A Matter of Perspective
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we are all trying to cope with the changes thrust upon us as best we can. It is probably fair to say that we all have some good days and some not so good. No doubt about it – these times are difficult.
I was speaking with a good friend recently and he shared that he was grieving, feeling the loss in many areas, as many people are. For some, it is the loss of jobs, income, and opportunity as their businesses cut back or shut down. For some, it is the loss of enjoyable activities like going to the gym or taking in a movie at the local theater or going out to dinner. For many, it is the loss of social interaction and real interpersonal contact, including hugs. For others, it may not be actual loss, but imagined loss – the fear of what the future holds as we foresee no end in sight.
It got me to thinking….
One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” What if we were simply to change our minds, viewing these very real things as setbacks rather than losses? Most forward progress involves setbacks. Plans we make encounter obstacles. Unforeseen circumstances accompany most projects. Unpredictable events mess up our schedules. I know my progress is often 4 steps forward and 3 steps back. It is a matter of perspective.
As a counselor I work a lot with my clients on the relationship between our thinking, our feelings, and our behavior. The feelings we experience, over which we have little control, are a direct result of our thinking. If our thinking is incorrect, the resulting feelings will be inappropriate because they are not based on accurate thoughts. If our thoughts are focused on the problem, the problem will get magnified and the resultant feelings will also get magnified. If our thoughts are focused on the solution, the solution will get magnified and the feelings we experience will be significantly different. One of the great lessons in the 12-Step Programs is to get out of the problem and into the solution. As we change our thinking, we begin to feel more hopeful, optimistic, and confident.
Most of us have experienced times in our lives when things looked bleak, even hopeless. Times when there seemed to be no solution. And yet we got through it. We survived. Maybe we even thrived! I have learned that when one door closes, it is often so another can open. I have learned the truth in the saying “it is always darkest before the dawn.” I believe this is a time to look back and recall past experiences when we overcame seemingly impossible odds, when we were victorious.
In the Bible, Joshua 4, the Israelites were crossing over the Jordan River into the promised land. The Lord stopped the river to allow the Arc of the Covenant to pass and commanded the people to place stones in the river as a memorial of God’s faithfulness to future generations. I believe this is a time to look back on the times when God’s goodness has accomplished for us what seemed impossible. It is a time to place some memorial stones, so we don’t forget.
It is all a matter of perspective.