Through Which Lens Do You View Your Situation?

July 9, 2010

“. . . and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .” 2 Corinthians 10:5

How do you view your situation and the facts of your life?  What are the “stories” you tell yourself about what you observe in your life?  Have you ever been in a situation where you felt your boss or a colleague was upset with you due to how you interpreted their words and actions to only find out later that you were totally wrong?  I have – too many times.

How you interpret the facts – the situation you’re in, greatly impacts your reactions, your judgment, your emotions, and so on.  When you interpret them through the wrong lenses – when you’re not taking every thought captive – you are usually reaching the wrong conclusion.  Do you also notice that when we so this, that we almost always go to a negative conclusion?  How many hours have you wasted on fretting over an incorrect interpretation of a situation?  Hopefully not as many as I have wasted.

As a follower of Christ, we need to be viewing things with the mind of Christ, using His Word as a filter for what we observe happening to us.  We need to pray and seek Him before reacting or making bad assumptions.

Tony Schwartz, in his book The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, talks about three lenses or ways to think about your situation before you react.

The first is the Reflective Lens and that entails asking two simple questions of yourself:

What are the facts here?” and “What is the story I am telling myself about those facts?

The Reflective Lens helps us to think about the story we’re telling ourselves, to remain curious and to give others the benefit of the doubt.

The second lens is the Reverse Lens.  That simply means trying to look at the situation through the eyes of the other person.  A good question to ask here is “What are they feeling and how does that make sense?

The third lens is the Long Lens.  This is the time when you realize that you have interpreted the situation correctly and it is a tough situation.  This allows you to look out into the future, regardless of what is going on in the present.  A couple of questions to as in this situation are, “Regardless of how I feel about what’s happening right now, how can I learn and grow from this experience?” and “Okay, how are we going to move forward?”  The Long Lens may allow you to see the potential for learning, growth, and a better future despite the current hardship.

Some good thoughts from Tony Schwartz and some handles on how you might evaluate how you are responding to a situation, more importantly however, is that you are looking at the situation with the mind of Christ and responding as He teaches – not as we naturally do.

Look at Nahum 1:7 – you will be blessed.

Have a great weekend!

BG