Wednesday, July 14, 2010
It's All About Perspective
There are seasons in life where our perspective needs to change.
Most of the time, I see life through the lens of my circumstance needing to change. Almost daily the thought goes through my head, "If only [this situation] was different, I would be so much more [fill in the blank here]." And most of the time, my circumstance does not change. If it does, it happens a long time after I needed it to. When we go through times like this, we often blame God. We question our faith, we wonder if He has forgotten us, we feel abandoned. We rarely think, "Ah, maybe I am the problem here! Maybe my perspective is what actually needs to change!" Then we start rationalizing how we feel - "God wants me to be happy, therefore He will cause my situation to change so that I can be happy!" - never thinking, "Maybe He wants me to be happy IN this situation I'm in." We think, "God created me this way. He made me want to [insert idea here]." We never think, "Maybe God wants me to do something different with my life than what I thought I was going to do." So, our frustration mounts against God and we draw a line in the sand - it's us against Him. He must be doing something wrong, and that's why we are unhappy.
This scenario has repeated itself many times in my life.
When we haven't had money, I have often blamed God. "You said you'd provide for us, huh?!" "Well, why aren't You doing it now?" Instead of changing my perspective: maybe I was not handling my money the way He wanted me to in the first place. Maybe I wasn't wise with how I spent the money He gave me, and convinced myself I needed things I didn't really need.
When a relationship went sour, I have often prayed for the other person. "God, please deal with that person's heart. Convict them, Lord. Please convict them." Instead of praying for myself - "God, please show me if I did anything wrong in this relationship. Help me to focus on myself and getting my heart right before you. Change my heart."
When my husband was out of work, I have often held a grudge against God. "How could you do this to us? If you were faithful, we wouldn't be in this situation." Instead of, "God, you seem to be leading us in a new direction. Teach us what we need to learn in this season. Help us to be wise. Provide for our needs. Help us to be patient until you open the right door."
As I look in the Bible, I read story after story about people whose circumstances rarely changed, yet who were challenged to change their perspective.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation..." (Philippians 4:12)
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thess. 5: 18)
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." (I Timothy 6:6)
Then again, I believe there are times in life where our circumstances genuinely need to change. The problem we are faced with is determining whether it is our circumstances or our perspective that needs to change. Here are some thoughts I have about this:
-If your situation can be changed, then change your situation.
(We sometimes convince ourselves that our situation cannot be changed when it really can; it just takes some hard choices). Are you complaining daily about your job, waiting for God to "rescue" you? It may mean leaving it and working hard to find a new one. If you choose to stay, change your perspective!
-If your situation cannot be changed, then change your perspective.
Maybe you are dealing with an illness, or have been affected by someone else's choices. Those are things you cannot change, which means we have to choose to change our perspective.
-If you don't know if your situation will change, then change your perspective.
Ask some Godly friends for guidance. If you need to make a big decision, it is helpful to have other people praying with you. Get some wise input on your situation, and then determine if it can be changed or not. If you have to wait on God for an answer or for a door to open/close, then change your perspective.
Knowing we need to change our perspective is harder than actually doing it. Here are some tips for that:
- Get in the Word. Daily. It is really the only thing that will continually remind us to change our perspective and see things from God's point of view.
-Stop praying for God to change your circumstance, and instead ask him to change your perspective. If He wants to change your circumstance, He will.
-Examine your life to see if you are making any bad choices. Bad choices often lead to sin, which lead to unhappiness, which also lead to not being able to hear from God. This all affects our circumstances and our perspective.
-Surround yourself with Godly people. People who can encourage you and support you, and remind you of God's perspective.
Today I am challenging myself to change my thinking. Instead of thinking about how I can change the situation I'm in, I am instead going to thank God for that area, and try to change my perspective about it.