It’s funny how you can’t ask difficult questions in a familiar place, how you have to stand back a few feet and see things in a new way before you realize nothing that is happening to you is normal. The trouble with you and me is we are used to what is happening to us. We grew into our lives like a kernel beneath the earth, never able to process the enigma of our composition…Nothing is normal. It is all rather odd, isn’t it, our eyes in our heads, our hands with five fingers, the capacity to understand beauty, to feel love, to feel pain.
-Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road
I’ve written little ‘tidbits’ about perspective in the past (Perspective 1, Perspective 2)… When I came across the above quote it just reminded me, again, of the many lessons I’ve learned, repeatedly, over the past year. One of the most recurring lessons has been nurturing a particular healthy perspective. There’s practical perspective. There’s logical perspective. I’ve been instilled all my life, through parenting and school, with practical and logical perspective – being able to reason out issues. Working out issues (often times with the input and help of others) comes naturally to me. I do it daily – in my job. But that only gets someone so far.
I think there’s this thing we could call “spiritual perspective”. When our hearts are set on Christ, and the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us, I think we receive this new perspective – a little glimpse at how God sees situations. The veil is slightly lifted. Like the quote says, sometimes, we need to step back – away from the situation – to see things in a different way. I think that’s exactly what happens when we are truly in Christ – we are a different person – so our perspective naturally changes.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. -Ephesians 4:22-24
This spiritual perspective is the perspective that is radical. This is the perspective that makes change that doesn’t look normal to the world. This is the perspective that disrupts our plans.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. -Colossians 3:1-4
This is the perspective where you actually treat others as more important than yourself.
This is the perspective that calls you to encourage and bring out the best in others no matter how it makes you look.
This is the perspective that seeks out and says yes to opportunities to serve where your comfort and control is laid down and the outcome is unknown.
This is the perspective that initiates conversations with people you don’t want to talk to because you might just have to actually continue to talk with them and they may just keep coming to you.
This is the perspective that sees those above mentioned conversations as gateways to ministry opportunities.
This is the perspective that doesn’t settle for the dangling fruit in front of you but, instead, purses a God-centered relationship – no matter how daunting it seems.
This is the perspective that doesn’t let you walk past a homeless person on a bench and not offer the food you just bought at the store, a kind word and prayer, or a smile and nod to let them know they actually do exist – rather than just looking down to the ground.
This is the perspective that understands why someone would let go of a relationship and their life here to pursue God’s call to a faraway land.
This is the perspective that understands you (or God) haven’t failed when things you’ve done with proper Godly motives don’t work out.
This is the perspective that recognizes the immense value of learning and growth through trial or pleasure.
This is the perspective that recognizes all the seemingly “small” things and sees, even just a bit, how they have been weaved together by God.
This is the perspective that recognizes a change in heart and gives praise to God for that – knowing it was only by His power that it was possible. (Ezekiel 36:26)
This is the perspective that sees a tickle of humor in God’s, seemingly ‘ironic’, plans (though we know there’s no irony w/ God)
This is the perspective that understands what “Lead me further than I’ve gone before. I will not fight You. I’m abandoned to Your call” means, practically, and places a desire on the heart to truly live that out.
This is the perspective that understands that they don’t understand everything that they want to understand that only God understands.
Perspective isn’t the end game
Perspective does not necessarily make life easy. Perspective doesn’t make you perfect – not even close. I’d even be so bold as to say a spiritual perspective makes life more difficult – because it doesn’t let you turn a blind eye to things that are right (or wrong). However, a healthy spiritual perspective, grounded on the truth of who God is and His promises, as found in His Word, recognizes that God is sovereign. With this perspective, we have hope in those promises. That hope brings joy – joy that satisfies like no other earthly thing can. We know that this life on earth is but a spec of dust in relation to an eternity in heaven. We know that our lives are supposed to give glory to our Creator. So live… and live well!
To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
I think about if who I am today were who I was a year ago how different this life may look – how different conversations would have gone. But with a proper perspective, I plainly see that who am I today would have never happened had that conversation not gone the way it did. Perspective doesn’t change the past. It changes how you view the past. It changes how you view your present. It changes your actions and heart moving forward.
God even if you don’t change the situation.. I need you to change me. God – thank you for changing me. Keep refining me. Keep me passionate about learning more of who You are. Keep building my character. Don’t let me slip up. Refine me so that I can do Your will and Your work. -November 2012.
Sometimes I jokingly wonder who I am anymore. Internally, I’ve done a complete 180. While I’ve been changed so much, in every area of life, on the outside too, I pray everyday to make that heart change even more apparent.
I like this guy. I like him a lot. 😉
All I know is that it’s less about me and more about the Holy Spirit working through me.
“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. -Hebrews 3:5-6
I’ve felt the tides shifting. There is something on the horizon. Whether big or small. I’m ready, with a heart abandoned. Let’s do this Your way. Not mine.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
I would chose adventure with hardship over no adventure at all. Every time.
(Use of the word ‘perspective’ = 35 times. HA)