A healthy attitude

by Marilyn Mathis

Victor Fankl, a Viennese Jew, was interned by the Germans for more than three years. He was moved from one concentration camp to another, even spending several months at Auschwitz.

Later he wrote these words in “Man’s Search for Meaning”:

“The experience of camp life shows that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, in independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical distress.

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”


Patsy Clairmont, a Christian speaker and writer, defines attitude as “sportin’ a ‘tude.”

Attitude is our mental position in any circumstance. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks, so he is.” Our thoughts determine our attitude and actions. So, what’s on your mind? You are free to choose how you think and what you think about at any given time.

Jeremiah, the prophet, was pressed to the point of despair. In Lamentations 3:20 he speaks these words, “My soul remembers and is bowed down within me.” He is remembering, thinking about some painful, distressing things, and his attitude is affected. He is “bowed down.” Then he makes a choice to change his frame of mind, to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

“This I recall (choice) to mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23). The prophet chose to change his focus, his outlook. He began to:

LOOK BACK — recalling the goodness of God.

LOOK UP — in praise to God for His love, compassion and His faithfulness.

LOOK FORWARD — in confidence and hope. He was “confident that God who had begun a good work in him would complete it” (Philippians 1:6) and “therefore I have hope in Him” (3:24).

Like Jeremiah, we need to take charge of our thoughts. HOW?

Colossians 3:2: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Make the choice to fix your thoughts on Christ and pleasing Him.

Psalms 101:3: “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.” Monitor what you watch, read and listen to. Remember: “Garbage in, garbage out!”

Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Don’t think like the world, but have the mind of Christ. Renewing means to “fill up with a fresh supply.” To change, or take captive, my thoughts, I MUST fill my mind each day with a fresh supply of His thoughts from His Word.

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. “Well, she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did, and she had a wonderful day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. “Hmm,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did, and she had a wonderful day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only one hair on her head. “Well,” she said, “today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.” So she did, and she had
a wonderful day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “Yay!” she exclaimed. “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”



A Conway resident, Marilyn Mathis is a wife, mother, Nana and teaching leader for First Wednesday Lunch Break. Readers can reach her at [email protected].