The Power of Perspective

February 5, 2014

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We recently had guests visit the nation we serve in. It’s always refreshing to see and hear things through other people’s eyes. It engages us in the power of perspective.

  • Perspective has the power to re-center.
  • Perspective tears down tunnel vision.
  • Perspective lifts up our head and helps us to look outward.

Our default mode is to focus on ourselves and our situations. The longer we do this, we can begin to magnify things. If these are negative forces, we can eventually lose the plot.

We can zero in on various testings and trials we face.

  • Issues with our children.
  • Frustration with our job or our co-workers
  • Comparison of our spouse with another.
  • Anger towards our government and whatever issue pushes our buttons.
  • Discontent with our local church.

Left to our own devices, we often stew on these issues, spiraling deeper and deeper into the negative emotion.

How can we maintain regular doses of perspective in order to re-center us and stop the spiral?

Let’s consider a few of the above mentioned scenarios:

Family: If you find yourself growing agitated with your children, volunteer to watch other people’s children. Often when I am around other kids, even good ones, I realize just how awesome my boys are.

Work: There is no perfect job which does not have politics or annoyances. The faster we realize this, the better. When I travel to other branches or campuses of the organization I serve with, I come home so grateful to serve where I do. Again, not because the others are bad, but I am reminded once again why I love the location I work at.

Marriage:  This one is a bit trickier. I would not advise looking at other positive traits as a means of comparison. But, what if instead of dwelling on the inevitable annoyances that come with marriage, we noticed all the things our spouse does not do which we observe in other couples. Its kind of a backwards way to see the positive. The more you see the positive, the less you will need perspective. Focus on the things you love more than those which annoy or irritate. Stay off the negative path!

Government.  This one is easy. Get on a plane or a bus and go to another country. There are plenty of leaders and nations who will quickly help your gratitude for your own country and government to return. When you are experiencing tunnel vision towards your country, take a long look at another. It brings perspective.

Church. You’ve heard it said, if you want the perfect church, don’t join the one you are considering. Let it alone! Rather than nitpick on details, it helps to focus on the vision and the mission of the church. Ask yourself how you can participate rather than merely consume. Serving gives us perspective and often helps us see the bigger picture.

Perspective is a powerful thing which we all need. It helps us endure, make wise decisions rather than rash ones, and at its core; helps us to enjoy life rather than complaining all the time.

Make sure to keep these processes inward or only shared with someone close to you like a spouse or accountability partner. Engage in these as a means of shifting your perspective, not criticism and judgment.

I suppose this is another way to challenge ourselves to be grateful, by realizing just how good we have it. No matter how bad it is, someone has it worse. We have much to be thankful for.

Let’s use the power of perspective to bring greater levels of gratitude in our lives.

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God