Sometimes, there is good news in the bad news. It all depends on how we look at things.
“Adjusting our perspective” may sound trite, a self-help homily anyone can throw out there. But changing how we perceive our circumstances is critical to how we experience life.
Life is, as they say, how you see it.
We can choose a better life by adjusting our perspective. And doing it again. Perhaps every day.
The Bad News – Life is Tough at Times
In this life we will have troubles, trials, and problems. Sooner or later, and probably both. Plus, whether we know it or not, we all have issues. In fact, there are things we may struggle with for much of our lives.
Who is it that has these problems and issues? Basically, everybody I know.
For sure, everyone I know well. Those are the people I’m close enough to so that I see what is really going on in their lives, so I know. But I’m pretty sure that holds true for everybody. Including you.
I find myself mired in worry more often than I should be. Like this week, when work and finances and family and just “stuff going on” all seemed to be adding up to more than I wanted to deal with.
And there’s even more bad news.
Circumstances will never work out perfectly in our life. The grass on the other side of the fence is not greener; it’s just more grass. And the people in our life? Well, they’re not perfect either.
Wow, after bad news like that, we need some good news.
The Good News – Life Can Still Be Good
There are lots of things–all valid–we could say about how trials will surely pass. That we can grow from the troubles we face. And that issues can make us stronger and put us in position to help others.
Those are all important, and true, but they are not the point of this article.
This is about adjusting our perspective. From the naïve expectation that life is supposed to be perfect to a balanced view that there will be ups and downs, good things and bad things we must face. And that this type of experience is not only normal, but also one where we can find joy and contentment.
Many people spend so much time worrying about their circumstances that they never get around to the more important task of living. Life will never be perfect. When we accept that fact, we are better positioned for what life is meant to bring us in terms of peace, joy, and purpose.
Life is meant to be–overall–good. And each of us can experience that good life. It’s up to us.
Adjusting Our Perspective
But how do we go about adjusting our perspective? What do we actually do?
Surrender our reliance on outcomes (and hold onto our hope) – Each day, our job is to do the next right thing. Ultimately, we do not control what happens. Letting go of outcomes will lessen our worry about the ups and downs of life so we can retain our hope, even in tough times.
Surrender our expectations of others (and hold onto acceptance) – Similarly, we do not control other people and, sometimes, we will be hurt by what they do. But we can practice acceptance, when we continue to share our lives with others while not depending on them to make us happy.
Surrender our compulsion for happiness (and hold onto joy) – From our perspective, life will not be fair. If we accept that as the norm, we can stop tying our happiness to our circumstances. This will help us enjoy life in the moment and appreciate our blessings a day at a time.
Surrender our unbelief (and hold onto faith) – Faith is when we make a conscious decision to trust God. We declare that God is good, and we recognize that he is bigger than our circumstances. We choose to not let what happens in the short term affect our faith in the long term.
That’s it. No magic formulas, no easy 1-2-3 answers. Simply an assurance that life can be good. And we can achieve that good life, if we choose to surrender.
And after we have done what we can adjusting our perspective? We do it again tomorrow.
Question: On a normal day, do you feel you have a realistic and healthy perspective?
Action: Pray about which of the “Surrender” items above you should focus on the most.