A Courageous Perspective
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” -- Romans 12:2 (NLT)
When we adopt an attitude of gratitude, it shines through our personality, outlook, performance, and relationships. It puts a new perspective on our circumstances and gives us the courage to make better choices and life decisions.
It sounds strange— backward even—but sometimes it takes an intentional effort on our part to recognize the struggles others are facing in order to see the joy in our own journey. With our busy schedules and multitudes of distractions, we rarely stop to think about what is going on halfway around the world or even halfway across town, for that matter. When we slow down and intentionally observe the world around us, we see clearly that everyone has ups and downs, times of love, laughter and happiness, and moments of betrayal, loss, and disappointment. But— in the midst of it all, we all have a lot to be thankful for.
When you bump into a co-worker or friend and ask them “how are you,” are you asking simply to be polite?— or do you really want to know how they are doing?
Have you ever been asked that question only to realize the person asking really doesn’t want to know?
When we take the time to ask someone how they are, genuinely listening and caring about their response, we allow ourselves to gain a more realistic perspective of another person’s circumstances.
Each year I visit South Asia and see firsthand what is going on halfway around the world. In many places I visit, I see men, women, and children persevering in very difficult circumstances. I listen to personal accounts of immense poverty, physical and sexual abuse, and of young girls being sold into slavery for barely more than a bottle of alcohol.
But at the same time, I hear joy-filled testimonies from many of the same men, women, and children. Stories of lives being transformed as a result of the hope found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The evidence of God’s light is everywhere, just as Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 - NLT). All we have to do is take the time to recognize it and ensure we are allowing our light to shine, even on days when we are frustrated, stressed out, and struggling.
Every time I return from a mission trip, my personal struggles seem slight in comparison. Being able to witness the courageous perspective of others challenges me to take on a different outlook.
Whether we travel to other parts of the world or not, the truth is, God is shining His light everywhere, including right here in our own backyards. It takes courage to recognize the good and appreciate our blessings—however large or small they may be. And, it’s this courageous perspective that ultimately brings us true joy.
Join me in adopting a courageous perspective by implementing the following steps.
1. Take out a piece of paper and write down at least 5 things you are thankful for. Then write down at least 3 people you know personally who are struggling. Now go to the Lord in prayer. Ask God to comfort those who are struggling and give thanks to God for the blessings you’ve received.
2. On the back of your paper, write down the areas of your life where you are struggling. Then go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to comfort you and give you a courageous perspective as you face your everyday life-challenges.
3. Make a commitment to adopt a courageous perspective each and every day and allow your attitude, outlook, performance, and relationships to reflect your new-found ability to experience joy— no matter what trial or trouble comes your way.
What blessings are you focusing on that help you put your most recent trials into perspective?
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