Power of Perspective

Robert - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on January 14, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Every single morning, I have the same breakfast routine. I consume a bowl of Grape Nuts with milk, two packets of string cheese, applesauce, and a bottle of water while reading a Motor Trend magazine. But this morning was different. When I groggily stumbled downstairs for breakfast, my favorite automotive publication was missing. A little frustrated that my carefully thought out routine had been thwarted so easily, I settled for a Fellowship of Christians Athletes (FCA) magazine that my dad had left lying on the kitchen counter. An article about an Ole Miss basketball player named Alliesha Easley whose world was turned upside down by her parents’ divorce and a major leg injury caught my eye. Despite Easley’s difficult circumstances, she was able to find comfort in Jesus Christ. Gaining a proper perspective from the Bible was the first step down the road to recovery. I believe in the power of perspective.

After finishing the article, I recognized the incredible amount of discontent in my own life. Instead of counting my numerous blessings, I tend to focus on things I don’t have. With my insatiable appetite for consumer electronics, I grumble and complain because my friend has a brand new iPhone and I don’t. While I already have a perfectly good cell phone, I covet the gorgeous touchscreen display and music playing capabilities of Apple’s latest technological marvel. The FCA article really convicted me and helped me remember all the things I do have. The first thing that came to mind was the fact that my parents are still together. So many people, like the basketball player from Ole Miss, have experienced the real hardship and heartache of divorce, and it is only by the grace of God that my parents remain committed to each other in marriage. By the time I was finished thinking, I felt so much better. The discontent and frustration were replaced by a peace and calm only God could provide.

Teenagers, especially in the United States, are obsessed with celebrities. Judging by the number of People Magazines that fly off the shelves everyday, it is safe to say that we are hungry for the latest piece of celebrity gossip. Personally, I get caught up at the doctor’s office. While waiting in the lobby, I am invited to select a magazine from the rack. Most of us, when faced with such a decision, would choose US Weekly over Time Magazine. I’m sorry, but the financial crisis can wait until after I read about Jennifer Aniston’s latest catfight with Angelina Jolie. What exactly is so fascinating about the histrionic antics of the rich and famous? Some would say movie stars are enthralling because their lives seem so different from the majority of the population. Is it worth it, though? Are they really happy? Take Tom Brady for example. On the surface, he has everything you could want. Brady earns a gigantic salary, dates a supermodel, and dominates the football gridiron. Still, he yearns for something more. In a life devoid of meaning, the NFL quarterback goes from one thing to the next trying to fill the emptiness in his heart. Is that the kind of life we, as teenagers, want?

Everyone would benefit from having a better perspective. All of us have been unhappy with the situations we find ourselves in. In those times of dissatisfaction, it is important to understand that God sovereignly controls everything. The Lord gives and takes away in order to make us more like Christ. He wants everyone to find contentment in his or her current circumstances. Especially in American society, we need to realize that material possessions don’t equal happiness. For instance, the indigent inhabitants of Haiti have absolutely nothing yet they can be extraordinarily happy. If they know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, they are able to recognize that someday life will get better. Trusting in God to provide for their needs, the poor enjoy a tremendous hope for the future. Isn’t that a powerful perspective worth pursuing?