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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Finger

Shifting Perspectives

by Melissa Finger

It is all about perspective. The way we view things determines so much about how we feel about them. But what defines our perspective? What drives it? This is what we will be exploring in my NEW BLOG!


When I was young, maybe middle school, I had a bad experience with Chinese food! It was BAD! I think I remember liking all kinds of Asian food prior to this encounter, but after a few days of being terribly sick (food poisoning is never fun), I do not look at Asian food the same! In fact, if I come into a room and smell it, I almost instantly become nauseous. Perspective. What drives my perspective of Chinese food? My bad experience many decades ago.


In the case of my severe food poisoning back in middle school, it is easy to see where my present day perspective of this food group comes from. I don't have to wonder if there is something inherently wrong or bad with Asian food when I instantly become nauseous, I know where that perspective comes from and that it is unique to my experience. This is true with SO MANY aspects of our life. Unlike my food aversion, it is not always easy to tell what is driving our perspective.


Our perspective of people, situations, places, ourselves, God, really anything we encounter is based on what our senses take in, our previous experiences, our heart, our mind, and our spirit. Each of these aspects of our being shape how we experience ourselves and the world around us. Knowing my perspective is limited to my own knowledge and experience is very helpful in how I relate to others. I have to remember that just because I have a certain perspective, it doesn't mean that everyone else shares that perspective (because each of us have different life experiences), and it also does not mean my perspective is true.


For example, just because Asian food makes me nauseous, it doesn't mean that it is bad for other people to eat. The averse reaction I have is my perspective. My perspective about live electrical outlets is much more universal though. My perspective is that they can be dangerous and lead to painful shocks! THIS perspective is universal and can be applied to anyone. So how do we know when our perspective is accurate? When is it specific to an isolated situation? When it is only applicable to me? When it is only applicable to you? Or applicable to everyone? Learning to discern this will help you grow as a person, as well as grow in your relationships with others!


I could write an entire book on this topic, but instead, I will offer two rules to start with:


1) Explore your own perspective

2) Identify the code you desire to live by


EXPLORE YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE

Especially when your response to a person, place, thing, or idea is intense (either negative or positive), explore why that feeling is so strong. What do you believe about this experience? Where does that belief come from? Is this something that would be true for everyone or just you? Is this true every time you are in this situation or just sometimes? Knowing and understanding this can help you make healthy choices for yourself and your family.


IDENTIFY THE BELIEF SYSTEM YOU DESIRE TO LIVE BY

Much of our perspective is driven by our belief system. We can decide what belief system we want to live by, but it takes a lifetime to bring all of our thinking and responses in alignment with any given belief system. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are developing into Kingdom thinkers and responders. In some ways, our thoughts and perspectives match God's and in other ways, we are learning and growing. The Bible tells us that God's ways and thoughts are different from ours. His perspective is different from ours, but that doesn't mean we can't learn and grow to be more and more like Him every day.


As we Identity the beliefs that we want to drive our perspective, then we can explore how our perspectives do and do not match our belief system. With the Lord's help, we can continue to learn, change, and grow to be more Kingdom minded right here on earth. Jesus was able to do that when he lived as a man, and I believe that should be a big aspect of our goal in life.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when discussing perspective. In future blog posts, I will be discussing various perspective shifts that are necessary to maintain continual healing and growth in each of our lives. We will talk about ways to assess your own heart and belief systems. Most importantly, we will talk about how God created us, how he desires for us to live, and how to grow and mature in our identity in Christ. I hope you will join me on this journey!

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