't find myself to be very rebellious. At least I didn't, until I read this Bible study.  :/  I do have some "trouble areas" here but not nearly as much as the other "wilderness areas" that MacDonald talks about.  Believe me, I don't feel like I have this subject matter mastered by any stretch of the imagination!  Anytime I get an attitude of not wanting to follow a leader or getting a negative attitude about something that someone told me to do, that qualifies.  The biggest thing from this week was when we talked about God placing leaders and authority figures in place and how if we choose not to honor them, we are choosing not to honor God.  Woah!  Think about that on a political level, employment level, and spiritual leader level.  Mmmm hmmmm.....  yikes.

I have such a long way to go before I have my attitude "in check" and if I ever feel like I am "there" that is the time I will be in trouble.  Like I said, this is a process and we may make progress then have set backs.  The most important thing to remember is that God is there with us.  He is faithful and He never leaves us.  Attitude is such a huge part of who we are.  It can be a "deal breaker" in relationships, marriages, friendships, job environments, churches, etc.  It's a big deal and God thinks so too....anytime you wonder just read about the Israelites and what God did with their bad attitudes!!!


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