Perspective and Perception

perspective, perception

A still darkness rests heavily over the evening, causing the air to still. Nothing stirs, save the train in the distant, piercing the darkness as it continues along it’s course. Overhead, a sliver is moon glows brightly, almost victoriously. And everything, train excluded, is quiet.

And then where do we go from here? Are we left with what is a quiet reflective time sitting on the bench swing under the majestic oak tree? Or are we more inclined to find a blood-curdling scream piercing the idyllic silence?

Perspective matters.

Perspective is a physical thing. You see things from whatever side you’re on, and from varying angles. Maybe you’re looking down from atop the roof, or maybe you’re peering out of the basement window. Depending upon where you are, your perspective will be affected and it will change what you see, whether it be ankles or bald spots.

But perspective alone won’t solve everything.

If you’re looking for that serial killer, you can go behind the wood shed and check for him. However, when you get behind the shed, you can no longer see the front. And maybe, if the killer is at least as crafty as you are, he has slunk around to the other side of the building. Or maybe he climbed that majestic oak. Or he’s in your basement, patiently waiting for you to give up the search for him outside.

Perception matters, too.

You can never have enough perspective if your perception is skewed.

Perception is different than perspective. While perspective is the position from which you are seeing things. perception is really how you see them. This might sound like the same thing, but these are distinct terms. Perception, in it’s simplest of forms, is whether you are pessimistic or optimistic. It’s whether you expect good things or bad. Are you skeptical of trusting? Do you see opportunity and adventure, or trepidation and nervousness? That’s your perception.

Of course, your perception can by changed based on your perspective, but we’ve already covered that your perspective alone can’t help you. Your perspective will fight against you the whole time. For every dark corner that isn’t concealing an axe murderer, there are dozens more that surely are, and if your attitude is that there is something there, you will never find adequate evidence to prove otherwise.

The following quote was spoken by a John Lubbock, British statesman in the late 19th century.

[ctt title=”What we see depends mainly on what we look for. —John Lubbock” tweet=”What we see depends mainly on what we look for. —John Lubbock” coverup=”n6S3V”]

There is much truth in his statement. You will find whatever you are looking for, and what you look for is dependent upon your outlook. When you take a wrong turn on a road trip, do you find yourself frustrated because you lost an hour, or is there a level of excitement in the adventure of traveling a new road? Either way, you got lost. But the difference is in what you do with it.

We’ve heard it said that when life gives you lemons, you ought to make lemonade. However, you could just as easily squirt lemon juice in your eyes and complain about how badly it stings. It’s totally your call.

But maybe you’ve tried to see the good, and you just can’t. There are reasons for this. Maybe you have been hurt. Or maybe, for reasons like your work environment, you just see the bad in situations. (As a 911 dispatcher, I’m certainly prone to this.) It is possible that you’ve survived untold disappointments, whether absent parents, the loss of a loved one, abandonment, rejection, or who knows what else. The world is a dark place, and once that darkness gets inside of you, it isn’t quick to leave.

But what drives out the darkness? Nothing but light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:5

In other words, the light came in, and the darkness had no choice but to flee. So maybe you don’t have good perspective. Allow God to give you His perspective.

There is much said about how God views His people, and it is not much like how we view ourselves. Not that I want to minimize it, but God is optimistic. When He looks into a situation, He doesn’t see the struggles so much as the hope.

And that’s what He wants you to see, too. Do not despair

[ctt title=”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9″ tweet=”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9″ coverup=”X1DYw”]

perspective, perception


  1. Anjuli Johnson

    I love that quote you shared. What we see definitely depends on what we look for. Thank you for this post.

    1. Ryan (Post author)

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’d love to tell you that I’ve known that quote for years, but I had to go looking for it. Yeah, lame pun.


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