Frustrated, annoyed, or salty? Have you ever noticed that sometimes life drops a situation, a circumstance, or even a person in our path that we wouldn’t mind doing without. While we can’t usually change our situation in an instant, we still have a choice to make. We can continue to move forward grumbling and annoyed, or we can shift our perspective and walk lighter despite our challenges.
I’ve just had the opportunity to walk through such a perspective shift in the past few days. A new project at work requires that I travel to a different location twice a week. The 25 minute trip each way adds up to just shy of two hours of added travel time each week. It didn’t take too many shuttle rides to feel saltiness creeping in. Soon I began to dread those two days until… the shift happened. One morning, I felt like God whispered what you’ve been seeing as a burden is a gift. I had been looking to find time in my schedule for writing. With my schedule change, I had 50 minutes twice a week during my work day that I couldn’t actually work. But, I could use that time to work on writing my next book, read, or write my blogs. The travel time has given me quiet time, ponder time, or writing time smack dab in the middle of my day job. It wasn’t ever meant to be a burden, it was a gift. My attitude immediately shifted and my saltiness vanished. Now I look forward to my shuttle time.
3 Things you can do when you need a perspective shift:
1.Change “Have to” to. “Get to”
Typically we end the sentence “I have to” with something we dread. For years, I ended that sentence with I have to go to the gym. Or I have to lose weight. Maybe even I have to eat more vegetables. But have you noticed that what we put at the end of that sentence isn’t something we pursue joyfully? Instead it’s more of a begrudging pursuit, if we take the action at all.
To shift our perspective from burden to blessing, we need to change the sentence. I have to eat more vegetables changes to I get to choose what I eat and I’m going to choose healthier foods. Or, instead of I have to go to the gym, we can say I get to go the gym. It may not feel genuine when you first start saying I get to, but the more you use it the more it will assist your perspective shift.
2. Find the Silver Lining
It’s not easy but be persistent in your pursuit of a silver lining. A few months ago, my car engine unexpectedly had a major catastrophe. A mechanical defect took the entire engine out leaving me without a car for a number of days. In the midst of navigating without a car, my son volunteered to drop me off at work each morning while my daughter agreed to pick me up at the end of the day. I suddenly had daily one-on-one visit time with my two young adult children. My car engine dying was far from a gift but, the time with my children was priceless.
Allow yourself to step outside of your struggle and look for the unique opportunities the situation has provided. Time with people, or even time alone can both be gifts for a season. An injury that causes us to temporarily lose our mobility might be the chance we’ve been looking for to read a book, learn another language, or start a blog we’ve had on our hearts. Pray about your situation and ask God to show you any opportunities hiding in your circumstance.
3. Re-size it
Refuse to let whatever “it” is be all consuming. Don’t allow a bad moment, a difficult day, or even a tough season turn into self-talk that says it will never get better or that it will always be like it is today. Keep it contained to the space it holds and refuse to give it more room. A rough day doesn’t mean that the entire week is bad week and a tough season doesn’t mean your entire life is awful. Looking back, my extra 50 minute commute should not have stolen from the potential of the other 23 hours and 10 minutes those days offer.
When you find frustration growing, or saltiness settling in. Look for the opportunity to shift your perspective. Get rid of have to’s, look for the silver lining, and right size the issue. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a way to be thankful for what was once a burden. I know I look forward to my shuttle ride each week because it now gives me dedicated time to work on my blogs to share with you!
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