So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Cor. 4:18
In a meeting with some men a few weeks ago the discussion went to dealing with people, challenging people in particular. We talked about how, if we aren’t careful, they can get their hooks into us and take us down some unhealthy paths. Then one of the guys said something that while simple, struck me as a big deal. “We have a choice.” And he is right. We have a choice as to how we respond.
As I thought more about this simple idea, I realized that “Choice” has a close friend, and its name is “Perspective”. Choice and Perspective are joined at the hip. We make better choices with better perspective. Let me give you a couple examples to illustrate this idea and get you thinking.
A customer wants you to throw in an extra item that would cost you $300. They think that since they paid you $10,000 for the project that you should give it to them. They become adamant. You explain that it would be reasonable for them to pay the $300 given that you had no reason to have built it into the original cost. Based on principle you could stand your ground. As they press you, your blood pressure begins to rise, and you lose some sleep over it. Perspective then taps you on the shoulder. In its small quiet voice Perspective asks you a question, “Is $300 worth high blood pressure, the loss of sleep and the cost of all that in the long run?” You still have a choice, but you are making it in light of Perspective’s insight.
A family member says something rude to you and hurts you. They don’t think that much of it, but it sticks with you driving a wedge between the two of you. Years go by and you rarely talk anymore. You have a right to be upset after all. They should ask for forgiveness. The trouble is, they have moved on and you are the only one who is stuck. Then one day the phone rings and it is Perspective on the line. As Perspective is prone to do, it asks a hard question, “When you are old and have lived years with a broken relationship, will you be glad you chose a spirit of bitterness and unforgiveness? Will it have been worth it?”
Most of what seeks to upset us and sidetrack us simply will not matter in the long run. $300 will not keep you from retiring. A comment by others does not say anything about your identity. Forgiving someone who has hurt you does not mean it was ok. You are simply getting Choice and Perspective together for a conversation and then deciding what to do in light of that conversation.
We will always have choices to make and without the light of perspective we can be prone to make bad ones. If you are in the middle of a challenging situation this week, don’t forget to pause and get your two friends, Choice and Perspective together.
“It’s our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises.” – Alexandra Bracken
Live on purpose,