Need a change of perspective?

Giant PebblePerspective changes things. From one angle something can seem small and insignificant. From another, it can appear large or even dominant. A small pebble on a beach can appear to be a large boulder, with the distant sea now merely a backdrop.

We have a great deal of choice about how we look at things. We can skip over the details and take in the wider picture, or we can get in close and examine the tiniest speck. Changing perspective means we have to do something about it – we need to move.

This can also be true about how we “see” things in our lives. Our current perspective will cause some things, whether they are events, people, ideas or something else, to look either larger or smaller. Their apparent importance and impact may vary depending on how we are looking at things at the time.

A shift of perspective might enable us to realise that we’ve been caught up too much in the details, or maybe we’re so obsessed with the big picture that we can’t see the small things any longer. Either way, a change of perspective might help us to appreciate differently the balance of elements in our life.

Faith in and the desire to follow Jesus helps bring about new possibilities for shifting our perspective and seeing life in new ways. Looking at things (as far as it is possible) from God’s point of view can open our eyes to a whole new set of priorities. Some things increase in size and importance, whilst others diminish.

What seems important or “big” in your life right now? Is there anything you may have lost sight of? Have you tried moving, changing your perspective? Through prayer and openness to the Spirit, we can learn to see in new ways.

© Joe Lenton, July 2013

Image: “Giant Pebble” © Original Art Photography By Joe Lenton, 2013 – available to purchase as a print. Part of the gallery on

The Constant and the Transient

Taming the Tide
Life is a mixture of elements, some of which are more transient, others more constant. At times it is easy to become so distracted by the changing elements that the whole picture of our lives looks blurry to us. We are so aware of the uncertain, shifting areas of our life that we think we are looking at chaos.

Yet, there are also constants. These hold the picture together in balance, giving a creative tension between movement and rest. They help reveal what is changing, whilst showing that not everything is.

When we find ourselves staring too long at the movement, we may feel disturbed and unsettled. If we rest too long on the unchanging there may be an absence of adventure, drama and a sense of progress and growth. Appreciating the harmonious interplay of change and constants can help us to realise that not everything about who we are is up in the air just because an aspect of our life is changing. There are still constants. Similarly, we cannot forget that we do and in fact need to change.

Different parts of the picture of our lives will move at different speeds. Instead of getting carried away or worried by the parts that are moving faster than we are ready for, perhaps we can step back and see a more balanced picture, with God as the artist.

How balanced do you feel about your life at the moment? Does it appear merely chaotic or that everything is moving at once? Can you find the constants in your life?

When we feel we are drowning in chaos, our One, central Constant is God Himself. If we look to God, we can begin to see balance restored. Perhaps ask God to reveal His presence as your Constant, taming the apparent chaos of your life.

© Joe Lenton, 2013

Image – “Taming the Tide” © Original Art Photography by Joe Lenton, 2013. This and many other images are available as prints. Please visit the Original Art Photography website for details:


The Stranglehold of Fear

Is fear ruling your life? Are you trapped by fear but don’t even realise it?

Fear is sometimes quite sneaky. It tries to hide behind other feelings or even behind rational thought. When we decide not to pursue a particular course of action we may have come to that conclusion through careful, logical thinking. So, why do we sometimes then feel an odd sense of relief or guilt about our decision? Is it because we were actually afraid and have found a way out, avoiding the path that seemed frightening? Unfortunately, sometimes this may take us away from what God has for us.

Clearly there are times when we discern correctly that a new course of action is not appropriate. Rational thought and feelings of uneasiness may play a positive role in helping us to discover the right way ahead and God’s guidance. However, we can also end up avoiding things out of fear and using our feelings of unease or our “sensible” logic to give us an escape route.

It is simply not the case that God will always ask us to do things that we are comfortable with right away. Moses asked God to send someone else. Jonah ran away. Ananias is at first reluctant to go and meet the newly converted Saul. Neither, of course, does God always send people to do things that terrify them or they don’t feel equipped for. God may move us to carry on with things we are already comfortable with. But, sometimes God may want us to try something new and possibly something that seems scary.

There is a strange tendency that human beings have of being unwilling to let go of the familiar. It is strange because it can extend to clinging on to something unhealthy rather than letting go and receiving something far better. It has been documented that many prisoners struggle to cope with renewed freedom on leaving prison and re-offend to regain the now familiar routine of prison life. Similarly, some victims of abuse or kidnap develop an attachment to the person abusing them and are fearful of moving on even though it would mean freedom from abuse and a better life.

In the UK we have a couple of common sayings that help illustrate the point: 1) At least we know where we are…., 2) Better the devil you know… These sayings show that even if we know our current situation to be unsatisfactory we are often unwilling, too scared, to move on to pastures new.

We see change and immediately risk listing mentally (or verbally to any poor soul who will listen!) all the potential negatives. This can even lead to us playing out scenarios in our minds where things get worse and worse until all of a sudden we can justify to ourselves how this one decision could lead to our whole life falling to bits. If we were to take a step back we might realise that this “script” is not too dissimilar to an episode of a TV farcical tragic comedy. There may be some truth to our concerns, but we then blow them up to something we imagine is sufficient reason to prove that this course of action will definitely end in our demise so must be avoided at all costs.

If we want to follow Jesus, however, we need to learn to cope with change. We are supposed to change, becoming more like our heavenly Father. Yes, we may well be afraid at times; but fear is not to be our Master. We can learn to press through the fear and come out the other side, instead of allowing it to dictate which way we go.

Think of what God said to Joshua as he entered the promised land. It was to be a huge challenge to him as a leader and to the people as a whole, but God said “be strong and courageous” not once but 3 times (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). He was not to be frightened but brave because God was with him.

In Acts 4 the believers pray for boldness to declare God’s message in a situation that would instil fear in most. In Romans 8:15 Paul writes “you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear” (NIV). In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul tells Timothy that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity” (NIV). God’s presence with us means that we do not have to be constantly afraid of what might happen.

Fear can be conquered by faith. If we choose to focus on God and His presence with us by His Spirit instead of on “what if….” lists of negatives then we can begin to live free of fear. God looks after us as His children and we need to learn to trust Him. Only if we put our faith in Him, not just believing He exists but actually relying on Him day by day, will we gradually win the battle with fear.

We do not need to worry about our lives, about our food, clothes and other things. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all these things will be provided as we need them (Luke 12:22-31). This can help to free us to serve God and go where He calls instead of hiding behind fear and refusing to change.

Perhaps today or this week we can begin to redeem those two little words “what if…”. Maybe instead of allowing them always to be followed with negatives and reasons not to do something we can turn them into words of opportunity. “What if” we step out together with God – what amazing things might happen if we conquer our fear together?

© Joe Lenton, January 2013