So many circumstances this past week have settled into the area of “Perspective” ~ the way we see things. How we view a person or a situation all depends upon where we are and what emotions and ideas we’ve got going on at the moment. We see what we want to at times, and completely miss what we need to be seeing at others.
Our youngest daughter, Sierra, is part of my “perspective” lesson this week.
Yep ~ we’ve crossed the proverbial bridge leading to vehicular freedom and the driving lessons have begun. Sierra is proving to her Dad and I that she is a very good driver, but that doesn’t mean that I’m ready to jump on the freeway with her behind the wheel. I want a few more rides around the city on surface streets under our belt before we venture onto the SoCal freeway system. It’s not that I don’t trust her….I don’t trust the rest of the folks out there to be kind to my new driver! In her perspective, I’m being a little silly because one day I’m going to have to let her get on the freeway, with me in the passenger seat, but not today!
How about the way we view “tech” conversations? Our perspective is centered on our current mood, on our last interaction with this person, with the phrasing they use, etc. Even using those cute little emoticons ~ you try and put the smiley face up there after writing something to make sure that the recipient knows you are in a good mood, but that doesn’t always cover it, does it? My husband is incredibly aware of my propensity to add in tone and attitude when I read a text message or an email ~ please tell me that I’m not alone here people!! He’ll give me a sly smile and say, “Really? You got ALL that from the text?” And this is why God blessed me with this man ~ he keeps my perspective grounded in reality….well, as much as he can anyway. It ain’t for a lack of trying! 🙂
In a previous blog, I mentioned two great bible studies that I’m currently participating in and I love this quote from Mary Kassian’s “Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech” (p. 111), “True understanding is based on one thing and one thing only: knowledge of God.”1
Oh to remember this FIRST in all situations and conversations, and I think we would all save ourselves and loved ones a great many arguments and disagreements. I know I most certainly would!
The dictionary origins of the word ‘perspective’ says this: past participle stem of perspicere to look at closely (see per-, inspect ) + –īvus ive; per ~ a prefix meaning “through,” “thoroughly,” “utterly,” “very”:; inspect ~ 1.to look carefully at or over; view closely and critically: 2. to view or examine formally or officially; and ive ~ a suffix of adjectives (and nouns of adjectival origin) expressing tendency, disposition, function, connection, etc.:2
So here’s the “René definition” ~ Perspective: to examine a situation carefully through expressive connected-ness.
And this points us right back to the quote I mentioned above about the importance of deciphering everything through the lens of God’s truth. True perspective is when we are intentionally connected to the person or circumstance we find our self in, weaving in the truth and knowledge that we have from God’s Word, in order to experience the reality of meaningful facts and relevant data.
Yesterday in church was another opportunity God gave me to understand ‘perspective.’ Knowing I would need to leave right before the service ended to go outside to help with some Women’s Events sign ups, I wanted to sit in the back on the aisle. My perspective told me this would be the most efficient place to sit. However, I did not take into consideration the man with the hat…who was seated in front of me. He was there first yet I had the ridiculous audacity to be irritated that I had to move my head from side to side depending on how he moved his head from side to side, so that I could see the front where the choir stood and where our Pastor would eventually stand. My husband offered to switch with me but I didn’t want to inconvenience him…how thoughtful of me, right? So, the man with the hat and I did our little head-bobbing dance ~ and he knew nothing about it.
Thankfully, the congregation prayer that morning, led by one of our Elders, encouraged us to pray for specific points. One of which being, to pray for the person(s) we met during the greeting time. Well, we had arrived late and missed that part. In His wonderful still small voice, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Why don’t you pray for the man with the hat in front of you. He belongs to me and he wants to be here as much as you do.” The Lord was using gentle conviction to change my perspective. The Holy Spirit softened my heart about the man in front of me and as I prayed for him, I stopped caring about the “head-bobbing” dance we would continue throughout the service.
The reality ~ he was a loved child of God, a son, a man desiring to be in the presence of His Savior and learn more about Him from pastoral teaching. I’m thankful for this change in perspective yesterday too. It meant I could concentrate on the message God had given our pastor, to learn more about who God is and to leave with a fuller knowledge of how God intends for me to live. The enemy wanted to distort my perspective and make me miss the importance of the message.
I Corinthians 1:26-27 (HCSB) says, “Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
Human perspective is not a reliable measure against what is pleasing and acceptable in God’s eyes. It gets in the way and causes us to become tempted to act pridefully, have a need for control, and with an attitude of entitlement. Worldly wisdom declares this is the only way to act; which shows they do not have God’s truth in them. Am I saying that we walk around like zombies without a thought or opinion in our head? NO! God has given us a great propensity for seeking wisdom and knowledge, requiring us to base our choices in HIM and not in the world. When we resist the temptation to fight back against an attack or share our witty (and usually sarcastic comment) with someone who ‘needs” to hear it, we are not seizing the victory in Christ that is already ours. We do not have to attempt to be powerful and wise in order for others to listen ~ that my friends, is exhausting! God calls us to be strong and wise IN HIM; to perceive our life perspective through the lens of God’s truth.
Here’s one the best parts ~ II Peter 1:1-4, encourages us that when we do seek the Word for knowledge, we are freely given grace and peace! Who doesn’t yearn for those attributes? I know I do!!
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
And not just a little bit of grace and mercy! The Lord wants to multiply the grace and peace in our life as we follow His truths and guidelines. The freedom to join with the Lord, to be bonded to Him, to have our salvation through Him; these are the perfect perspectives He has granted us. We have not done anything, nor can we, to deserve His grace ~ He freely gave it to us.
But He has given us a choice.
Do we accept His gift or do we continue to strive through life struggling to make things happen how we desire them to? One way works ~ the other way never will. Let’s choose to walk in the perspective of God’s truth, of His grace and mercy, and pursue peace in all areas of our life!