Looking out the window of our flat here in South Africa I can see the Indian Ocean. This mighty huge body of water is third in the world after the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. What a glorious sight on most days, always different and always the same in its shades of azure blue, sapphire green, and stormy gray.
I could focus on that the sea-mist coats our car and windows and corrodes anything metal in our apartment, that we have to be on guard for monkeys that would raid looking for food, but I choose to think on the joys.
I can hear the distant waves incessantly crashing upon the shore, and I treasure the sight of it when we have been working hard in different places and return home. It is like a balm to see the water again. Always different and always the same.
My worldview is my set of core beliefs that clarify and color everything else. If I don’t really believe there is a God, that will shape my moral reasoning, my politics, my view of authority, my ideals in economics, my value of human life and the environment, the use of technology, and so on.
But even if I am a believer in God and a follower of Jesus Christ, I can harbor some deep error inside my soul where, despite what I and others say I formally believe, I really believe 1) that God is far away, 2) that He doesn’t listen and doesn’t care, 3) that He is busy with more valuable people, and 4) that He is committed to punish me ten-fold for my past.
Choice of Perspective
A right perspective of my circumstances begins with a right perspective of how close, loving, and committed my God is to me. If I go through a hardship and I look up and see God focused on me with two thumbs up and a smile, I may wonder what He is up to … but there is no doubt that I have His full attention and that He has some purposeful design in my circumstances.
If my perspective about God’s presence, love and commitment to me is wrong, it is like rubbing limburger cheese under my nose – the whole world smells awful! I may say “I’m just being a realist. I’m just saying the way things are.” But I am only looking at reality on one level – the physical, earthly level. My perspective is “under the circumstances,” highlighting a low-level reality that totally misses heaven’s perspective.
“Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude is a key component to joy.”
Ever hear two people describe the same event in very different ways? People focus on different things, and see the same things differently. Negative people see all the faults. Positive people see the bad but search for and focus on the good and profitable things. Many notice a mixture of both. The way you perceive the view out the window of your life is more of a choice than you think.
You can program your brain what to look for. When a “search for good” pattern has been forged, it begins to happen automatically. Isn’t it interesting that you can meet a person who has gone through extraordinary difficulties and is still cheerful and radiating hope? If in your occupation your job is to find errors, it may be hard for you to disengage that pattern and instead find joys. Keep trying!
What Do You See?
So….did you see the duck or the rabbit first? Our brains are amazing. We can look at the exact same picture and see two different things!!! The same is true for you and me when viewing our circumstances. We can live “under the circumstances” or we can use the wings of God’s promises to soar up above the storm for a few moments to get heaven’s perspective. Sifting through the pain, trauma, and pressure, we can find so many things to think thanks about.
So here comes a challenge to you. What is a hard thing in your life right now? Could you think of three things that you could think thanks about concerning that hard thing? I would love to hear from you if you are so inclined.
Think thanks about the view out your window today.