Four Ways We Need To Change Our Perspective On Our Problems
Have you ever felt slimed by an email? I mean, have you ever gotten an email that oozes with shame, judgment, and anger – all ‘in the name of Jesus?’ Ever felt the sting of someone else’s defenses because you wouldn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, abandon your boundaries, or share in their drama?
It began with an email I received from an acquaintance who had gotten caught up in a series of poor choices, followed by some fairly unpleasant consequences. They were angry that I wouldn’t let them off the hook. They expected me to give in. They demanded I show them grace.
Didn’t they know the difficult road I have walked to conquer my fears, heal my wounds, and develop the ability to even have a boundary, much less enforce one?
I do understand. We all at some point want, perhaps even expect someone else to let us off the hook from honoring our word or our responsibilities. I have been there. Even this week as I realized how over-scheduled I was, I wanted to bail on something, anything, that would give me a little more downtime, a little more breathing room. I recognized that I had not done a good job at drawing boundaries and I was left to pay the price. I was over-leveraged and severely under-nurtured. I wanted to be let out of honoring my word. I wanted someone else to solve my problem.
We grow myopic in our perspective, we believe our situation is ‘special,’ and we are all left battered and bruised by the disappointed expectations we have from just about everyone in our lives. When is our word our word? When do we shine Christ by allowing those in our world to see that we honor our commitments, we follow-through, we are trustworthy?
We honor our commitments, even when it is difficult, expensive, or inconvenient. Michael Hyatt
Our faith and our character grow as we look to God to rescue us in our mess, not look to others to rescue us from our mess. God does allow others to be a part of our healing story, yet God should be at the center of our healing story. Grace is never demanded, only freely given, when God prompts.
We should look to God to rescue us in our mess, not look to others to rescue us from our mess.Click To Tweet
Others can be a part of our healing story, yet God should be at the center of our healing story. Click To Tweet
Instead we think to ourselves…
Surely, she’ll understand…
But my situation is different…
If she was more Christ-like, she would…
These are lies, all lies we tell ourselves to keep us believing that we are the victims and that other people are ruthless tyrants, holding us back or keeping us down. In truth, we are not victims, as I’ve come to recognize on my own broken, uneven journey.
No one is responsible for our poor choices but us. No one is evil or selfish for maintaining their boundaries. Really.
We are destroying the power of our testimony at the hands of our selfishness. We are clamoring, scurrying, demanding our agenda be served, our need be honored, and in the process we’re losing our strength, our relationships, and our witness. Scripture describes this in both the Old and New Testaments, powerfully saying,
If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Numbers 30:2, ESV
But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him. 1 John 2:5, ESV
What you gain from not honoring your word in the short-term is miniscule compared with what you will lose in your character and reputation. A house divided against itself cannot stand. When we lose sight of the larger picture, the incongruity of our words and actions will destroy our foundation as well as any kingdom work we might undertake. Here are some other options we can all consider whenever we feel backed into a corner:
Look within to find the answers to our problems.
We need to memorize the words in Psalm 46:1 that say, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Someone else cannot be the answer to our problems. Only God can be our refuge, our covering, our strength. Only He can hold us and sustain us, giving us understanding, wisdom and direction in the midst of our circumstances. We diminish God’s power and our own resilience when we depend solely on external means to resolve our problems. God has a miracle for you. It just might not come in the form you expect or perhaps demand.
Spend more energy in learning from our mistakes rather than trying to get out of them.
Sometimes we make choices born of emotion, impulsive reactions, honest means. When these choices bring untimely or unfortunate consequences, God allows the consequences as a natural expression of His love. He often uses the circumstances in our lives to teach us, to impart wisdom, and to mature us for our future steps in life. He has called each of us for a purpose. He needs to grow us and prepare us for whatever lies ahead. The only tragic mistake is the wasted mistake.
Look outside of our perspective to see someone else’s perspective.
Because someone is not able to give us what we want doesn’t mean they are wrong, unloving, or un-Christlike. There is another side, another perspective. We all are naturally attuned to our unique viewpoint, yet we limit our growth when we fail to acknowledge or understand another person’s perspective or boundaries. Look beyond your thoughts, feelings, wants and needs, to show respect and consideration for the thoughts, feelings, wants and needs of someone else.
Show respect for other’s boundaries.
Yes, other people have boundaries, too. Boundaries are not just meant to keep us safe, they are meant to help others take care of themselves as well. Being a Christian does not mean being a doormat. Being a Christian means that we listen to the Holy Spirit inside of us and learn to honor His leading. It means we learn to develop and enforce healthy boundaries for ourselves in order to more wisely and powerfully invest ourselves in the work to which God has called us. It means we are sensitive to knowing the situations where He wants us to participate, as well as situations where He has not called us to participate.
In my new book Peace For A Lifetime, I share more about the skills we need to cultivate a life of abundance and peace. Life doesn’t simply happen to us. We can develop new ways of living, not just for ourselves, but for the future of our children and our families.
If you’d like to learn more about the book, click here.
As we do these things – look within, learn from our mistakes, see another point of view, and show respect for other’s boundaries – we will be shining a great light of God’s glory, His love, His power from the testimony of His provision and handiwork in our lives. We will be living as the body was intended to live. We will be bearing much fruit. We will be living lives of abundance. We will experience indestructible peace.
Have you ever felt the sting of someone else’s defenses? Ever been battered because of your boundaries?
I’d love to hear your comments.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, coffee lover, and wife. My hope is to provide a compassionate place in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life. At heart, I am just a Southern girl who loves beautiful things, whether it is the beauty of words found in a deeply moving story, the beauty of a meal cooked with love, the beauty of a cup of coffee with a friend, or the beauty seen in far away landscapes and cultures. I have fallen passionately in love with the journey and believe it is among the most beautiful gifts to embrace and celebrate. While I grew up in the Florida sunshine, I now live just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN with my husband and Shih-tzu, Sophie.
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
I’d love to connect on Facebook: Lisa Murray, author
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891
Join the Peace for a Lifetime Community!