Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perspective Prison

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Psalm 119:73
I think inside my own little box, we all do. I'm guilty of getting stuck inside my own perspectives like a rat in a tall plastic container. I scratch around but can't quite make my way out. I, like many of us, am limited to the way I see things. Far too often, that limited perspective allows room for Satan's mind tricks. Lack of perspective leaves us in the darkness and it's clear to me that the devil loves the dark.

Perspectives are like opinions, everyone has one or two...or fifty thousand. They are unique to each one of us based on our experiences, our hearts and the way we think. Frankly, if we're happy knowing only our own, we leave lots of room for trouble. We isolate ourselves. It's like a house that has been abandoned. Rot sets in very quickly, and subtly. If we abandon the concept of understanding one another, relationships go sour and never quite recuperate.

We see it all too often in families. Someone has a perspective and absolutely refuses to see it any other way. They don't want to know about how anyone else sees things. They're so internally focused on what hurts them and what they feel that they quite obviously could care less about anyone else. They want their point and their point alone to be made. Families grow farther and farther apart and as a lack of understanding takes root, it grows like mold. It slowly takes on new growth and before long, it affects everyone around them. Pretty soon they have few, if anyone, left around them to carry out the rest of their days with.
They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. Psalm 82:5
Relationships fall apart every day due to someone's stubbornness. The funny thing about stubbornness is that it has become a good thing by today's standards. But if we put things into God's perspective, stubbornness is merely selfish pride that drives people apart. It is ultimately a lack of perspective and a lack of desire to understand. Stubbornness has never done me any favors. It's held me down, set me back and taken me to depths of loneliness I can only hope I never experience again. It separates us from those we love, including God. We are each too quick to deny Satan's success as it relates to our stubborn ways.

The thing about this free-will that God's given us is that we are free to choose our path. We, as believers, are free to choose whether we'll follow the fleshly desires or struggle against the flow to do what He wants. Of course, it takes each of us putting our own desires and feelings aside. That means we each have to cast out our pride and let go of our limited mindsets. I heard someone say recently, " Perception is reality." Oh how true this is for each of us.

I'm convinced that in my marriage and in my other relationships, He wants me to be open to other perspectives. My relationship with Chris has had it struggles, and let's face it--it still does at times. Most of those struggles are attributed to stubbornness. But as I'm learning to be open to Chris' perspectives, I'm blessed with a whole new level of understanding and knowledge of him. And I love him more for it. It not only brings about greater intimacy but it is also something that I can arm myself with when Satan starts whispering his lies in my ear. If I know Chris' perspective, I can be ready for Satan when he hits me with some web-spun lie that's meant to cause strife. I guard my marriage with thick fortress walls simply because I know where he is coming from, how he sees things and how he feels.

God really started blessing me more when I opened up and started seeking other perspectives. He wants each of us to want to understand the people around us. Understanding is a huge factor in personal and relationship growth. You just can't bypass it as a Christian. Even if you're not a Christian, you'll be terribly lonely as long as you try to live in your own little perspective prison. And that's just what it is, a prison. The only way you can escape the battles in your own mind is to open up and seek the perspective of other's. Don't leave any darkness in your life or in your relationships that Satan can use as a breeding ground. If you do, you'll pay the price for it later.

He calls us to get along and love one another. He calls us to offer mercy, grace and understanding. For people like me, understanding plays a huge factor to the whole idea of eliminating strife and loving others. I can love someone much more fully if I know where they're coming from. If I don't it's like prison to me. I want out of my own box, my own perspectives because the things I think begin to eat me alive. I want out of this dark place where Satan hides. He has left me with more than my fair share of issues to deal with and I don't need a new ones to add to my collection.

I'm convinced that if our relationships and our spiritual lives are important enough--we'll reach out for the other perspectives involved. The greatest way to understand is to ask the Lord for it. Other's can offer understanding of your mind, He can offer it to the depths of your heart. Reaching out to other's leaves everyone feeling better but the circle is never complete without the extent of understanding He can provide.
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! Psalm 119:169

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