Taking Responsibility for Your Attitude

The summer of 2014, God led me to do The Love Dare to my husband. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this book, it was the subject of Kirk Cameron’s movie, Fireproof, which focused on godly marriage. Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick wrote The Love Dare to teach the Body of Christ what unconditional love looks like in practical ways.

I was shocked to learn that I could choose my attitude. Because I was so broken in childhood, I was used to being flooded with powerful negative emotions, which I allowed to drive my attitude. This process was on autopilot, so I assumed I had no control over it. I thought that if only I could stop experiencing negative emotions, then I could be in a good mood. That’s like the tail wagging the dog, as I learned through The Love Dare.

The truth is that we each choose our own attitude. I’ve seen people choose to be grouchy while surrounded by blessings while others choose to be pleasant despite enormous life difficulties. Our circumstances don’t have the power to dictate our reaction to them – that’s entirely up to us. Developing awareness that you get to choose your own attitude is the first step toward choosing a good one.

For example, my husband was on a plane that experienced one delay after the next before takeoff. While many of the passengers grew irritable, one gentleman remained calm and joyful. He was in the same situation as everyone else, and yet his circumstances did not bother him. He did not allow the delay to steal his joy. If our circumstances had the final word about attitude, then everyone in the same situation should react in the same way, but they don’t. Why not? Because attitude is a choice, not an inevitability. Let’s talk about how to do this.

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[Graphic: Cover of The Love Dare. Courtesy Amazon]

 

Grace’s Story: My “Love Dare” Experience

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As I continued working through Alex Kendrick’s and Stephen Kendrick’s book, The Love Dare, I had a HUGE epiphany: Did you know that we actually choose our bad moods and that we are selfish when we do? I seriously – from the bottom of my heart — did NOT know this! The notion that my bad mood was a choice that I had the power to “unchoose” was, quite literally, life changing for me!

I could write for days about all that I learned from this wonderful book. The Love Dare is a “must read” for all Christians, and doubly so for those who are married. The lessons I learned from The Love Dare apply to every relationship in my life – my friendships, work colleagues, family, and everyone else. So, even if you are single, this book can still transform your life. Actually, to be precise, God can transform your life through your obedience to God through the activities explained in this book.

As happened in the movie, as I neared the end of the book, God opened my eyes to how incredibly selfish I was in my marriage. This was a humbling realization. I saw my husband – and my marriage – through different eyes. By the time I reached Day 40, I went back and completed every “homework assignment” I had skipped because I wanted to express unconditional love to my husband.

Just as happened with Kirk Cameron’s character in the movie, Fireproof, The Love Dare changed my marriage and my life! It’s been 2-1/2 years since I “did the love dare,” and my husband and I have never been happier! As I humbled myself in obedience to God, He changed my heart. As God transformed me, He transformed my marriage, and the transformation of our marriage transformed my husband. As a direct result of “doing the love dare,” the relationships between God and me, God and my husband, and my husband and me all changed in wonderful ways!

If you are feeling hopeless in your marriage, do NOT give up. Just as God can bring life to dry bones, he can resurrect a dead marriage. But you have to do it God’s way because His way actually works! Start living I Cor. 13 in your marriage, and watch God’s resurrection power breathe life back into it.

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[Graphic: Cover of The Love Dare. Courtesy Amazon.com.]

Grace’s Story: Drawn to the Movie “Fireproof”

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While God continued transforming me a little at a time through forgiving my abusers, He drew me to the movie Fireproof, written by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. For those of you who have not seen the movie, it stars Kirk Cameron as a fireman named Caleb whose marriage is falling apart. His wife tells him that she wants a divorce at the beginning of the movie. Caleb’s father asks him to delay the divorce for 40 days and sends him a “love dare” by mail.

The “love dare” is a 40-day exploration of unconditional love as defined by I Cor. 13. The “love dare” walked Caleb through how to express unconditional love to his spouse in tangible ways, such as by refraining from saying anything negative to her, doing thoughtful things for her, and removing anything harmful to the marriage (such as Caleb’s interest in pornography over the computer).

While Caleb is resistant to the “love dare” at first, he pushes through and finds himself transformed by the end of the 40 days. The transformation of Caleb, in turn, transforms his marriage, which transforms his wife. By the end of the movie, the couple is in love again with God at the center of their marriage.

I didn’t know why I was so drawn to this movie. I thought it was more about trying to understand unconditional love, which was something I had never experienced until my one-on-one time with God, but certainly not with another person. I had no interest in “doing the love dare” to my husband. After all, I could only see the speck of sawdust in his eye, not the forest of planks in my own eye. I was certain that I was not to blame for anything wrong in my marriage.

Because this obsession with the movie would not stop, I decided to buy Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick’s book, The Love Dare, and see what I could learn about unconditional love. I had no interest, much less a plan, to “do the love dare” to my husband.

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[Graphic: Cover of the movie Fireproof. Courtesy Amazon.com.]