I am certain that you have heard the statement, Attitude Determines Altitude, several times, and perhaps you have it on a wall quote in your home or office. Defensive, grumpy, critical, envious, impatient, martyr, selfish, controlling, and sarcastic—although the list could go on and on, these are a few of the many different kinds of attitudes we can possess.
When I started Bible college (way back in the dark ages) at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, I was introduced to the word ‘attitude’ in a different way. Starting Bible college as a freshman can be a frightening experience. Not only have you moved away from home, which for most students is quite a distance, you are also meeting new people and being orientated to a LONG list of rules. On one such morning, I was complaining to one of my newfound friends about the long list of rules. She stopped me and said, “Cindie, you have a BA.” Wow! I had only been in Bible college for a couple of days, and I had already earned a BA? I had no idea you could earn one so quickly! She then proceeded to tell me that it stood for “bad attitude.” Webster defines attitude as feeling or emotion toward a fact or state—a negative or hostile state of mind. I had to confess that I had both!
This past week I actually found myself with a bad attitude more than once. I chuckled to myself, thinking, “How like the devil this is!” We arrived home late Wednesday evening after a very busy season, and I was tired. Early the next morning, my husband announced to me that we were getting a new roof and that they were starting today!
We have a couple of contractors in our church who were given a roof from a very expensive house. They knew we needed a new one and were being very kind and gracious. We had a very old roof with several leaks. However, it already had two layers of roofing on it. In order to put the new roof on, they had to get both layers off by scraping, throwing shingles, more scraping, and more throwing shingles! This was before they could even start the pounding, pounding, and more pounding of the new roof.
When we moved into our current home, my husband worked VERY hard to make it nice. We especially enjoy the backyard. He wanted it to be an “oasis” for us. We put in a rather large above ground pool, dug it down a couple of feet in order to make it half above ground and half in ground. We had recently purchased a heater for the pool, and I had been able to enjoy a couple of times. I cannot tell you how much I was looking forward to the next couple of days to just “chill” in my backyard.
I was now a prisoner inside, and if I wanted to go outside, I had to leave my house. There were several roofers on top of my house, and I was not about to be in the backyard, let alone in the pool!
If you know anything about construction, you know it takes far longer than they tell you, and it costs far more than you plan. This lesson we had learned very well from several remodel jobs on former places of residence. I was in the midst of construction, my least favorite thing in the entire world, and I hated it. I grumbled, complained, griped, and, last but not least, pouted about my present circumstances. Poor me! I was really enjoying my own pity party. I thought out loud several times, “I have worked so hard the last couple of days, and I just want to relax. Heaven knows the summer is coming to an end, and life in the “fast lane” is about to start up again.”
It was in that moment of complaining that I caught myself. “Cindie Trieber, you have a BA!” Here I was getting a free roof, people to do the roofing for very low cost, no more leaks during the rainy days of winter, and I WAS COMPLAINING! I bowed my head and asked God to forgive me, asked the Holy Spirit to fill me, and started praising the Lord for His goodness in providing something that Bro. Trieber and I desperately needed for our house. This does not make me a good Christian or better than anyone reading this article, but it illustrates that we can, with the help of the Lord, control our attitudes.
Life throws us a curveball every now and again, and it’s not only a bowl of cherries but oftentimes, life is the pits! Things happen that are difficult, especially for us as women. We go through emotional changes, physical changes, and financial difficulties (I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a little more money in the bank account?); but, it is during those times we must rely upon the promises of God and the Holy Spirit to help us keep the right attitude.
Winston Churchill said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Harry S. Truman said, “The pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”
God’s Word says in Psalm 139:16, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Translation for me—He saw me before I was born, every day of my life is recorded in His book, and every moment is laid out before a single day has passed.
Check your attitude. You might have good reasons for having a “BA,” but we must learn to conquer our attitude every day for the rest of our lives. You can do this. I trust that you will.
God bless you,
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Born into a pastor’s home in Rockford, Illinois, Cindie (Swanson) Trieber has been in or around the Gospel ministry her entire life. She was married to Jack Trieber in 1972. For over 45 years of ministry, Mrs. Trieber has served in almost every capacity imaginable. Currently, the Triebers have three children and thirteen grandchildren.