Perspective

What is perspective?

Well, it's obviously related to the way we view something. The term literally suggests "looking through . . . seeing clearly." One who views life through perspective lenses has the capacity to see things in their true relations or relative importance. He sees the big picture. She is able to distinguish the incidental from the essential . . . the temporary from the eternal . . . the partial from the whole . . . the trees from the forest.

The artist without perspective is, in Shakespeare's words, "weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable." The leader without it is visionless, intimidated, vulnerable, and overly concerned with public opinion.

Perspective, you see, adds a breath of fresh air to the otherwise suffocating demands of life. It opens new dimensions that enable us to cope with the predictable . . . it eases the tyranny of the urgent. Perspective provides needed space.

Perspective encourages the new mother: "Life is more than changing diapers, warming bottles, and rocking babies to sleep." It helps convince the young medical intern "these long months of training and sleepless nights are worth it all. Stay alert. Your whole future is at stake."

To the struggling businessman who has a tough series of weeks, perspective brings hope and the promise of a brighter day tomorrow.

And who needs perspective more than teachers? Day in and day out, the endless grind of the classroom can drain the river of determination and creativity until it becomes a mere trickle of frustration and discouragement. But let that educator catch a renewed glimpse of the impact his or her life is having upon students and the ultimate difference it will make in their future . . . and the flow of new ideas will likely return in torrents.

Many things help prompt perspective. Quietness. A walk in a forest. Time spent along the roaring surf. A view from a mountain. Poetry. Travel. A stroll through an old graveyard. An evening beside a fireplace. Camping out under the stars. A visit to historical landmarks. Protracted times of prayer. Deep, profound strains of music. Meaningful worship. Meditation upon Scriptures. A leisurely drive at sunset.

On such occasions time stands still. The chips of insignificance fall away as the broad images of truth emerge in the monuments of our minds. We begin to see more clearly as the fog lifts . . . and we are running no longer. Or confused. Or angry. Or overwhelmed. Or afraid.

Could such places of perspective be considered "shelters of the Most High"? When we are there, could we be "abiding in the shadow of the Almighty" which David mentions in Psalm 91?

If so, isn't it about time you found a shelter of perspective in His shadow?

Perspective adds a breath of fresh air to the otherwise suffocating demands of life.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Excerpt taken from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. For additional information and resources visit us at www.insight.org.

When I Lay My Isaac Down