Perspective: Hindsight for 2021
A devotional by Erin M. Handley
“Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.”
– Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
There is a difference between receiving something that has been given to you and taking what is readily available although it is not necessarily meant for you.
Recognizing this small, yet valuable distinction calls for an attentiveness to your situations and surroundings. It calls for you to shift your perspective just as you would adjust your eyes to refocus your vision.
The purpose of refocusing your vision is to see things differently than you did before and possibly be able to see something new. To do so, you must take a literal step to see beyond what you are presently concentrating on. Be it a step forward to maximize your focus on a particular focal point, or a step back to see the bigger picture and recognize more than what you were originally focusing on. A shift in perspective calls for a step of some degree to be taken. But that step can only be taken if the person makes the decision to do so.
Much like the backwards poems many of us have read where the poem takes on a completely new meaning when you read it from the bottom up, or maybe the pictures that use multiple images to create one new image…the idea presented with these creative expressions is that each person initially sees something different each time they change their point of view.
When you ask many people about their 2020 experience, they would likely speak on the death, job loss, economic despair, natural disasters, political unrest, and social injustices that all seemed to occur simultaneously. Many express a disdain for 2020 like no other and can easily recount all things lost and ways they suffered that year. Some would be able to go on and on about how much they hated 2020 … and on and on and on …
Then there are some who will tell you that 2020 was the greatest year of their life. I know many who have persevered through 2020 and have come out with stories of how they are better for it. Graduations. New jobs. New relationships. I have one friend who launched a non-profit, bought a new car, a house, and got married … all before August 2020.
Granted, my friend and the countless others who can share 2020 success stories were still affected by all of the happenings of 2020. Those issues surrounded them and impacted their lives much like they did everyone else’s. However, they chose to see life through a different lens and make the most of what 2020 had to offer. They chose to be intentional about monitoring their perspective. And you can, too.
While we are acknowledging what we lost in 2020, let’s also think about what we gained. We all at some point may have had to self-quarantine, but did we leverage this as an opportunity to rest and slowdown from our fast-paced, everyday lifestyles? Some lost jobs and experienced financial hardships. But did we recognize and leverage them as opportunities to rethink career choices and possibly tap into new skillsets?
In Philippians 4:11, Paul reminds us that in whatever situation we are to be content. He didn’t say depending on the situation, he said whatever the situation. Psalm 119:18 (ESV) says to "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law." So, while the world around us may be falling apart, it is our duty to set our minds on things above, and not on things on earth (Colossians 3:2). Each of these scriptures ultimately challenge us to shift our focus for the benefit of our sanity.
Since we are still in the first quarter of 2021, please allow me to remind you to be more intentional about your perspective. I challenge you to take a moment and reflect on your present situation and surroundings. If you find that there are specific areas in your life that could use a shift in perspective, shift it now. Shifting your perspective now will prepare you to receive the best this year has to offer you. Shift so that you are able to receive everything God has in store for you!
Let’s Pray: Father, thank you for reminding us to shift our focus back to you when we become distracted by the things going on around us. I ask that you continue to show us grace every time we fail to see you in our situations; and let us remember that despite the chaos that may ensue around us, You have orchestrated how we will be covered through it all. May we remember that you are gracious and kind, and that everything you do serves a much larger purpose for your Kingdom. All these things we ask in Jesus’s Name. Amen.
With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts.
While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.
For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.
With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education. Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.