Not long ago I listened as a friend confided some problems she was facing. It seemed to her that her whole life was a mess, but it really wasn’t. I was able to see a few key adjustments she could make to reverse course and feel peace again.
Fast forward to just a few days ago when I faced a problem that frustrated me, and I felt like withdrawing from those around me.
Why was I able to clearly see the answer for someone else but not for myself?
It’s called the 10,000 foot view! When we rise up above the minutia and details of our lives, we get perspective. It’s "seeing the forest in spite of the trees.” Often, we have a 10,000 foot view of the problems of other people, but we are too mired in the details to have the same view of our own problems.
Check out what the apostle Paul wrote:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT
The bottom line is Paul challenged us to have a 10,000 foot view of our own problems. He preached that if Christians rise up above the frustrations and hurt that our problems bring, we will see the bigger picture. As leaders, we must have this perspective.
From the 10,000 foot view, here are some things we'll be able to see:
1. We'll see how our problems build up endurance (which means the next problem won’t trip us up quite as badly as the last one).
2. We'll learn that our ability to endure difficulties builds a strong character (which prevents us from wallowing in self pity, and instead, makes us models to follow).
3. We'll learn that our strong character makes us confident in our salvation (which brings purpose and peace).
If we could learn to pause in the midst of our problems to gain the 10,000 foot view, we would benefit immensely. I’m convinced our problems, though just as difficult, wouldn’t keep us down for long should we stumble. Just look at Paul. He faced unbelievable circumstances: betrayal, threats, misunderstanding, jail, beatings, and loneliness. The list goes on. His problems were difficult, but he wrote often of his joy, his purpose, and his willingness to keep going.
How could we gain a better perspective on our problems? Could we talk to a trusted friend? Could we make a pro/con list? Could we read Scriptures for insight? Could we pray? Could we read a book for help? Could we seek the counsel of a coach?
What steps can you take to “pause” in the midst of a problem and gain a 10,000 foot view for perspective?