assuming the best in others {lessons in the desert}

Another week, another excursion in the desert.  But the truth is, once you know you are there, and really let that sink in, there is a small part of you that is almost OK with being there.  I'm not saying I like it here per say but I know that I know that there is good purpose here.  I know that God loves me enough to not let me "be" and instead gently leads me by the hand to say "it's time to take things to the next level but for that to happen, you have to get unsettled".   I know that He teaches me in the desert.  I know how desert trips have changed me for the MUCH better in the past and part of me is very, VERY content to be here with Him.

So I have been listening.  I sit with my ears and heart perched for Him to speak.  I am doing several devotionals and reading scripture multiple times a day because I KNOW He is speaking and I want to hear him, another perk of a repeat trip to the desert, you know He isn't bringing you here to hang out.  {if you are interested I do devotionals on my iPad with "the bible app" (first one that comes up, looks like a little brown book) and I am currently doing "streams in the desert", "forgiveness - 40 days" and my bible in a year plan is "solid life reading plan", message translation", and I also do a mini-study with my "verse of the day"}.

Anyways.  For the last week I have heard two words on repeat from Him:

Perspective: a mental view or prospect.  


Perception: the way you think about or understand someone or something.

And here is what I am hearing.

We each have a perspective by which we view others.  We can't easily control this one because it is often formed by experience, our current emotions, our thoughts, knowledge, memories, etc.  It seems to be more instinctual than anything if we let it.   It can also be changed by our actual PHYSICAL location and the environment around us.

Our perceptions, in contrast are the way we choose to think about or understand our PERSPECTIVES in regard to someone or something.  I've come to understand perception to be how we choose to filter and regulate our perspectives.      

And once I understood that, God has repeatedly informed me that there is only one way to perceive others: "In love".  We are called to assume the best in others and forget the rest.  We would like to be able to rationalize our thoughts about people, events and circumstances as "observations" when really they are JUDGEMENTS.  We are not called to be the judge and jury.  We are called to love, pure and simple. 

That doesn't mean we are doormats to others or have to tolerate abuse or someone elses negative perceptions.  We can remove ourselves out from under those but even then, we are to assume the best about those people behaving poorly towards us and move on. 

The best part is that there are no qualifiers.  No "if, thens". 

I've been working on this this week.  There are several people in my REAL life that I am choosing to assume the best of.  I am assuming they are acting out of LOVE and then moving forward as though my chosen positive assumption are correct.  And what is great about this is how freeing it is.  Choosing this path frees me from hurt, and anger, and from having to please others.

And it works both ways.  If we assume good intentions and we act with good intentions, we are free from the negative perceptions of others because we KNOW our intentions please the Father.

In fact, with a certain issue I had this week, I considered changing a behavior based on my hopes of changing someones perception of me (in fact this happened twice this week, sometimes God really wants to make sure I learn something), as SOON as my thoughts went this way I heard God clearly say to me

"Would you really consider changing something I have said is OK in order to please ONE person?"  

And honestly that correction stunned me.  It was a wake up call to behaviors where I may be leaning more towards pleasing others than pleasing Him and that is a dark road that I don't want to go down.

Sometimes we have to condition ourselves to trust HIM where He has led us and come away from what feels "nice" aka pleasing others.

And pleasing others seems so much more natural.

Anyway, that's where I am at this week.  I actually woke up excited this Monday morning, eager to listen for the next lesson. 

My perception of the desert has changed dramatically from when I first came here because I am choosing to believe that God has brought me here for good.

Is there something in your life that could use a little change of perception? 


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