If you’ve ever listened to two people describe the same thing — like a movie, an event, a sermon, or a book — you’ve seen the difference a person’s perspective can make. Our perspective is more than a point-of-view, it’s how we perceive and process the world around us.
I can choose to grumble as I clean my house or pick up after my people, or I can see these as opportunities to serve my family. One perspective brings bitterness and dissatisfaction, the other brings contentment.
Because we see the world from our own, individual points of view, our perspectives are unique. Sometimes sharing that perspective is a gift to someone who doesn’t see what you see.
A friend of mine kept a foster child in her home for 14 months; she and her family loved this precious little boy as one of their own. Recently and unexpectedly, the state returned him to his parents, which may not be the best situation for him. My friend not only aches for the child but worries about him too, especially since his parents moved to a distant part of the state and cut off communication both with her and their local family members.
My friend has no choice but to move on with her life, but she feels the loss. It hurts to see the sadness in her eyes. But of all the friends who have tried to comfort her, it was a simple word from my 16-year-old son that made a difference. Here’s what my friend posted on Clayton’s Facebook wall last month on his birthday:
2 weeks ago, after the Toddler left, many of you reached out in prayer, support and encouragement. It still means the world to me. One post in particular stuck out to me and was actually a game changer for me in my grieving. It said, “Aw . . . I love [foster son]. I hope and pray his parents are amazing!”
And it was right then, that I prayed fervently for them to be amazing. I pray that word every day. Amazing.
Happy 16th birthday, Clayton Camp. You are wise beyond your years and a blessing to know.
Sometimes I hesitate to share my heart, and perhaps you do too. But maybe our simple words can positively shift the perspective of a friend. Even one word can make a difference. That one word — amazing — gave direction and focus to my friend’s prayers.
It gave her hope.
A few years ago when our house was for sale, I realized my prayers were only about us: Please let our house sell quickly so that we can buy the house we want to purchase. It was when I began to pray for our buyers that my attitude changed: Lord, our home will be a blessing and a home to some family who is searching for a house. Please bring those people to us.
That shift in perspective changed my thinking and released a weight from my shoulders. I began to pray earnestly for the family who would live in our house, and when they arrived, we all realized it immediately. There were things about our neighborhood and home that resonated with them and reflected their prayers also.
It was a spiritually powerful moment with people we’d never met. We turned down a higher offer because we felt so strongly that these were the people meant to live in our home.
If our perspectives have the power to shape our attitudes, then there will be times we need to ask ourselves: Is my perspective biblical?
Are there areas in your life where your perspective needs to change?
Do you know of a situation where sharing your perspective could help a friend?
Michele Morin says
What a crucial (and cruciform!) way of viewing the world, and best of all, it kicks me out of the center of the universe.
Dawn Camp says
It does, right? And that is not instinctively where we put ourselves. Yesterday morning I struggled with a situation where—like you said—I’d put myself in the middle. I needed our Sunday morning sermon to wake me up and shift my perspective.
Dawn, love this outlook. Thank you. ❤️
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What a great and convicting question to chew on! Does my perspective line up with scripture? This makes me think of Philippians 4:8… Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…. How many times does my perspective focus on the negative, the what’s in it for me, the worst possible outcome? I know it’s human nature, but I need to put it up against scripture and if it doesn’t line up, then it’s a clear sign my attitude and perspective needs changing. Awesome post and question, Dawn. Blessings to your friends for the hard role they fill and to your incredible son!
Dawn Camp says
Thank you, Bev. I asked my friend if I could use her story, without the names, and she generously said yes. I’m glad my son played a positive part in it. I can learn from that boy sometimes.
Robin Day Mathews says
This was powerful and what I needed to help me redirect my thoughts and focus from the areas I deem weak about my life. Today I chose to have a different perspective.
Dawn Camp says
Robin, I hope you were able to shift your perspective!
Beth Williams says
You have an incredible son!! More people should view life from an eternal perspective. We need to be more fervent in our praying. Human nature says life isn’t fair. If we focused solely on the bad & not the good we can be discouraged. Praying about situations can help change our focus. What does it matter the type of work & pay you get? Be thankful for what God is providing & use the opportunity to bless others. Like Bev said we need to think on what is true, right, pure, noble, etc. God can help get us into a right attitude.
Dawn Camp says
My son is a gem. Yes, God can help us realign our attitude and perspective with His.
Sharon McRoy says
Thank you for that profound insight, Dawn. I strive to make my prayer time more about God and less about needs and me, but it is all too easy to bog down in me-me-itis. By sincerely praying (positively) for the “other party”, we will experience spiritual growth, discover a renewed purpose and inner peace and satisfaction.
Dawn Camp says
Praying for the other party is not our natural instinct, is it? But yes, it can shift our perspective in a positive way!
Thank you for this timely message. Yesterday was Sunday. Finally a chance to exhale and spend some quiet time with God. As I sat reading a Bible study, I was almost launched out of my chair by a startle reflex. There was an incredible boom outside my backyard. We live in the country, and my yard is surrounded with towering trees and thick undergrowth. I stepped out onto my back deck to listen and see if I could discern what the boom had been. I yelped as several more booms occurred, but this time I knew what it was. My new neighbors who live near the road had come to the back of their 5 acres, which is adjacent to my backyard, and were firing some amazingly robust firearms. My dogs cowered in the house, refusing to come out. I hoped and prayed that they weren’t drinking and knew about basic firearm safety. This activity went on for hours. It is not illegal where we live to discharge firearms on your property. I could not see them for the trees. And they could not see me. I was so angry as I realized my new neighbors are firearm enthusiasts. Has my sweet paradise where I spend time with God and studying His word come to an end? I thought of many ways to make my point. Doing things that would annoy them and make their horses nervous, etc. But God laid on my heart that perhaps trying a bit of hospitality and inviting them to a barbeque in the backyard might be more effective. Rather than a nuisance, this might actually be an opportunity to reach out to my new neighbors with an open heart and an open door. I have decided this is what I will do. I don’t know if it will work, but I will pray that it does. Please pray for me in this endeavor. It is way, way outside my comfort zone. And thank you for this message. It has encouraged me to look at things from a more eternal point of view rather than my own narrow focus.
Dawn Camp says
Liz, this is a big outreach—a barbecue for the neighbors! I would love to hear more about this and if you do it. 🙂
Eunice B says
Dawn, thank you for sharing this sweet testimony! You are raising your son well, and it’s a blessing to hear how such a huge impact can be made with one “simple” word! Thank you for the reminder that our words truly do hold power…life or death…and allowing God to use my tongue needs to be my daily prayer. <3
Lynn D. Morrissey says
This is such a wonderful post, dear Dawn, and so true. And often, when we shift our perspective, we see things through another person’s experience, walk around in his shoes. It has helped me to be far more compassionate, for one. This happened when I welcomed our daughter’s Muslim friend into our home and got to know him personally. I shifted my fearful perspective from all the news I’d heard on Christian radio, particularly, and got to know him as a person–and trusted my daughter’s judgment. He is a loving, kind boy and members of his family in the Middle East live in fear of their lives. Talk about a perspective shift. I had actually feared him–a “him” I’d not even known. My fears weren’t based on reality. His for his family were. He’s back home now, but stays in touch with us and remains a good friend. He brought my daughter such comfort recently at the death of her cousin. I’m so glad God lifted the blinders from my eyes, opening them to the perspective of loving my neighbor, whoever he happened to be.
You are so so on point! I think this is why so many of Jesus’ miracles involved vision because He wants us to have “eyes to see” the way He sees. Oh that we would have eternal perspective. Oh that we would have heavenly perspective. Thank you for these grace words today.
Rebecca L Jones says
That’s the way most things are perception and deception. Try to see God’s ways and know the devil is deception.
Thanks, exactly what I needed today…. how you look at things certainly change the way you respond to them.
Amy Maffei says
What a fantastic read! It is such a small world! I actually know the family you were talking about with the toddler. I just recently met her through another good friend. And then after talking with my parents, I realized that some of their newly met and quickly named very good friends are the parents/in-laws of that family as well. We are all so connected in this world and we don’t even realize it. I find comfort in that for some reason and it is so true about perspective and changing someone’s life; as you never know you might just change someone’s life through someone else. I’m always amazed at how “small” our world is yet so vast and big at the same time. God certainly is quite amazing!
Enjoyed your post. Sometimes we try to hard to say the “right” thing, to force a perspective shift in another. I love how your son spoke out of who he is and from that place he was heard by your friend.