WHAT GLASSES ARE YOU LOOKING THROUGH? The word I keep getting insight on and sharing with others in 2015 is PERSPECTIVE. Each day, every circumstance, our thoughts and our encounters with others are viewed and influenced by the perspective we have.
A well-known expression is “looking through rose colored glasses”, referring to a cheerful or optimistic view of things. Another common idiom used to explain how people perceive their situation is whether they see “the glass half empty or half full”. I have learned through experience and observation that it isn’t a matter of ignoring reality or being an ostrich- what matters is the perspective you are viewing life from, which actually starts in your heart.
Your heart leads what glasses or perspective you view things through. Depending on what that frame of reference is, you think a certain way, feel a certain way and respond a certain way. You can find two people with the exact same circumstances who view it and respond to it in very different ways. As a social worker and bereavement coordinator, I have witnessed completely different perception and responses to the same situation.
If you are facing difficulties, disappointments and struggles and that is what you focus on, you will likely be negative, depressed, overwhelmed etc. At the same time, if you CHOOSE not to FOCUS on the problem but to find hope from God and believe there is a solution, that things will improve and you purpose to be grateful for the blessings you do have, your response and feelings will follow in a much more positive, pro-active way. You may not SEE the solution but in your heart, you believe that God does have one. This is a choice only you can make and it impacts everything.
During a difficult season of my life problems and losses seemed to come one after another like ocean waves, so that it was difficult to catch my breath, let alone look up. I found that my focus and my prayers were centered primarily on those problems. I was weary and overwhelmed but seemed incapable of reaching a place of total trust in God and surrender to God. I was struggling to just survive and function so rest or victory was elusive.
Everything came to a head when I learned just before Christmas that we had lost a property (left to me by my first husband) in a tax sale. The twenty-five year battle to manage it until it could be sold was over. This loss included over $250,000 personally invested over those years from life insurance, loans etc. This money was intended to be our retirement fund when the property sold. Our future looked bleak and I stood trying to gaze into my future but feeling hopeless. I found myself asking God “Is this all there is?” I was so overwhelmed with weariness, disappointed, and hopelessness that I felt I might fall apart.
Thankfully some dear friends ministered to me and helped me to release and surrender some things I was carrying responsibility for that were not really mine to manage. They helped me to recognize that I needed to take more care of myself and my needs so that I could function well. They helped to identify some schemes of the enemy designed to discourage and weaken me. I felt my vision clear and hope rise up again.
Trying to get God’s perspective and see our circumstances in light of eternity enables us to look through a heart and eyes filled with the hope that we can have only through our relationship with God. Eternal perspective helps us focus on the big picture, what will have lasting value as opposed to what is temporary and will not matter in years to come. 2 Corinthians 4:18(NASB) tells us” while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal”. Realizing that the great loss of money we invested will not really have any impact in eternity helped me to accept the loss and release it. I think that it is likely Adam and Eve had a complete eternal perspective but it was overcome by worldly view when they ate the apple.
Another difference in perspective that is very evident in our culture today is the Christian world view vs humanism. A Christian world view is based on the Bible, believing it is infallible and true and therefore it is the basis of all that you say and do. America was founded on a Christian worldview and it permeated our culture until the 1960s, when moral absolutes and ethical values began to be discarded and cultural changes such as removal of prayer in schools, legalization of abortion and changes in sexual mores became the norm. Humanism, on the other hand, is defined by Merriam Webster as a way of life centered on human interests or values and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason. This has become more prevalent and has increasing impact on worldview, accepted behavior, and laws in our country. It is very difficult to hold a dialogue between individuals with these two different perspectives because the framework of thinking and value system are so vastly different.
Lastly, there is the difference of how God sees people and how we may view one another. Jesus always looked through eyes of love. That did not mean that He accepted or condoned sin; but He spoke with love and saw the potential in others if they were willing to repent, change their ways and follow Him. We often pray to see what He sees. This would mean looking through the lenses of love and compassion, speaking that way, and encouraging others to be who God created them to be.
What do you think your perspective in life is? Has it changed? How has it affected your decisions and relationships?
We may want to consider this verse Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”.