I started thinking about the importance of perspective a few nights ago as I was hanging things up in my new apartment. In case you've never tried, it is incredibly difficult to hang pictures and hang them straight. The picture always looks straight when you're six inches away from it. Yet I always find that it's lop-sided when I back up a few feet to examine it from a distance. You have to step away to see it clearly. You need perspective to do it right.
Perspective (according to the dictionary) is the appearance of things relative to one another as determined by their distance from the viewer. It comes from the Latin word perspicere, which means "to see clearly". Many times I get so caught up in the six inch view of life. I become absorbed in the little details and the problems and all that's going on right in front of me. When I finally step back and look at life from a few feet away, the things that seemed right at 6 inches seem absurd. How could I have thought that the picture was straight when clearly it is not? How could my judgement have been so far off?
While it helps to step back and get a new perspective yourself, the help of other people is so valuable. Other people with different perspectives can tell you when to move the picture a little to the left or right. They see things through a different view point and can help guide you when you're too caught up in the details.
Ultimately, as hard as we try, we'll never see things from the absolutely 100% correct perspective. It's impossible for us to see the full picture of how things are playing out in our own lives let alone what's happening in the lives of those around us. When I'm reminded of how poor my own planning and judgement are, I am encouraged to remember Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.""
Even though I'll never see or know the big picture of life, I think I was able to gain enough perspective to hang my pictures straight on the wall. Or maybe I didn't...you'll have to come by and let me know.