In the midst of difficulties, adopting a healthy perspective is critically important. One of the most powerful gifts God ever gave us is the ability to step back and “think about our thinking.” Not only can we think, but we can analyze the way we are thinking — and if we need to, we can deliberately choose to think in a different way.
Sadly, we don’t use that ability as often as we should. Many of us never rise above the automatic thoughts and reflexive responses that bog us down in despair and dysfunction. So we suffer a good bit of needless pain, and we don’t deal responsibly with our difficulties. How much better it would be if we used the power of choice to look at situations in a more helpful way. Out of all the perspectives from which we might view our circumstances, which one would be the most constructive?
But what is a “perspective”? It is our “vantage point,” the “position” from which we view the facts. Our perspective makes a huge difference in our emotions, as well as our decisions about what to do.
In my own life, there are three reminders that I keep coming back to, time after time. Pondering at least one of these “mantras” always brings my mind back to where it needs to be. I share them in the hope that they might help you.
(1) Think of your Father. I put this one first because it is the most important. Whatever may be going on, I need to re-center my mind on God. What are His eternal purposes? Whatever is going on, how would He want me to think about what is happening? When I ask these questions, I envision myself at the foot of God’s throne, worshiping Him.
(2) Reach forward. Whatever my situation may be at this moment, what should be my next step? If there is a problem, what action can I take to make it better? This perspective gets me out of blaming, self-pity, and defeatism, forcing me to think of opportunities and possibilities. It urges me to concentrate on growth, both for myself and others.
(3) There’s a great day coming. It gives me comfort, and also courage, to contemplate the victory that is coming when God has vanquished all His foes. That will be a day not only of victory, but rest. This world can be a hard place, but we’re only here for a short visit. When our work is done, there will be sweet rest from our labors.
Depending on the situation, I don’t always need the same one of these, but there is always one of them that gives me the perspective I need to have at that moment. I have yet to face a crisis in which one of these does not calm me down and help me to act more constructively.
In your own life, then, what are the thoughts that strengthen you the most? How often do you sit down, shut out the noise, and ponder these? I urge you to use the free will that God has given you: think about your thinking — and choose a helpful (rather than hurtful) perspective.