By: Sarah Louise
So you’re absentmindedly walking down the sidewalk with your dog Maggy in tow (who doesn’t really want to be there any more than you do) and the sky starts to cloud over. You were too lazy to pull on a jacket on your way out the door, so the chilly air is too cold and the sprinkling rain is gradually starting to soak through your clothes. You kick at a rock and grumble something about why doesn’t Mom ever make your little brother take Maggy for a walk, and as the cars go by and the raindrops get bigger, you’re thinking that this is not exactly what you had in mind for your Saturday afternoon. You would rather be almost anywhere else but here. Grumble grumble grumble. Life stinks.
But what if you were to stop right there, turn your thoughts on Jesus, and allow Him to turn your sour mood into cheerfulness? What if you stopped dragging your feet through the puddles, picked up the pace a little bit, and looked up to Jesus through the rain with a song in your heart and a smile on your face and start to tell Him how much you appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house and get alone with Him? This would please Him so much, and it would turn a drab walk into a sweet, beautiful opportunity to be with Jesus. He may even bring someone across your path whom you could bless with a smile on a rainy day or a little bit of sunshine in a kind word or deed. But not if you let that bitter attitude get the best of you!
Think about this: The attitude that we have in any given moment will give others around us a glimpse either into our own selfish flesh or into the heart of Jesus.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Being female, with all of our unruly and seemingly uncontainable emotions, and added to that, all of our insecurities and selfishness, can make having a Christ-like attitude very difficult. Let’s face it. We can try all day long to be loving, selfless, and sweet, but in the end, we are still weak, broken, and full of ourselves, only looking out for our own needs or desires. There are so many different types of bad attitudes that we can fall into!
Our natural impulses and responses are always bent toward self-preservation. It is so much easier to just let a sassy or sarcastic remark tumble out, or to roll our eyes as a show of disdain, or manipulate people with a pouty face or a look to get what we want. We have a natural bent toward laziness, wanting everyone else to do what we are unwilling to do ourselves because it inconveniences us.
If you feel that none of these things apply to you, just examine your attitudes throughout the day today and pray that God will help you see sin clearly. You’ll probably be sickened to realize how often your attitude is actually very wrong, even in subtle ways!
On top of our own natural flesh (our sin nature) working against us, as we go about each day, we are constantly immersed in a culture that exalts self, encourages girls to be flirty and sassy, and throws away femininity as if it were a thing of the past. I’m sure many would agree, that the words “sweet,” “gentle,” “caring,” and “lovely” could never be used (in general) to describe the females of this generation, and most women have no desire to be seen as sweet, gentle, caring, or lovely because these things have gone out of style today.
Though it can be a fierce struggle, like taking a bull by the horns, we who belong to Jesus must allow the Lord to search our hearts and change our very natures in order that our attitudes may be conformed to His image. We must pray that God would help us to respond the way He would instead of the way we always do.
“A tranquil heart is life to the body,” Proverbs 14:30
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
“Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing [arguing];” Philippians 2:14
Practically speaking, what can we do differently? Do we have to stop being female? No, of course not! We need to learn how to behave the way that God intends females to behave, allowing His Spirit to take over our words, thoughts, and actions, and stamping down our flesh so that it doesn’t have a say in how we react or respond.
“But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4
Just think about it! We have amazing opportunities every day to shine for Jesus. You can make someone else’s day brighter and add a little sweetness to their world.
Try starting simple!
– Smile! Consciously make an effort to smile throughout the day! Smile at the people you are around at the store, at school, at home, at work. Smile when you are asked to help with something.
– Add some sunshine to someone’s day! Be cheerful! You will need a lot of help from the Lord to be cheerful for even a few minutes, but if you pray, He will help you! There are so many people who go about depressed and full of fear and worry. Don’t be like that! Jesus was not depressed or somber. He was the most cheerful person there ever was and many people were filled with hope and felt His love because He was so joyful and glad all the time! Greet people kindly as you walk down the street or through the store, and looking up instead of at the ground will make your day bright and sunny!
– Make eye contact! When you look people in the eye it makes them feel like you really care and are interested in what they are saying. It shows them that you acknowledge them and that you want to be there talking with them.
– Don’t join in the bad attitudes of others. When you hear or see others feeling depressed or speaking rudely about or to others, don’t join in. Don’t be rude or sassy just because you want to fit in with someone who is.
Another important thing to watch out for is your attitudes when you go to pray. Is your attitude toward Him complaining or whiny? Do you pray actually expecting Him to answer or do you dryly and indifferently run through your prayer list feeling as though you have accomplished your obligation to Him? Cheerfulness in prayer is part of having faith that God hears and will answer. It shows Him that you really love and trust Him! You can brighten God’s day!
This goes for when you are joining with other believers in prayer as well! Do you participate in prayer at Bible study or youth group or church? Do you join in with real intent and focus? Or do you quietly sit back bored and yawning wondering when it will ever be done? Or are you concentrating so hard on making your prayers sound good to the people around you that you don’t even connect with God? Remember, God is the one you are praying to for real answers. It’s not about trying to impress God by having your body present, and it’s not about impressing people with how you worded your prayer. Both of these attitudes are pride and you might as well not even be there!
Attitude is everything! Whether we are just going about our day or whether we’re in prayer or whatever we’re doing, whoever we’re with. Allow the Lord to show you the areas in your life where your attitude has been wrong and let Him help you to change! With His help, and a little bit of effort, your day can be full of sunshine, even on those chilly, rainy days!