When three different people send you the same link to listen to, you’ve got to take the hint that this is something you need to hear. For me, it was this message by life coach Ben Crowe as he talks about leadership and living during these uncertain times.
One key word he emphasises is that of perspective. Perspective is the way we interpret what’s happening around us and, depending on our perspective, this can make or break us in any given situation. Our perspectives shape us: how we think, how we react, how we engage with people, how we behave every day. Perspective can create opportunities for growth and improvement, or it can stunt our progress and restrict us.
The words we utter and the thoughts we entertain give us clues as to what perspective we have. If your perspective leans to the negative, you may not even be aware of it. But negative thinking and having little perspective can influence how you live life and keep you from getting the best out of it.
A negative perspective or mindset utters phrases such as, ‘I can’t’, ‘I will never’, ‘I could never’, ‘That always happens to me’, ‘That is not possible’, ‘That is not fair’. Thinking like this is negative, limiting and reactive. It encourages us to only see the bad in others and in situations.
On the other hand, an optimistic perspective says, ‘I can’, ‘I will’, ‘It will be okay’, ‘Let’s keep going’, ‘Let’s try again’, ‘We can do this together’. This attitude is positive, overcoming. It is responsive and proactive, choosing to hunt for the good in the situation and in others.
This situation we currently find ourselves in has certainly brought out the worst in people – we’ve seen that reflected in situations such as the toilet paper hoarding, reactions of anger and entitlement, blame, racism and criticism. It has also brought out the best in humankind as we have seen demonstrated by beautiful gestures of gratitude, kindness, empathy and compassion.
God has a totally different perspective than us. His challenge for us is to align our perspective with His, to view this situation from His vantage point. This involves changing how we think, trusting in God, having an altered perspective of His faithfulness, to be more aware of His greatness as opposed what the world may say of our own limitations. Changing to this way of thinking sets us on a new road that trusts more, dares more, loves more and lives more fully.
So instead of asking God to change circumstances for us, maybe we need to ask Him to change the way we view the situation. We won’t often have control of situations in life, but we will have control over our perspective and our response.
‘God’s perspective on us is remarkable, almost unbelievable. He delights in us and loves us as a caring Father. He’s running toward us, ready to embrace and forgive us. He’s for us in all the pain of life and can sustain us in every challenge. As I learn to see from God’s perspective, my perspective on everything else shifts. I realize that my failures don’t disqualify me. I’m aware of the security I already have in God’s grace. I trust that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ.’ – Jud Wilhite
This is God’s truth for us all.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:6–8
Janine de Paiva
Junior School Chaplain