By Samuel Hammock
Our perception is important. How we feel about what we are going through is largely dictated by how our perception is in regards to the situation we are in. When it comes to our perception, we have two choices; either we have a negative perception or we have a positive perception.
Perception can have an effect on whether we grow or stand still. In some cases, our perception can allow us to go backwards in our development.
Perhaps it would be good to know what the definition of is. Perception is defined as “the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses”
As we look at this definition, we can’t help but to think about the phrase, “Is the glass half-empty or is it half- full?” Often we allow our perception to dictate how we feel and worse than that, we allow it to derail us from our blessing.
The first item that effects our perception is:
I. Our ability to see
If we can’t see, then we can’t begin to have any kind of healthy perception.
A. What causes us not to be able to see? What are we allowing to obstruct our view?
a. Is it our family? Our family has the ability to pour into us or take out of us. We have all seen examples of kids that grew up with positive things spoken over them and as a result, they became confident and assertive. On the other hand, we have seen kids who grew up around negativity. As a result, they became adults that are always negative, they don’t set goals, and they are most often pessimistic.
i. The point here is we can allow our family to block our view. You can try to have an optimistic view of an illness or a bad situation, but if they are continually speaking negativity to us, they are speaking negative thoughts about the situation. Before long, you are not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before you know it, they have talked you right out of aiming for what God has promised you.
ii. On another note, you may discuss a sermon or a belief that was spoken by your Pastor and perhaps your family, whose opinion you value, disagrees with the belief by which the sermon came from. Now you have conflict receiving the word that God is trying to speak to you over the pulpit.
b. Is it our friends? We all have those friends that we try to please, even though they never try to please us. Sometimes, one negative view from our friends can cause us to second guess the very thought that God placed inside of us. It seems that we value some of our friend’s opinion so much, that we allow it to exceed the thoughts that we have inside our own mind.
c. Is it our spirit? Do we feed the word to ourselves daily, like a healthy eating diet or on the other hand, do we watch TV shows that subliminally place thoughts in our mind that would not normally be there? For example: You never had doubt about what your spouse was doing, when he came home late from work, until you saw that show.
B. What we see is based off what we see, what we know, what we learn, what we are exposed to, and what we compare things to. You wouldn’t know you were poor, unless you came around people that could afford everything they wanted. You don’t see the inadequacies, until you measure it against something that is adequate.
Next we have,
II. Our ability to hear.
A. We have to be able to hear.-By this we mean, hear the direction that is given to us by the word of God. Sometimes we allow stuff to distract us and it blocks our line of communication with God and therefore, the direction God gives us is missed.
B. What things cause us not to be able to hear God?
1. Is it our cell phones? Is it our video games? – Have you ever noticed people in church that are on their cell phones the whole time? They may appear to be engaging in the service, but how attentive are they really, if they are focused on something else. The bible states we can’t serve two masters. Aside from this, God deserves to have our full attention. It’s like having conversation with your parents. I can hear my Dad saying right to this day, “Boy, look at me when I’m talking to you”.
a. Sometimes, Satin will use the subject matter of a text or a topic on Facebook, to change your focus. It doesn’t take but a few seconds or a few missed words to change the whole meaning of a sentence or phrase that has just been spoken from the pulpit.
2. Perhaps it is our Bae – Sometimes, duel direction can cause you to miss the boat. We are told to make our spouse happy and love our wife as Christ loved the church, so it would be real easy for us to stay home, just to make them happy.
a. Another scenario can be this. Suppose your spouse or Bae got mad about something that happened at church and as a result, decided not to go. One can feel pressured not to go to church after this, just to please the other. Even though the Holy Spirit is speaking and trying to get you to go to church, your heart may hinder your ability to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. My Pastor says all the time, “You have the spirit man and you have the carnal man and whomever and the one who is most fit, will win out every time”. Situations like this will reveal which one has been fed the most.
3. Maybe it’s family. Family can hinder what you hear thus changing your perception. You have spent your whole child life and some of your adult life being shaped and molded by what your family has taught you. Some things they have taught us was by their words and others by their influence. As a result of their teaching and their influence, you have shaped your beliefs, your morals, and your standards. something has been done to anger you, one word from your family can escalate what was done to unknown levels. Suddenly you see things about the situation that you never would have seen before. Now you don’t want to go and hear the word that was tailor made for you.
No matter what it is, we have to be able to open our minds and our hearts up, so that we may hear God. We can’t allow stuff to distract our communication with God. Even if we have to schedule time just communicate with God, this is what we have to do. One of the most important resources we have in getting though this life is hearing the word of God.
III. Awareness through our senses
A. Our senses can also affect our perception- God gave us 5 senses. We can hear, see, taste, feel, and smell. We use these senses collectively to perceive what things really are. Spiritually, things work the same way.
1. One way we sense is:
a. The Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit speaks to our heart. As a result, our spirit is open to receive what our situation presents. If our spirit is right, we are better able to receive what God has spoken to us. Also we have our sixth sense.
2. Our sixth sense – People often joke about it, but God gives us a sixth sense. It is that awareness of being able to tell what you are supposed to do or what is about to happen based on your experiences with God. Our sixth sense is a level of faith. It is an extension of our discernment. It reminds us that if God has done it before, he can do it again. It is the letting us know that our situation has come not to destroy us, but to make us strong. It gives us the confidence to know that if God allowed it, then it has to be for our good and despite how it looks, we know everything is going to be alright.
B. Our wisdom factor – This sense allows us to see things based on revelation and not on how it looks on the surface. It reminds us that if we are not where we think we ought to be, then there must be a better way or a better path that has been divinely orchestrated just for our good.
The whole point of everything is this, how you feel about the situation that you find yourself in, depends on how your perception is. Perception is simply asking yourself, do you see this as a positive or negative? Or is the glass half empty or half full?
Our perception is made up of our ability to see, our ability to hear, and our ability to become aware by the use of our senses. If we always find ourselves as having a bad perception, then perhaps we need to examine these areas and see what we can do to improve our perception and change our perspective as seeing the glass half full as opposed to half empty!