A friend e-mailed me after my last blog saying that it was just the message she needed that day. She had a great line in her e-mail, though – much better than any of the lines in my blog.
“…your blog message said what I needed to hear,” She wrote. “It changed my perspective. God was not testing my patience. He was growing my patience.”
I love that line – not testing my patience, but growing it. What a great way to look at it. Thinking and saying “God is growing my patience” carries a hugely different message than “God is testing my patience.”
God has been speaking to me about perspective a great deal over the past four months or so. There is ALWAYS more than one way to view the circumstances around us and we ALWAYS have a choice about how we will view them.
Here’s a another example of God adjusting my perspective: A few weeks ago I laughed out loud at myself while working. I have a big honking computer monitor on my desk. In my “real job,” I sit at my desk all day, every day, and I use software that can take up more than a third of the screen with menus and options. So about a year ago we invested in a large monitor. It’s wonderful. I love it. It makes my life so much easier. Most of the time. A few weeks ago I was working from a typed list of numbers to the left of my keyboard and monitor, looking for the number in a list of numbers displayed on my monitor, putting my cursor on that number, then moving to the far right of my monitor to click on an option. An easy process, but because my monitor is so large I was moving my head back and forth like I was watching a tennis match, and I was finding it difficult to keep my place on the sheet of paper and in the document on my screen. After doing this for awhile I was starting to get frustrated. That’s when I laughed. Here I was getting annoyed because I have this wonderful monitor that is so big I actually have to turn my head to use it. Upon realizing my foolishness – that I was becoming annoyed at a blessing – I changed my approach to the job at hand and went on about my business rejoicing about my wonderful monitor instead of being frustrated by it.
About the same time, I read an article by Jeffrey Gitomer about viewing problems as “Wow!” opportunities. It’s a short article and worth reading. Near the end of the article he writes:
“WOW! is now a thought changer, and a mental refocus from a negative that forces a positive response or action. If that’s not a WOW!, what is? And here’s the cool part: you can begin to WOW!, NOW!”
“Thought changer.” If I remember correctly, that’s what being in Christ is all about:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2a (New Living Translation)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2a (New International Version)
God has allowed things into your life and mine to help conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and transform our thinking. It is when our mind has been renewed, when our thinking has been transformed…
Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
Romans 12:2b (New Living Translation)
That is when we begin to see the world through the eyes and mind of the Lord. That is when we laugh in the face of difficult circumstances, knowing that they have already been overcome by the Lord and that they are meant for our good.
Lord, continue to change my perspective when it needs to be changed. Keep me looking upward in the face of all frustrations and challenges the day might bring.