Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. Romans 12:2
The attitude you display and carry with you on a daily basis has a weighty impact on everything. Your attitude changes the atmosphere, the environment, and everything about your surroundings. It colors the way you view the world and how you interact with others. It even impacts how those you meet respond to you.
I was so excited about reaching my first duty station in the Air Force. I trained for nearly 2 years to be able to finally contribute to the mission. I worked hard, learned fast, and was soon qualified on my equipment and tasks. It was exciting, and I loved every bit of what I was doing. I even volunteered to transfer to another duty station overseas for the opportunity to do my job onboard aircraft—I wanted to earn my wings!
When I arrived, I found that my particular skills were little needed, and I was given additional duties in computer maintenance. I was discouraged and became bitter. I allowed that bitterness to take root inside and affect how I viewed my job. My attitude spiraled into a dark cloud and negativity became a comfortable friend. It was the voice inside my head telling me all the things that were wrong about life.
One of the trainers from my previous assignment transferred to my new unit about a year and a half after I arrived. He noticed my funk and cornered me one day. I’ll never forget how he challenged me; after 20 years I still remember the impact it had on my attitude. He asked what had happened to me and reminded me how I had been so positive at my last station. It was a wake-up call. I realized I had allowed my situation to determine my attitude. I’d chosen to let that grumbling outside voice become my inner dialogue, and it changed my attitude in the worst way possible—I became the one who was always grumbling and complaining. I sowed the seeds of negativity and reaped a harvest of unhappiness.
I chose that attitude. It was an act of my will. It was making me, and those around me, miserable. I needed to transform my heart (attitudes) and mind (thoughts). That transformation was not quick or easy—I found out it was a kingdom journey that continually brings me into the light and life of Jesus. In that journey, here are a few things I’ve learned…
There are two voices that are vying for our attention on this earth. One is powered by the world around us and reflects the thoughts, attitudes, opinions, and slogans of this life. They are powered by culture and popular belief, and they bombard our daily lives. Often it brings criticism, complaints, and negativity to cloud our daily experiences.
The other voice is heard in the stillness and quiet we must intentionally cultivate daily. It whispers encouragement and joy in our ear. This voice turns our eyes and thoughts to the beauty around us in nature and in others. It is often positive, upbeat, and joyful.
Look at the choices you make every day. Do they promote and bring joy and peace? Do you walk through your daily life with a spring in your step and a song on your lips? Or do you feel like you are walking through a dark cloud, constantly tired and overwhelmed? Do your choices reflect the voice of the world that surrounds us or the voice that brings joy and peace?
Listen to how those around you respond to you. Compare how they say you act and speak with how you think you act and speak. Are the things people saying about how you act and speak matching how you think you act and speak? What are others seeing about you that you need to see about yourself?
Your will, your choices, reflect the voice that speaks loudest to you. What we hear and internalize is what we repeat to ourselves and others. Whatever you allow into your heart, mind, and life is what will flow out of you in your daily encounters.
Challenge what you hear on a daily basis. Listen for the voice that impacts you the most. Choose the voice of Truth and fill your heart and mind with joy and peace. Refuse to internalize the negative. Speak life in every situation without ignoring the circumstances.
Rinse and Repeat
Make it a habit. Be intentional. Do it every day. Choose what you hear and what you speak. Choose the change and be transformed.
Learning to live a transformed life is a journey. The transformation comes in the process of learning to renew your heart and mind by listening to the quiet voice of Truth. Be intentional—be persistent. Be “more than meets the eye.”