The Art of Perspective

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in Neale Davis | 0 comments

Flying over the earth in the upper stratus of the atmosphere it is often a beautiful experience.  The minutia of life and all the daily demands that accompanies it seem far away and easily forgotten.  ThepastedGraphic.pdf flight provides perspective that drowns out the endless lists, details, frantic pace and perpetual reminders that life is sometimes joyful but always very challenging.  High in the atmosphere, one experiences the freedom of flight and  the beauty of the clouds, the wind, the sunlight and all the dramatic angles of being less caught up in the friction and weight of terra firma.

 

But, as our plane descends through the atmosphere we begin to experience other aspects of our journey.  Sometimes we run into weather that is less than conducive for smooth flight.  Air pockets bang us around a little (or a lot).  Or we descend through clouds that can create fear and cause us to wonder if we’re in the right place or getting dangerously close to obstacles, or even the ground. Eventually we break through the clouds to find ourselves overwhelmed by the terrain and the multiplicity of detail.  We see a stand of trees, a range of mountains, or buildings that must be avoided.  We have to think of air speed, distance, flap position, and alignment as we make our final approach.  All of this can be disconcerting and, at times, overwhelming.  All considered, this can sometimes be a good picture of how life feels.

 

When I find myself in this setting, I can feel anxious and, at times, panicked.  It all seems so much at one time and I often feel like I am flying with the disadvantage of malfunctioning equipment.  This can be a change in my life, like a career move.  Or it can be dysfunctional communication in the family, or tension between friends or as broad as an uncertain financial future.  Or it can be as intimidating as an abusive spouse or a major physical ailment or an out of control anger.  And once again, we become overtaken by the reality of the broken world in which we all live.

 

I have a friend who was scheduled to be in a close friend’s wedding, but because he had to fly to the wedding he decided at the last minute not to go.  Flying frightened him too much.  I know of a woman who hasn’t taken a vacation with her husband in years, because unless it’s driving distance she won’t go.  She, too, is afraid of flying.  And there are many people who don’t like change because it’s too unpredictable.  It causes great angst in their hearts to not be in control of their environment.  They never do anything except what they can “control.”  And they remain enslaved to those fears.

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The question begs, how do we live successfully without being overtaken by all the pressures of life or the unpredictable, or by the inevitable changes that come with living?

 

It takes several things to successfully navigate all the intricacies and challenges of life.  Let me offer a few things that have helped me.

 

  1. God’s word. I find it impossible to keep my nose above water without a healthy dose of perspective offered only in God’s word.  Life looses it’s context outside of a childlike faith in God.  Unless we are able to see the big picture of how God has made us and for what he has made us it becomes more than challenging to keep your boat from taking on water.
  2. God’s family.  God’s means of maintaining vibrancy and living a life of discipleship is the context of the body of Christ.  In the past I have had people share some difficult things with me about how I was behaving, thinking or speaking and it was these friends or others who love me that shared those sometimes ugly realities.  I didn’t care for it at the time, but I came to deeply value the love in which it was delivered to me.  I’m a different person as the result of those moments.
  3. God’s context.  When we come to Christ we move from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.  This is so significant because we’re now in the most remarkable relationship ever.  We have been adopted by the God of the universe who is sovereign, loving and merciful.  He is more committed to our growth and holiness than we could ever be (in fact, we can sometimes be resistant to growth).  This begins the process that Scripture calls sanctification.  This is the process of how God conforms us into his image, and sometimes it’s  painful.  But always it’s for our good and for God’s glory.  I have found that understanding this amazing process helps me as I take walk through the incredible journey called life.

 

There are times, though, where it’s helpful to talk to someone about our struggles.  If you find yourself in this category, please a friend or counselor to help you walk through them.  It’s worth the effort and makes for a more pleasant flight.

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