“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5–7, emphasis added)
Once I see something a certain way, it is so tough to see it any other way than mine. In a sense, I hold on to my understanding tightly because, in all honesty, I believe my understanding to be most trustworthy. Why? Well, I’m prideful. Furthermore, I can feel my own perceptions—which make them seem all the more real and right as opposed to someone else’s I don’t understand.
Friends have told me they can’t eat hot dogs because they puked one up as a kid. Even the thought of a hot dog makes them queazy. But really, the hot dog itself may not have been the issue; running around hours on end like a crazy person—which we all did as kids—and puking from exhaustion may have been the problem. And yet, when a hot dog wafts by something registers that experience in the brain and the result: nausea.
Far more serious than hot dog aversions are those relationship burns that shape our perspectives over the years. Plenty have gone through nasty break-ups and can’t fathom dating again. Others have had trust betrayed and are always skeptical of another’s genuineness. Some have been abused emotionally or otherwise in a church setting. Churchgoers are from then on viewed as hypocritical phonies who never practice what they preach. Yet should these past experiences govern how we understand our lives and the people in them?
Take a minute and think about 1) what your perspectives are regarding this list below and 2) how you came to those particular perspectives:
- Individuals with Special Needs
- Resolving Conflict
Knowing what your perspectives are is good, but understanding why you have them is better. And, to completely blow your minds, consider what makes your perspectives right or true.
I believe the answer to having right and true perspectives can be found in the proverb quoted above. The writer exhorts us to trust in the Lord zealously and throw out trusting in ourselves. It’s logical really: what it is the difference between a toddler’s perspective versus his father’s perspective while watching a ball game? The toddler’s knowledge might end at what colors the teams are wearing whereas the father understands much more with a longer history of watching the game. Actually the analogy might be better comparing the family dog’s perspective of the game against the father’s. Really we understand very little of the whys and whats of our world. Thus, it is vital to fully trust our world’s Creator!
And there are positive promises associated with fully trusting in God’s perspectives:
“. . . He will make straight your paths.” (v. 6b)
“It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (v. 8)
Trusting the Lord with all you got leads to knowing where you should go next, tough decisions you should make, and much more. That’s verse six. In verse eight, the promise is that by trusting God with everything we won’t ache with crippling uncertainty, but we’ll be refreshed and have a hope for our welfare in the end.
Is it easy to fully trust God over ourselves? Definitely not. Does it require a proactive, all-your-might commitment every day? Definitely yes. But there is freedom in breaking the shackles off of our own pride in our perspectives and submitting them to God.
Carefully consider what you believe and why. Make sure you’re aligning your life with God’s truth and not false, shifty perceptions. Be open to admitting where your perspectives are wrong. It may be the difference of heading in the right direction and experiencing healing and refreshment before God, who loves you and gave His Son Jesus for you.