Three Word Wednesday: Choosing my attitude
I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul.
From Kristin: #ThreeWordWednesday is simple, really. I know we're all busy with life and kids and jobs and parents and friends and church and whatever else it is that occupies our time. Some weeks I'm not sure what my post will be about, but knowing people will show up here on Wednesdays is good motivation to write something. #ThreeWordWednesday is a chance to pause and hear God. Sum up what you're hearing in three words. Those three words are enough. But stories are good too.
Choosing my attitude
Have you ever noticed that attitudes can be infectious? One person with a bad attitude can affect a whole room just as a person exuding joy can spread that attitude as well. The times I find hardest to find joy and spread joy are when my children misbehave and I have to go into "discipline" mode. Ugh, never fun.
I've often let my children's bad choice or bad mood influence my attitude and then we all end up miserable. I use a harsh tone and the bad attitudes escalate on all sides. But God doesn't do this with us. He uses grace and mercy in his correction. He lets us feel the natural consequences to our actions and while they are times we feel we are being punished or that God is acting unfairly, we know it's not really the truth.
Yesterday one of my kids was having a hard evening. This child let one less than great choice (it wasn't even "bad," just not super great) spiral into a full blow tantrum which resulted in an early bedtime as a consequence. It took some willpower to not join in with the bad attitude, after all, I'm only human! But I kept my cool and calmly asked the child to get ready for bed and then come talk to me.
I spent some time snuggling this child and explaining why the consequences were being experienced. I pulled in some examples of God disciplining His people such as the flood and spending forty years in the desert. I promised I would never flood the kid or drop any of them in the desert for forty years if they didn't obey but that there would be consequences for misbehavior.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
That pause can be hard to remember in the moment. But I'm working on it. Taking a breath and responding with a gentle and loving attitude. I've got a long way to go still but that's okay.