Ever have an “Aha!” moment, where you suddenly go from being confused or unsure to “Aha! Now I get it!”  “It makes sense now.” How about a “Wow!” moment where you are going through your day a little frustrated or annoyed even angry and then something happens and your whole outlook changes almost instantly from negative to positive, from  self-centered to other-centered?

It is easy for me to find myself sitting as if at a gate in an airport preoccupied with “me” and agitated at the people around me or at some circumstance I am in.  I might even admit that I am sitting at that gate or circumstance while being angry at God.

I had an “Aha” or “Wow” moment a while back. It was late in the afternoon of July 3rd in an airport in Nashville, Tennessee.  On that day I had flown down to Nashville to pick up my Mom and bring her back by return flight that same day so she could visit with us for the month of July.  What I want you to know is that due to all the thunderstorm activity in the Midwest it was not a good day for flying (delays and cancellations all over).  As I was driving down highway 90 toward O’Hare Airport near Chicago, at about 5:30 in the morning, I saw a problem.  Off to my left was the beautiful orange sun rising over the horizon, but off to the right where O’Hare is I could see that it was still very dark and lightning was flashing.  Not a good sign.  Sure enough my 7am  flight to Nashville had been cancelled just as I got to the airport.  I was able to get on another flight about 10 am, but we were quite late getting off because of scheduling changes (and they couldn’t find their first officer). It was going to be a very long day.  And later, in the Nashville Airport, when I learned that the turnaround flight at 4pm was being delayed because the incoming plane was going to be late I was not a happy camper…or flyer.  The longer we waited the less content I became and the more I began to feel agitated and the less tolerance I had for people around me.

Then something happened that totally and quickly changed my attitude and outlook as well as the attitudes of those also waiting in an agitated state.  I was sitting in a row of seats that looked directly at the gate door and the area where people would exit the plane.  Quietly and without anyone noticing her doing so, a young mom in her 20’s along with her two children appeared about 20 or so feet in front of the exit door to wait for someone’s arrival.  In her arms was her small toddler son holding a small American flag. Standing in front of her was her 4 or 5-year-old daughter holding a sign that read: “Welcome home Daddy!”  All three had their eyes glued to the gate door…waiting for the moment they had longed for, prayed for and hoped for.  A hush came over the crowd as we all began to realize that we were about to witness a reunion of a soldier coming back from the war a reunion with his wife and children. The crowd, which a moment before had been angry, agitated, and complaining had become quiet and silent with anticipation.  Hardened hearts were now soft… eyes that were tense were now moist.  Then it happened!  The door opened and out came about eight soldiers in their cammie uniforms & desert boots including the husband and daddy who embraced his wife and children for the first time in over a year.  The crowd erupted into applause… a standing ovation … as we watched a beautiful reunion of husband and wife, father and children…. and other men returning from the war alive.  It was “Aha!” (Now I get it).  It was  “Wow!”  All the anger, confusion and the aggravation of the day was gone, and life felt good again. 

Why the change?  The plane was still late.  The flight was still delayed in fact longer than before. Our circumstances hadn’t changed, but we had.  Something changed within us that changed how we experienced life around us.

ANSWER:  We saw something that was good in the midst of a difficult situation and our attitudes changed. What had changed?  First our focus, then our attitudes.

Too often I and other people are sitting at some gate or circumstance in  life…preoccupied with ourselves and agitated at the people around us or the circumstance we find themselves in, maybe even angry at God.

A very wise man, the Apostle Paul, once said,
6“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
9 Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
Philippians 4:6-9

Fix your focus and your attitude will follow.

And you too will have an “Aha!” and “Wow!” moment no matter what the day brings.

Attitude Indicator

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