Sometime back in the 1980’s rhythm and blues singer, Patti LaBelle, recorded a hit single on MCA Records called “New Attitude.” It shot up the charts and found its way into many film and television scores. The song is a tribute to the possibility of change, from the inside out.
With joyful gusto, Ms. LaBelle’s lyrics announce, “I’m feeling good from my hat to my shoe, Know where I’m goin’ and I know what to do, I’ve tidied up my point of view, I’ve got a new attitude.”
That classic tribute to the possibility for an attitude readjustment that reorients all of life came to mind recently. You see, we’ve been considering the necessity of getting our own new attitude. The host of tragedies our nation and our world underwent in 2017 threatens to leave us feeling deeply discouraged and even hopeless. Hurricanes did their worst, wild fires raged, deranged shooters killed without reason or remorse in Las Vegas and Colorado and Texas, and a terrorist truck driver mowed down innocent people in New York City. Wars are still waged, poverty stunts opportunity, domestic violence is rampant, around 10,000 children die of starvation in our world every single day, and despite the best efforts of researchers, disease carries away those we love.
Considering the world’s track record for heartbreak, the outlook for 2018, many would say, is bleak. But with a new year packed with three hundred and sixty-five days of possibility before us, we’re not willing to succumb to that fatalism just yet. Maybe we need a new attitude.
Rev. Charles R. Swindoll wrote intriguingly about the power of attitude. He claims, “Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do… The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
True, our attitude may not extinguish forest fires, change the path of a hurricane, unveil the cure for cancer, or soothe the violence that lurks in many human hearts. But then again, where else do we begin to work for the changes that will make our world a safe and joyful place for ourselves and our children? Didn’t every fresh idea that blossomed into reality, and every empowering dream for a better way start with someone’s hope-filled attitude?
God’s faithful people are encouraged repeatedly to consider the attitudes with which they engage the world around them. The Bible tells us over and over again to be not afraid, to be courageous, to be of good cheer, to be at peace, and to trust in God. God’s people are focused, positive people.
What might change for us all if we underwent an attitude adjustment this year? Maybe change really could happen from the inside out. We’re hopeful.