Friday, March 1, 2013

Changing your perspective - seeing your obstacles as God's opportunities

One of the biggest blocks to reclaiming our lives and experiencing Eden, is often the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.  Many of us look at our challenges as obstacles without realizing that those very experiences can be a doorway into miracles -- our very dreams come true.  Particularly when we are in the wilderness, we can become so used to the discomfort of transition that rather than seeing this time of growth as a temporary passage, we make it a permanent lifestyle.  Because we're too afraid to claim what lies ahead, we hold on to old stories or create new ones that make us believe we are unworthy of getting to the other side.  Yet, the truth of the matter is that it is in the going through process that we are strengthened, our faith is built and our relationship with God is deepened in intimacy.  

changing perspective seeing like God

In many ways, our obstacles are a gift - an opportunity for us to remember that we are worthy: before we were even born, God knew us and set us apart for great things.  He comforts and supports us in our times of trouble.  And who we are -- our identity as His -- is secure. 

Critical to my own journey of healing and forgiveness has been learning to see as God sees.  For both my parents and myself, I've had to examine the limiting beliefs that entrapped us.  My parents’ behavior stemmed from their own pain and struggles with self-worth, and I knew I did not want to repeat the cycle.  That has meant both learning to see their heart's struggles with compassion and prayerfully examining what I can learn from their lives so that I do not recycle their stories into mine.  A central question for me is what is the life I want to live?  You see, our lives are always talking, so at some point you will have to examine what is the story that you want your life to tell. 

The good news is that God already has written the story of your life.  Unfortunately, many of us are holding ourselves back from enjoying the experiences of life that God has planned for us.  So, how do we change our perspective to match God's?

1) Trust Him.  I know this statement seems very basic.  But trusting God is the foundation of your journey through this human experience.  Our ability to surrender, to let go, to cast our cares on Him, to lay our burdens down, to enter His rest, to approach our lives with wonder and expectancy is to know at the level of our souls that whatever is happening, God is with us. 

I remember in college, when I first started developing my own personal relationship with God, I was so condemning of myself.  I felt like everything I read about God could not possibly be for me.  I would go to church and cry my eyes out because I did not think it possible that God could really love me.  I would read the Bible and tell myself, oh, that will never be me, I will never have that, that doesn’t apply to me.  But, over the years, as God has lovingly nurtured me and shown me how He has never left my side, I now can open the Bible and be filled with amazement!  I read the scripture now and I am excited about what is promised and what is in store for us.  I can look at my life with great thanks and see where God has been present and how those very promises in the Word are in fact now operating in my life. 

To get to that place of joy, I had to understand that no matter what is happening, God is for me.  The Word says, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose.”  God works for our good and we have been called for a higher purpose.  He has great plans for our lives that will be fulfilled; we just need to trust him. 

2) Claim your power.  This is a key step that many of us miss.  In some of His last words to the disciples, Jesus says, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these . . ." Jesus continues with the familiar promise that whatever we ask in His name, He will do. However, so often we gloss over this first part -- the fact that we have power to do even greater things than Jesus accomplished in His ministry!

Throughout His time on earth, Jesus consistently points out what is possible if we only believe (Matthew 9; Mark 11).  He wanted His life and ministry to be examples of the power we have to change the world.  The Word says, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  In what ways are you  limiting your power?

We must remember that we are chosen.  We have the strength of God.  All things are possible.  We must reprogram our beliefs to assert that we have the power to overcome any obstacles that block us from what God has in store for us.

3) Renew your mind.  You can see how when you're caught in negative thinking and limiting beliefs, your life plays out.  When you think that everyone is out to get you, you interpret others' actions accordingly to confirm this.  When you do not have a strong sense of self, your interactions with everyone become reflections of your insecurities.  You constantly feel rejected.  You are defensive.  You walk in fear. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  You see, when you put your mind on God, on things above, and begin to walk by faith, you create a space for new thoughts -- of victory, joy, peace, and love to pour out from your spirit.  That is what He wills for you. 

I want to encourage you that any moment is an opportunity to start anew.  The Bible says that if anyone is in Christ he is already a new creation.  Behold the old has passed, the new has come!  You just have to claim it. 

In the newness, you will see as God sees.  A new heaven and a new earth will emerge, reconciled.  The former things will not be remembered; they will be erased from your mind.  In place of pain and sorrow, there will only be joy.  You will know that God dwells within you; and that you are His.  You will live freely, receiving all that is your inheritance.  And you will know in your soul the truth of His promise that "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Amen.

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