How we see things can be very different than how others see them. Our perspective is influenced by many factors including where we are in life, our past experiences, and our beliefs.
We live in the Wet Mountain Valley which, while about 8,000 feet in elevation, is relatively flat and low compared to the mountains around us, many of which are above 12,000 feet. What we see from the valley is vastly different from what we see when on the mountain.
Take a look at the two pictures. One is taken from our front deck at about 7,900 feet. The other is taken from about 10,700 feet up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The header picture is of the same valley from about 9,500 feet. If I hadn’t provided you this information, you may have assumed these were pictures of different locations. In reality, though, they capture the same place, just from different perspectives.
Reality is not changed by our perspective, but our interpretation may change based on our view. Also, the closer we are to something, we will usually be able to see more detail, but may lose sight of the big picture.
Recently our daughter came to visit from Texas. I have acclimated to Colorado weather and therefore don’t find certain temperatures to be cold but rather comfortable. She, on the other hand, is accustomed to Texas heat. One day, as I sat comfortably in shorts, she had a sweatshirt on. The temperature was the same on both ends of the couch, but our bodies perceived it differently.
A different day, I was complaining (yes, I do that), about how hot it was and she just looked at me and rolled her eyes (apparently, I earn that response regularly). You see, what I was perceiving as hot, she considers a nice comfortable temperature.
Relating to others
As we walk in relationship with people and God, we are likely to see things differently because of our perspective. This impacts how we relate and can lead to issues if we are not cognizant of what we are perceiving compared to the other person’s view.
I’ve been married long enough to know that Dallas views things quite differently than I do. We may both be right, or not, but if we determine to only see our view, then an argument is highly possible.
It is important that we allow others to have a different perspective without imposing our views on them. After all, we may both be right, or both wrong in how we are viewing the situation. But for each of us, what we are seeing is our perceived reality.
The lenses that we look through (past experiences, beliefs, desires) will color what each of us sees. When we are willing to hear the other person with the understanding of their lens, we will better be able to relate to them. We will be able to come alongside and journey together.
How God Sees
When we are in the depths of difficulty, it is easy to blame God or to doubt what He has told us to be true. All we see is the darkness, pain, disappointment, hurt, frustration, etc. Meanwhile, He is all-knowing and able to see everything (remember that big picture I mentioned earlier?). We don’t know how, but through faith, we can believe that He is working.
Recently, during a session with a client, we did an exercise that didn’t go as I expected. At the moment, I was frustrated because I thought either we had missed something, or God had let us down. Later in the session, I realized that God had done exactly what we had asked, but we didn’t see it because we were looking for something else. It was after time passed that I was able to have a different perspective to see what had really occurred.
It’s very easy for me to get laser-focused on the details and miss the big picture. I’m learning (slowly, sometimes painfully) how to back off from my preconceived expectations and allow the Lord to work as He decides. It’s a process of getting out of the valley and into the hills to see things from a higher vantage point. This becomes possible by spending time with Him, listening, trusting, and learning to see how He sees.
Walking it out
As you journey through life, become aware of your perspective. Are you able to step back and see things differently, or at least allow others the freedom to have a different view?
When God doesn’t make sense, are you able to walk forward in faith, trusting that He sees more than we will ever see?
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