“Its not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau
What is perspective?
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines it in this way: “A particular way of viewing things that depends on ones experience and personality.”
A person’s perspective is shaped gradually as they grow and mature. As each person has their own unique experiences, they form their very own unique perspective on life.
If a child’s parents are exacting and authoritative, he may grow up with the view that God is a sort of monster, just waiting for him to mess up so He can pounce and punish. But if parents are understanding, loving and forgiving, their child will likely grow up thinking of God as someone kind and approachable…
Perspective is fascinating to me; I love listening, as others give their view on something I’ve already established my opinion on. I don’t always agree, but it stretches me to hear how others see things, and compare it to scripture and my own point of view.
Perspective is important in recognizing our blessings, compared to the hard things in life… A seemingly terrible experience can be surrounded with rich blessings and valuable lessons but often we don’t see them at the time. We see them in retrospect, as someone changed, shaped by the experience.
We may feel no one notices what we do or how we live; but we can’t know how many hearts are being blessed. Even just a smile can make all the difference in someone’s day.
We may say our church’s outreach projects are failing if we aren’t seeing new members being “added to the church daily” like in the book of Acts. Another perspective: Our outreach is not a failure unless no one is being blessed. It is not a failure if we are still planting the seed of the Gospel, and showing Christ to the lost. It WILL be a failure if we neglect to show His Love to those around us.
I don’t claim to have the proper way of looking at things. Often, when I see how someone else looks at something, (a Bible verse, a church rule, etc.) I realize I am looking at it wrongly. It blesses me when I can adopt a different way of looking at something from someone who is more mature or experienced, and suddenly it makes sense.
Someone asked me recently: “Did you know the Bible says there is no God? Yep, it sure does, in Psalms!” (What it actually says is this: “A fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no god.”) Oh and money is the root of all evil, too, if that’s how you choose to read it!
Perspective is not the words on the page- it’s how you interpret them. One of my favorite examples of this happened when I attempted to make cookies alone for the first time as a kid. I probably remember it only because it was such an epic fail. 😐
I was seven. My sister was out mowing grass, and I decided she was probably hot and tired and would definitely need some cookies when she got finished. So I went to where Mom was sewing and asked, “Can I make cookies all by myself to surprise Tracy?”
She said yes, and I pulled out a cookbook. I can’t remember now what recipe I used, but I do remember that one of the first ingredients was “1/2 cup corn oil margarine.”
Well, I knew what margarine was, but… “Hey Mom, what is corn oil?” She replied that Wesson vegetable oil would work, and this happy little baker carefully measured a half cup of “corn oil,” AND tossed in a stick of margarine, then began “creaming shortening and sugar.”
I thought I was so big! As I measured and stirred I couldn’t wait to present my big sister with my surprise, and to tell her I made them all myself.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what happened when I “dropped by spoonful on tray, 2 inches apart, and baked at 350 for 8 minutes.” Those dear cookies were almost the size of my head. (If you could have told where one cookie stopped and the next one started, that is.)
“Hmmm, this recipe makes big cookies! I better not put so many on one tray…” So I spaced them out a bit, and cheerfully baked the rest. I struggled getting them off the tray, but they sure tasted nice… kinda buttery?
When Big Sis came in, I presented her with a whole plate of them- (if I remember right, that amounted to about two cookies,) and I announced that I had made cookies just for her! And made them all by myself!
She took one look at them, and in the typical candor of a 14-year-old, she said: “They look like pies to me!” (They really did! She wasn’t being mean!)
But then like any good sister would, she ate one or two, assured me they weren’t too bad, and went over the recipe with me to help me find where I’d gone wrong. Let’s just say I didn’t make that mistake twice. 🙂
(In defense of my 7-year-old self, corn oil margarine should never be part of any recipe. Butter is so delicious- why do substitutes even exist?) But if you must use it, couldn’t you just call it margarine? C’mon!
I love quotes, and this one on perspective is no exception. A comedian once said: “Some see the glass as half empty. Some see the glass as half full. I see the glass as too big!” That is an angle to the picture that I wouldn’t have seen on my own. This guy must have been a man who thought somewhat like my husband.
My dear Hubby keeps me laughing and/or shaking my head almost constantly, with the “outside of the box” way he looks at life.
He is a whole new story for another day, but I will share this yet: Recently he presented me with the first bouquet of flowers ever in our relationship. Daisies, no less! My favorite kind! He said he just wanted to get me flowers to show that he cares about me. He had even asked to be sure they were indeed, daisies!
I was about to melt, when he informed me that they might be the last ones I ever get from him. “…I mean, Jesus only had to die once, to show how much He loves us, right? Only once. He didn’t keep repeating it!” Hmmm, very true, Mr. Dexter, very true… That perspective of yours, though! 🙂
More perspective quotes:
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer
“You can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln
“Don’t feel bad if people only remember you when they need you; feel privileged that you are the candle they reach for in times of darkness.” -unknown
“When a man wants to kill a tiger, we call it a sport. When a tiger wants to kill a man, we call it ferocity. – George Bernard Shaw
“Dear Optimist and Pessimist, while you were arguing about whether the glass was half full or half empty, I drank the water.” -Opportunist