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A Matter of Perspective

Keith McCurdy
Keith McCurdy

Have you ever thought that what you choose to think about can significantly affect your experience of life?  Unemployment is nearing 10 percent, debt is skyrocketing, home values are falling, taxes are increasing, goods are more expensive, college costs are increasing, homes are in foreclosure, our military is engaged in several places around the globe, and we are all getting older.  Whew!  If this is your focus, you are probably stressed and anxious, wondering what is going to happen next and when is it going to happen to you. While all of these things are true, they are only a part of our experience in life.  If our primary focus remains directed at the negative, our overall experience of daily living will be skewed negatively and our outlook will be more hopeless and helpless.  Consider these characteristics of perception.

Without conscious re-direction we are drawn to the negative.  Have you ever noticed how  cars will slow down to look at a wreck but not at the flowers in the median or how we notice what is wrong with our child’s behavior instead of paying attention to when they are behaving?  Our human nature, being a fallen people, is drawn to the negative.  It is no surprise that most of what we read in newspapers and tabloids (except perhaps this one) is about what is wrong in the world.

This reality is further complicated by whatever we focus on expanding in our realm of perception.  If you focus on something long enough it begins to seem larger and more pronounced.  At the same time, whatever is around it begins to fade and is not as easily recognized.  Before long our perception is no longer balanced, but just a sliver of what is true in our life with the object of our attention being the defining force.  If this object is negative, then we set the tone for a negative evaluation of our life.

Third, perception is reality.  What we perceive may not be correct or true, but it is what we will become to accept as reality in our lives.  Whether you perceive your life as terrible or fulfilling, you will live it accordingly.  I can’t count the number of times someone has relayed to me how difficult and bad their life is, yet when I ask about the good things, they are able to list them as well.  As one young man stated recently, “I guess I just don’t think about that stuff as much as I should”. The power of perception is immense!

The answer to this is simple, but not necessarily easy.  If we consciously choose to seek out and focus on the positive, this is what will expand in our perception and be the influential force in our evaluation of life.  The Apostle Paul states it clearly when he says to focus on and put into practice those things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy”.  The result of this is peace……the opposite of anxiety.

For the next few weeks, each night reflect on your day and come up with five things that were good, five things that you were thankful for, then share them with someone.  They have to be new things each day and you can’t repeat.  At first it may be difficult to do this every day but it will soon  become a little easier indicating that you are affecting you subconscious attention process.  This is when you begin noticing the good things first, without having to think about it.  Remember, “As a man thinketh, so he is.”  There are always blessings in our lives!

By Keith McCurdy
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