Hello friends . . . grace and peace,
I am writing this on the First Day of Spring. It's currently sunny and 43 degrees outside. The high is supposed to be 53 today. Everyone is commenting on "how nice it is today". Only in March in Wisconsin do you hear people say, "It's so warm . . . it's FOURTY-THREE!!"
This brings me to a word that has been making me think recently: Perspective.
Because, let's be honest . . . 43 isn't warm. Of course, if you're coming off of a 4-month span of snow, ice, and frigid temps then, yes, 43 is a heat wave! But if the temperature hits 43 degrees on September 8 this fall, not a soul will be saying, “It's so warm!” Rather, we'll be bundled up and turning up our furnaces or throwing another log on the fire.
Perspective is important, isn't it?
None of us have the best perspective. Some of us believe that we do (and on the days I'm feeling shallow and self-centered, I include myself). But if we can take a step back we begin to recognize that our perspective is just that . . . it's ours. It's ours and ours alone. The way in which I see and experience things is truly unique, because no on else in the world sees things from my perspective, my eyes, my ears, my life circumstances. And to think that my perspective on things is better than others or The Best perspective, well that's pretty much the textbook definition of narcissism.
When it comes to a life of faith, and our attempts to live our lives well with God and well with others, there is really only one perspective that matters, and that is, of course, God's Perspective. The trick is, none of us will ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have even a fraction of understanding God's Perspective. As in, we can't. We lack the capacity to do so. Our ways are not God's ways, nor are our thoughts God's thoughts (paraphrase of Isaiah 55).
So, what do we do? How can we begin a process of humbly attempting to learn and live the Jesus Way and participate in Jesus' Agenda?
I can only speak from my own personal perspective and experience . . . the thing that has impacted me most in attempting to discern these things is to get together with people who have different perspectives that I do and listen to them. I have to work VERY hard to resist the temptation to throw in my two cents, or share a story from my life that I was reminded of when they were sharing stories from their life. I try and ask questions. I try and listen and ask follow up questions when they answer my questions. I try and gain a bit of their perspective.
I am not very good at this. I am trying hard. But it's a lot of work. It's a whole lot easier to fall back into bad habits and just attempt to make sure that I share what I want to share. But that's the problem. I want to share what I WANT to share. I make it about me and not about the other person.
Because for me, today, 43 is downright balmy. But, my perspective is kinda messed up, because I live in Wisconsin!