Tuesday, July 17

Attitude

Amanda Parmley recently posted It's all about the 'tude, along with some great insights about her own struggle with attiude as a missionary overseas. In her post she quotes Charles Swindoll as saying...
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our Attitudes.” (Charles Swindoll)
Wise words. In all the ups and downs of life overseas, this is a great lesson I need to be reminded over and over. Living in a culture different from the values and "way of life" back home is a daily challenge. The tendency is to consider "our way" the better way. Our opinions the more accurate way of understanding the way things ought to be.

Most missionaries living overseas go through a difficult time of cultural transistion when arriving on the field. At first everything is an adventure. The differences in culture and language are seen through romantic lenses. Eating exotic foods is something you do to be able to write home and tell everyone "Today I ate _____." This is usually the experience of those coming for short term visits. However, it only takes a few weeks of actually living overseas before reality quickly settles in. Then everything is suddenly viewed as inferior, illogical, crazy, irritating, etc. Attitude issues shift into "overdrive" about EVERYTHING going on around you. The noisy neighborhood, the trash on the streets, the traffic, the dishonesty, the weird food, unresponsive people, the rudeness...practically everything in our host culture gets judged from our limited, skewed perspective.

Attitude is indeed 90% of the game. Those who deal with their attitudes about the differences in life overseas usually survive and go on to become fruitful missionaries. Those who can't or won't deal with their attitudes usually end up going home sick, defeated, depressed, or burned out. James Yorke gives some helpful advise, "The most successful people are those who are good at plan B." Plan B being a change in our own attitude.

When praying for missionaries, please remember to pray for our attitudes. Even though I have lived 31 years in Ecuador, I still have attitude issues on a daily basis.

18 comments:

Debbie Kaufman said...

This is why blogs such as yours and other missionaries are so important Guy. It lets those of us who are not missionaries realize the reality of choosing this field. I will be praying. I think I can relate this article and your post to my own life, I saw so much of myself in what you have written today. Thank you and keep writing on struggles such as this so that we can lift you up in prayer.

GuyMuse said...

Debbie,

Thanks for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. Yes, most of the article that I am quoting would apply to people anywhere, not just missionaries. Thanks for the continued praying for all of us M's out there dealing daily with our attitudes!

Anonymous said...

Awesome story on imb.org about a certain Guy Muse. Great to hear about your work among the Guayas Mestizo people. Keep seeking the Lord.

Thomas B

GuyMuse said...

Thomas B.,

Thanks for the heads up about the imb.org story, however, I couldn't find the story you are referring to. Do you have a link? I'd like to read what they've written up about our people group.

Geoff Baggett said...

Guy,

An awesome testimony!

In my cross-cultural communication class at Southern, Dr. David Sills (you should have crossed paths with him in Ecuador...) used to make us repeat at each class session,

"It's not dumb, it's not stupid, it's just different."

I have experienced the frustrations even during some of my short term experiences. I guess the most comical was when some of our local Christian friends (and local missionaries) took about 30 minutes to choose which type of "wieners" we would take on a church cookout in the mountains of Bulgaria. I thought some of my Kentucky folk were going to hand themselves!

So, I made them say with me ... "It's not dumb, it's not stupid, it's just different."

It IS all about the attitude.

Geoff Baggett said...

BTW, Guy -

Found the link for you.

:)

http://imb.org/main/news/details.asp?StoryID=5809

GuyMuse said...

Geoff,

Yes, of course we know David Sills. He was a missionary here for a number of years in a different region of the country but crossed paths many times. The most recent was a couple of years ago when he brought a group of students from Southern Seminary for a missions trip. Thanks for the link. It will probably become my next post, saving me the trouble of writing something new! :)

BIOGRAFÍAS said...

Guy, perdoneme el Off Topic
¡Que bueno que está quedando el blog!
Con este diseño y el ya conocido y rico contenido, creo que es uno de los mejores de la red.
Un abrazo afectuso
Dany

GuyMuse said...

Dany,

Me gusta tu buen ACTITUD en cuanto a nuestro humilde blog! Gracias por esas palabras de aliento, y que el Señor te continue bendiciendo.

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Guy,

When I wake up in the morning, it's usually with a good attitude. When I go on to breakfast and other important morning details, it's also with a good attitude. But then I have to leave the house....

Good words!

Billy Howard said...

Encontre su blog por medio de Robert Vaughn.

Señor que le des la actitud que necesita para ganar las almas de los que vivan en Ecuador! En el nombre de Jesus. Amen.

GuyMuse said...

Billy Howard,

Bienvenido al "M Blog" y gracias por esas palabras de aliento para seguir en el reto de ganar almas para Cristo aqui en el Ecuador. Visitenos siempre y esperamos verle mas por aqui. De donde eres?

GuyMuse said...

Kevin,

Me too! :)

GuyMuse said...

Kevin,

Your comment reminded me of a little prayer I ran across several years ago that goes like this...

DEAR LORD, SO FAR TODAY, GOD,
I'VE DONE ALL RIGHT. I HAVEN'T GOSSIPED,HAVEN'T LOST MY TEMPER,
HAVEN'T BEEN GREEDY, GRUMPY, OR NASTY, SELFISH OR OVER-INDULGENT.
I'M REALLY GLAD ABOUT THAT.

BUT, IN A FEW MINUTES, GOD,
I AM GOING TO GET OUT OF BED
AND FROM THEN ON I'M PROBABLY GOING TO NEED A LOT MORE HELP. AMEN.

Billy Howard said...

Soy de Arkansas y el pastor de Temple Baptist Church en Bald Knob.

Me gustaria saber mas de tu ministerio en Ecuador. Cuantas iglesias han empezado ahi? Tienen seminario ahi?

Que tengas muy buen dia!

Please email me at
Hispanicpbh@aol.com

antonio said...

Que chido, es el M Blog en español. En serio, tus comentarios son real para todos. Tengamos que tener cuidado en nuestros actitudes. Gracias por su humildad. Tu eres una bendición para nos.

GuyMuse said...

Billy,

Para conocer mas de nuestro ministerio le recomiendo que vaya a la columna derecha al fondo donde todos los posts estan listados por categoria. Escoja uno o mas temas segun su interes.

Antonio,

Tambien hablas el idioma del cielo? Debia de haberlo sospechado ya que obras en Mejico, pero tampoco te habia escuchado expresarte en Castellano!

antonio said...

Si claro no hay otra..jaja. tengo una amiga de Argentina..si habla diferente.