BY KIM JONES
FOR THE ENCOURAGER MAGAZINE
Changing your perspective
is like looking at your situation through a different lens,
like putting on a different pair of glasses.
I had been enduring an extremely difficult trial in life. For months there seemed to be no improvement or resolution. It seemed as if my prayers for a way of escape were being ignored. Finally, I decided to create my own mini-escape. I lived fairly close to the Pacific Ocean so hoping for at least a few hours of refreshment I headed toward a favorite spot – high above the crashing waves.
After parking my car, I walked toward a large, glass-enclosed observatory perched on the edge of a bluff overlooking the ocean. As I stepped inside my eyes were immediately drawn to the north window. There in the distance, I saw an approaching storm. The scene was spectacular but the clouds, fog, and restless ocean made my heart sink. A powerful rainstorm was on its way. So much for my outdoors plans.
I quickly moved to the east window. Although it was quiet in the observatory I looked out onto a noisy scene of wind-swept chaos in the parking lot. Kids, cars, and carriages scurried in all directions. Dads hastily unloaded the family gear – backpacks, cameras, binoculars and picnic baskets – as moms frantically tried to bundle up their children to protect them from the chilling wind. I couldn’t hear their frustrated words but their faces told the whole story. I didn’t watch this scene too long – it made me tired.
With relief I stepped over to the south window. Seemingly oblivious to the brisk wind and incoming mist, a young couple wrapped in a blanket sat on a small patch of weathered lawn. Their obvious affection for one another must have driven away the discomfort of the biting wind. They weren’t just taking in the view – they were experiencing it. From my sheltered viewpoint, I found myself experiencing it with them.
Other observers moved in my direction so I felt compelled to leave that heart-warming scene and take in the view from the west window. Standing alone, overlooking the immense expanse of the Pacific Ocean that stretched to the horizon, I felt unbelievably tiny. The reflection of the sun lay like a glimmering golden path on the water. I’d never seen the ocean quite like this and it brought tears to my eyes.
I closed my eyes to thank God for the awesome beauty of that place. At that moment He spoke to my heart showing me something I had never realized before. As I visually immersed myself in each view I had experienced a multitude of emotions – some positive – some not. I had experienced frustration, elation, sadness and awe yet I had not set foot outside the observatory. The only change was on which view I had chosen to focus.
How humbling it was to realize that in dealing with my personal trial I had been focusing on only one view. I had looked at the situation from only one viewpoint – finding a way out. I had not yet considered any other possibilities. That day I realized that God was far more interested in changing my perspective than in changing my circumstances.
No wonder my trial had been overwhelming. I needed a different view – a new perspective. And God in His mercy showed me that it was only a few steps away…
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self same winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of the sails,
And not the gales,
That tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate
As we voyage along through life,
‘Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm, or the strife.
ELLA WHEELER WILCOX
On the Journey with You,
Dave & Jan Dravecky