A Shift in Perspective
As we begin this new journey of shifting our perspective and changing how we see our lives and callings, we have got to first be a better monitor of what we allow into our hearts and minds. We want to hear from the Lord in our here and now. But there are a lot of voices and directives that would like to veer us off course into places that are treacherous for our hearts and minds..
It’s a little bit like this…when I was a young girl, about Sydney’s age, I would tromp across our well-mown, hundred acre property in the summertime. I believe I walked over the entire perimeter and throughout the center and across very shallow streams of water, taking the paths that our animals had already forged. The cows and horses created a nice, narrow path, which gave me direction.
Now I was terrified of snakes, and in my mind, Texas had a ton of ’em! I would watch the path carefully and tread as heavily, as I could, hoping that I sounded like a big animal, so the snakes would steer clear of me. I never saw a snake on those paths and across the fields. Though they were most certainly there. I took the pathway that was already marked out for me. And while I did that, I was also quite aware of the homes for these critters. They lived near the waterways–the pond and the stream, so I was extra careful and even saw holes where they lived–though some might have been crawfish (overactive imagination said they were ALL snakes). But I never encountered a snake on my pathway. Not once!
As long as it wasn’t too hot in the Texas sun and the bull was not too near me, I was happy and unafraid to walk the fields.
Our daily lives are a lot like these walks. We take our normal, everyday pathways. There we find treasures to behold and consider. We also know that there are snakes in the grass and by the waterways. So what must we do to stay alert to what enters our hearts and minds? I tell you that there are many ways to guard…and to engage, when needed.
Lately there has been much vitriol over various topics in social media. And while there are good ways to engage these conversations and discussions, we need to determine what communication is effective and what communication eats at us. For me, a face to face discussion always wins. For while I can communicate effectively in writing, it is not always the best route for discussing topics that are especially sensitive. We need to put a face, some heart, in our talk…and that is better done face to face.
I also have come across side-taking–no matter what topic–and it just strikes me that this is a mean game, looking to bring harm to others. Sure, have your opinions. Hold fast to your convictions. That’s all well and good. Shoot, write a pro/con paper on it, telling where you stand. Get it all out of your system. Then, come together with people of different convictions and treat them with love, kindness and respect, even dignity. This will keep your mind focused on the true things that matter.
For the pathway that I’m recommending is this–if you find people looking to fight and dispute and cause all manner of unrest in your own soul, just stop following them. Or stop social media altogether! And then take a page out of our dear friends’ playbook. Make a special treat, and take it to your neighbors’ house. Get to know them. Yes, I know they said this and that on various social media or neighborhood connections, but get to know what makes them them. Ya know? Then go to another neighbor’s’ house (or volunteer at a soup kitchen!) and so on and so on. Begin to invest in people around you every day. Pray for them. Help them change a lightbulb they cannot reach. Walk their dog. Whatever. Just walk the path the Lord is carving for you. It is pretty obvious. And yes, there are snakes. But stick to the path.
And keep this in mind, too:
But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 NASB
No matter what your opinion is or their opinion is…or even what the very core of what you perceive TRUTH as being, set it all aside and do these two things….love the Lord and love your neighbor. Believe me, there will be a time for a face to face and perhaps even a hearty discussion or ten, but first…first, get to know them. Love them no matter what. Then, as they give you permission to speak into their story, you just may love them well enough that they see Jesus. He may even have something to say to you about that topic–changing what you thought was right! None of us are sole truth-bearers, none but Jesus. And He will show you both the way, the truth and give you His life, too.
It’s as simple as taking a walk.
Pray with me? Lord, we come before you today, needing more of your grace towards others…and boldness to love them well. Please give us your heart for the nations, for our leaders, for our sphere of influence and for those whom others might overlook. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind to perceive what you are doing in our every moment. Wake us up, dear Father, to see what is effective and what is destructive. Then give us an emboldened spirit to go therefore and LOVE. Above all, Lord, help us to love YOU well. For from that flows all of LIFE. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.