It’s an interesting thing. What I see as truth is not always what you see as truth. What I see as truth is not necessarily truth.
I realized this this week when something happened at work. One of the girls at work made several mistakes over the weekend and caused us to miss several calls. The dispatcher was upset about this and threw a hissy fit over it, adding a few other things into the mix. And she did not hold back in voicing her dissatisfaction. But as soon as the conversation started, it stopped. There was no discussion, and there was no rebuttal. She got to snap, and I got to be on the receiving end. And guess what? I wasn’t happy. In fact, I stewed about for a few days. Thinking about what I could have said, dwelling on expressing my dissatisfaction, wishing we could have screamed it out. And with every thought I felt God knocking on my heart, asking me to let it go. Because it wasn’t important. Because it was one moment. Because it was hostility from too many things happening at one time and bubbling over in an inappropriate way. Because I need to live above my feelings – which means forgiving quickly, even without an apology, and forgetting readily. But in that moment, and for the rest of that day, I was mad.
Because of my perspective. Because I felt like the victim. Because from where I sat, she was wrong and she needed to apologize. Because she needed to recognize that she overstepped the friendliness line and needed to atone.
Because of my perspective. Which definitely didn’t line up with God’s perspective. And as long as I insisted on holding onto my perspective and looking at it with my limited vision, there was no room for grace and forgiveness. There was no hope of change and growth. There was no way I could accept the situation for what it was – a momentary lapse on her part because there was too many issues to deal with at one time. And how do I know this? Not because I got an apology but because for the next three days she was back to her social, amenable self. No hint of animosity or anger or outrage on her part.
But because of my perspective, I made it bigger and worse than it really was.
And I’m not alone. Everyone has those moment where they don’t see things as they really are.
Gideon is a great example. This Israelite was hiding from the tormenting Midianites, hoping to provide enough wheat to feed his family. As he crouched down in the sunken winepress, the Lord comes to him and calls him “you mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). He is scared and cowering, and God comes to him to call him out as the leader of Israel. He tells him “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites” (Judges 6:14). What might? What strength? What confidence? He actually uses this argument with God, trying to persuade Him to choose someone more qualified and better suited to the job. He tries to convince God that he is the wrong man by reminding God that “Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15).
He had a limited perspective – of himself, of his people, and of God. He had a mindset of defeat because he probably only knew slavery, battle, and hardship from Israel’s cycle of disobedience, capture, and rescue. His perspective was so bad that he actually had the audacity to tell God He was wrong. Yeah, Gideon went there. And God didn’t smite him. God talked to him and worked him through it, getting Gideon to the point where he believed and he moved in God’s direction.
And that’s all God is asking of us. To move in His direction. To decide that maybe our perspective is skewed, limited, clouded, blinded, or unfocused. To step out in faith toward Him that things need to be – and will be – different when we let God get involved in our lives. To focus our perspective on Him and let Him define us – to call us out by His love, to guide us with His loving hand, and to walk with us through the pain of change.
Because His perspective is so much broader, bigger, and blessed than our human reasoning can understand or see (Isaiah 55:8-9). Because He has called us adopted, beloved, and precious to Him (Ephesians 1:3-6). Because we are stronger, tougher, and braver than we could ever imagine (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Because we have a calling, destiny, and ministry on our lives (Matthew 5:14-16). Because He is more powerful than any fear, doubt, and shame we experience (Ephesians 3:20).
Because you are capable of so much more than you think possible. You can walk on water (Matthew 14:28-29) – meaning you can overcome anything thrown at you (1 John 5:4), you can have peace at all times (Philippians 4:7), and you can stand firm and confident no matter what happens (Ephesians 6:10-13).
Just like Gideon, your perspective can change. You can hope in God continually. You can walk in grace constantly. You can live by faith confidently. You can pray boldly, live boldly, talk boldly. Because you know God always has your best interest at heart and will uphold you, guide you, and empower you.
So what’s your perspective? How do you see yourself? How do you see others? It’s a new year and a great time to start looking at things differently.
Marie Fremin 1/2/16