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Perception is Reality

Dr. Shane

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Have you heard that perception is reality?  An old episode of the Dick Van Dike show started with an argument between Dick and his wife, Mary.  Dick then goes off to the office and tells his version of what happened.  Mary gets on the phone, calls a friend, and tells her version of what happened.  The viewer gets to see all three versions.  In a very real sense, I believe that God is the viewer of human history.  That is, God sees things as they actually happen.  Each of us only sees our perception.  Like Dick and Mary, we each have our own version of the events that occur in our lives.  Our perception is our reality.  That doesn't mean it is accurate but for the person experiencing it, their perception is their reality.

Many problems that we face in life are problems because of the way we frame them.  Framing a problem is how we perceive it.  Your car will not start in the morning.  You start to panic.  You worry about not getting to work.  Maybe you will lose your job. You have to pay rent and don't have money to fix the car.  You don't have a lot of control over the situation.  Your anxiety is getting out of control.  Your neighbor across the street has the same problem.  She calmly calls her boss, informs her that she will be taking the bus to work and thus will arrive late.  She calls a mechanic and asks him to go look at her car.  She too has to pay rent and doesn't have money to repair her car.  But, she figures she will be able to work out payment arrangements with the mechanic or borrow money from her boss or a family member.  She thinks "these things work out."  The worse case will be that she has to use the bus for a few weeks.  These two people, had the same problem but framed it differently.  Other examples of people doing this are endless.

For those of us that believe in God, our faith allows us to frame our problems in a more positive life.  I lost a job not too long ago.  I carpool with my wife so I informed her about it that day when I picked her up from work.  I had reason to panic but for some reason I just felt I was up for the challenge, whatever it was in front of me.  After giving her the news, I said, we will see what God has planned for me now.  I had changed my profile on LinkedIn while I was waiting for her.  By the time we got home, I had gotten a message sent to my LinkedIn inbox asking me to call him the next day.  I called the next day and he made me a job offer on the phone.  My new office actually turned out to be closer to my wife's place of employment.  Things turned out well for us.  I could have panicked for nothing.  Not all stories end so nicely.  However, the way we frame our circumstances determine, in a large part, how we perceive them.  And, perception is reality. 


Pastoral Family Counselor... Find me at www.PostumCafe.com

Author of  Peculiar Christianity

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