My children love to do the Hidden Picture puzzles in magazines. We have a stack of Highlights magazines on our books shelves that have accumulated over the years. Yet, these magazines continued to be viewed over and over again specifically for the Hidden Picture Puzzles. Recently, my girls realized how much they enjoy doing these puzzles, but it takes them a little longer to do them than it does my boys.
A couple days ago, my 4 year-old asked for my help to find a certain item in the picture. We looked and looked. I almost told her to go ask her brother. Then she says, “Hey mom, let’s just turn the page to the side and see if that helps.” Within a minute or so, she had found the item she had asked for help with.
A change in perspective. That’s all it took.
Does this ever happen to you? Could you have ever just need a change in perspective? I know I have.
A few years ago, I had a coworker that literally drove me crazy. Just the sound of her voice made me cringe. I was working as an elementary school teacher, meaning my adult interaction was very limited and much appreciated. But when I did get a break and I caught sight of this woman, I tried to turn the other way. At one point I actually felt like she was imposing on my ability to do my job. She was a very strong woman with strong opinions… and I am a more of the keep the peace type of person. I really did not like this woman though I am not sure that many people knew this.
At this point in my walk, I was heavily being convicted on my desire for drama and gossip. I really wanted to vent my frustrations to another coworker. They would understand. They may be able to give me some advice on how to handle her. However, I also knew that doing this would turn into a gossip session… and I was trying very hard to only have positive conversations about others.
So, what’s a girl to do? I came home to vent my frustrations to my husband. Now, my husband is not really the kind of person to just give you a listening ear. He’s more of a Mr. Fix-it type of person.
So, when I took a break in my venting session, my husband looked at me and said, “Are you done?”
Oh, I wanted to keep going, but I knew I probably shouldn’t. So, I nodded and waited.
My husband then said to me, “Renee, it sounds like you need to pray for her.”
WHAT! Pray for her! I can’t even stand the thought of her name! How am I going to pray for her?
“Trust me, Renee. Pray for her,” he assured me.
I did. Reluctantly at first. I don’t really know what I expected. I knew she wouldn’t just magically turn into Mary Poppins. But I started praying for her, her family, her happiness.
As I started praying for her, I did notice a difference. But not so much in her, but in me. I was no longer so easily annoyed by her. My thoughts swaying in my mind when she spoke were no longer the negative- please just stop talking. But I was actually listening. When I saw her during breaks, I would have a short conversation with her and go about my day. I actually ended up enjoying this woman’s company before long.
So what changed? My perspective. By offering up God my frustrations with this person, He was able to change my heart towards her. I no longer saw her as an enemy or as an annoying coworker to escape. I started seeing her as a person, as an image-bearer of God. I started noticing I was taking things she said too personally. She was not trying to impose on my classroom but offer friendly suggestions. She was a person, too. She just communicated differently than I did.
I can honestly say that after seeing the result of praying for someone who drives me up a wall, I have started praying for other people much more quickly and much more often.
When we can see people as people, as an image bearer of God, we can start to see that they too have highs and lows, problems and joys, limited time, different ways of communicating, and the list goes on… But that is no reason to treat them any differently than we would want to be treated.
Sometimes problems we encounter, whether another person or a physical barrier, need a change in perspective. I have had to learn to stop wallowing in self-pity about things I have no control over and just give it up to God. Instead of feeling like a victim of a circumstance, I ask God how can I grow from this? What lesson are you trying to teach me? Or show me another way Lord.
I truly believe that sometimes God closes doors and tells us no because we need a change in perspective. We need to see people, things, situations, and ourselves the way God sees them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”