Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
I don’t know how many of you are like me, flopping back and forth between the thoughts in my head, the Truth in my heart, and the circumstances that I see around me. Sometimes I find that all three are in alignment, and other times my head, my heart, and my circumstances seem to be in battle! Which one wins depends on something super simple, my FOCUS. Whatever I pay attention to the most, wins! Whichever gets front-and-center, whichever one gets the most playing time, and which one I place my trust in takes the victory to run my reality. Every. Single. Time.
With as much practice as I’ve had in shifting my perspective, it would be easy, right?!? Well, in the “Information Age” that we live in, it is simple but not easy! Just like looking through a microscope or a telescope, the operator has to adjust the lens through which they look in order to make the picture clear. Likewise, I consistently have to adjust my own focus. Sometimes the adjustment is small and other times my focus needs a hard shift. At times, I only need an anchor thought at the start and the end of my day, and other times it takes minute-by-minute, or hour-by-hour, tweaking! All the time, I have found the key comes from what I let into my eyes, my ears, and my thoughts. It also depends on what I speak! Behavior is funny that way! The key to mental prosperity is tied to what we watch, what we hear, and what we choose to believe. It is amazing how life changes when we choose to fix our focus on a Godly Perspective and Promise. Here’s what I’ve learned so far!
Step 1- Make a Decision
The Truth is that our perspective is a choice. There is a decision in every lens that we choose to look through. This doesn’t change the facts. The facts lead to an interpretation, and each person has to decide on how they weave together the facts to build their perspective. This is why people who experience the same events end up reacting in very different ways.
God has been leading me to study Caleb and Joshua and the perspective that they had to keep amongst opposing thoughts. Moses had sent Caleb and Joshua, with others, to spy out the land that God had promised to the Israelites. There was only one problem: there were two perspectives. One perspective looked at The Promised Land through the eyes of human capacity, thus focusing on the obstacles in front of them and the potentially negative outcomes. The other perspective was a Godly perspective with reverence, trust, and confidence. Caleb and Joshua held the Godly perspective, but they had to first dispel the lies being spread through the camp.
One account said, “…We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is the fruit! But the people who live there are very powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27-28). Everyone saw the good that God was ready to bestow, yet the majority killed their chances of inheritance with grumbling and a bigger BUT! This brings us to the second step to taking down a flawed perspective, understanding that what we say matters!
Step 2- Words are Weapons:
BUT is one of the most dangerous words that you can utter in life. “But” is nothing more than a conjunction that can give more weight to your fear than your faith. I had a leader once who wisely told me to get rid of all of the “buts” in my sentences. She counseled that whatever comes after the “but” negates what comes before it. The wisdom to change my language by adding a period where the “but” normally is and start a new sentence after the “but” required me to face whatever excuse, complaint, or fear that I had and decide if I wanted ownership of that “but.” I am reminded of that wisdom in this very moment! Joshua and Caleb chose to refute the majority with a higher perspective.
Caleb took on the perspective of God in Numbers 13:30 when he refused to look at the obstacles and instead chose to Trust God’s Words above all else, including the perception of the challenges in front of them. It says, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
Joshua furthers this confident perspective when he not only prepares the Israelites in Joshua 3:5 (NLT) but also later crosses into the Promised Land through faith-filled obedient action. It says, “Then Joshua told the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.” From there, Joshua LISTENED and OBEYED the steps of the process to cross over from the Wilderness to the Promised Land. Both Joshua and Caleb put their Trust in what God said instead of placing their focus on the obstacles in front of them. Joshua, during the process, had to overcome the temptation to grumble about the unknown, lead the men to be circumcised, build a temple along the way, coordinate the future leadership structure, and walk around a wall seven times with nothing more than the instruction itself. The walls didn’t fall until all of these directions were followed with eager anticipation of what was to come.
Step 3- Attract The Truth:
So, what does that mean for us? Luckily, the drastic physical tests of the Old Testament are a far cry from gaining a Godly Perspective in the 21st Century. For us, we can overcome the Giant of Perspective by doing 3 things:
- Capture Rogue thoughts that don’t line up with God’s Word or God’s Character
- Speak Life over Lies by using Scripture to refute and reframe what seems to be to line up with will be according to God’s Will
- Meditate on God’s Promises and Take a Step of action
Scripture and Science alike point to the power of your thoughts! What you think becomes like a magnet. Take this example, and one of my personal perspective prescriptions, to try out. When I say, “I’m so tired!” over and over, what am I training my brain to do? I’m training my brain to be conditioned to be tired and give up! What happens when I restate that sentiment ever so slightly to, “God, I feel tired,” (honoring reality of where I am)? I can honor myself and God with honesty and build a new thought right on top of it. I can add, “I know that WITH YOU ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (Aligning with the Word)! THANK YOU, Lord God for Giving me all that I need to do to all that you call me to do today (gratitude for what hasn’t yet come and stating my trust in His provision).” Every single time it works! I don’t exactly know how it works! (Temptation to put a “but” here). I just know that it does;).
So, as I wander into another week, this time with Great Expectations in mind, I will challenge myself to shift my perspective to the Power of Possibilities! I will stop “but-ting” myself to death and kill the doubting Thomas in me with a decision. I am deciding this December to simply Trust God. If I don’t have it yet, then I’m not ready for it. I’ll give God time to develop it in me first. If it’s on my plate, then I can handle it WITH God beside me. Isn’t God called Immanuel, God With Us, for a reason? If I’m called to do something, then I’ll take a step. I don’t need to leap to the end goal, I just need to take a step knowing that a bunch of little steps will eventually lead me to the Promised Land.
In this season of Hope, I am trusting that I as I do my part, God will do His and help me knock down some of the Giants I’ve been waiting to see fall! For this week, it’s my perspective. Stay tuned next week to see how God unfolds Perseverance to be something of Joy instead of a point of pain! I may not know quite yet… I know that God sure does!
#Let’sDoThis #InJesus’s Name