Looking outside of your personal perspective. It is not only difficult to do, it is difficult to want to do. It can also be a very painful process. Who wants that? Not me. But, in order to grow up, somewhere along the path of life, we are going to have to do this.
Develop the habit of looking outside your personal perspective as you get to know people who are different from you
Each of us has her perspective on life based on life experience, what she has been taught, what she believes of what she has been taught and to what degree her faith has been integrated into her life. I guess that isn’t quite right! I should say, to what degree what she says she believes is congruent with what she actually believes!
Often that isn’t really known until it is tested! That’s when we find out what we truly believe. I don’t think I’ll belabor the point. Just think about the times in your life when a big life challenge came that shook your world and possibly your view of GOD.
Part of adjusting to those large life challenges involved re-evaluating your beliefs and worldview to see if they are really true. For me, I realized with the sudden death of my dad, the stillbirth of our first daughter and other losses and disappointments, that my previous beliefs were mostly true, but untested. I also discovered that my expression of my beliefs change a bit with those life experiences because I was able to put myself in others’ shoes a bit more and feel for them in ways I couldn’t before. That came from seeing life from a new perspective.
With life changes come challenges to our faith. People who with different perspectives can often be helpful to us during these periods
Another aspect that pushes us in our growth is life change. We move to a new stage of life or move into a new grouping of people and we either can’t stand them because they are so different, we can’t see anything about them that we could possibly related to. In this kind of situation, particularly if you aren’t going to be able to get away from them…a church where your husband is pastor and you can’t leave, a family you have married into and you will need to learn to love these people and get along with therm…or you can add your situation in here.
At this point, you are going to have to find a way to positively love and even enjoy these people. They aren’t going to go away. They aren’t going to change, most likely, they aren’t going to magically disappear.
One way I have found helpful in these situations has been to try to look at life from their perspective. Of course, that can only happen one person at a time. Taking the time to get to know them one at a time…ask questions about their life, their childhood, their years that are similar to your age…and beyond. Try to find out what makes them tick. See if you can learn what their perspective of life is.
Often, this has given me an amazing empathy for people I was miserable around, who may have even been rather unkind to me. Hearing about their life and background gives amazing insight into them and the lives they are leading. The ones that appear to have it so “together” often turn out to be quite shy and insecure inside based on some sad events in their past…maybe even in their present.
Of course, it doesn’t excuse their rude behavior, but for me it often makes it easier to forgive and even overlook comments or behavior that might otherwise offend me.
This helps when relating to humans. But what about when I don’t understand what GOD is doing?
It helps here too. Often, the answers for me won’t be the full answer, but understanding that GOD has a much fuller picture of what is going on eternally in the grand scheme of events does help me get perspective on events He allows into my life that I don’t understand. At some point, I must take a step of faith and trust that He is in control of all things and He is working for the my good and His glory in everything that happens.
No, it doesn’t remove the pain and at times, the struggle as I adjust to what He is doing. It does help me realize that I don’t have the full picture of all of history like He does…or even all of eternity! I can’t possibly expect to understand the “why’s” of all that happens when I don’t have the full perspective. At some point, I must take a step of faith and trust Him. He is good and my ultimate good is what He is working toward. I can trust that!