Saturday, August 22, 2015

Perspective: Putting on New Glasses

I recently had an eye exam. I'm happy to report there was very little change in my vision for the last few years. I'm happy for one reason in particular--I don't have to spend any money on new glasses!

As we get older our vision will change more frequently. Regular exams can detect these changes and with those changes come those annoying expenses and question. Does anyone else get frustrated with the quick flip of the lenses and the repeated questions? "Which is better...This one or this one?" Sometimes there's a clear difference and other times I can't tell a difference at all! Often my eyes are still adjusting to the quick changes so I just have to take my time and hope the technician is patient.

Regular eye exams can also detect other potential problems in areas of the eye that we cannot see on the surface. It takes special tools and training to see these places in the back of the eye and to recognize the problem.

This all leads me to the topic of perspective. I wrote about Perspective a few years ago but it was in a different context. I was thinking about perspective again a few weeks ago, but I didn't have time to really delve into it. However, since that time I've done some thinking about it and discussed it with a friend. Here's the definition of the way I'm using it:

The origin of this word indicates that it actually means from the "science of optics" or "to look closely at."

When I put on my eyeglasses I can get a clearer view of what I'm looking at. Without the glasses, I can still see but my perspective is different. Things are a little fuzzy and it takes a little straining to see.

The same applies to our perspective on life. We all have these special glasses with which we view life. Our special glasses are formed from the time we are born and continually shaped by our environment. Our parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends all have a hand in shaping these glasses and give us a unique perspective on everything. Therefore, when we look at a particular issue it's always through the perspective of our own special glasses (experiences). In addition to people, our education and faith also help form these special glasses.

In this day and age in which we as a society seem to be offended about everything, it might help us to get an "eye exam" to correct or confirm our perspective. We should ask ourselves are few questions:

  • What lens am I using to look at this particular problem? Am I looking at this problem through the eyes of my family or past experiences? Or am I looking at it through God's eyes? Sometimes I have to ask God to show me what's going on from His perspective. The Bible is one way to find out what He thinks.
  • Should I take off this lens and put on another pair of eyeglasses? Maybe I need to see this situation through another person's lenses to understand or maybe I need a new prescription!
  • Have I looked at this situation so long that I no longer clearly see what's happening? Have you ever driven the same route day after day and not noticed something? Then one day you're in the car while someone else is driving and you have more time to casually look around. Suddenly you notice a building you hadn't noticed before. Then you ask how long it's been there and find out it's been there for three years! Sometimes it takes stepping back from a situation to see what's right in front of us.

Just like my visits to the eye doctor can help detect potential changes or problems, I need to continue to examine my own perspectives on life. I can't always assume that my viewpoint is correct because that's the way I've always believed it to be. I need to be willing to humble myself and listen to other perspectives while always running those through Scripture to find out what God thinks. Sometimes I will find that it's time to put on some new glasses!

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!  
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. 
Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. 
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  
Then you will experience God’s peace, 
which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, 
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—
everything you heard from me and saw me doing. 
Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-9

Faithfully yours,