Perception Part 2 (kinda)

What is perception?  Let’s just begin with that.  The dictionary definition of perception is:

the act of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding

immediate or intuitive recognition (insight)

When we perceive something, we are discerning it, we are understanding it (at least at face value).  When we perceive the state of someone we have just met, we are making quick judgments that may or may not be accurate.  Simply because someone has a furrowed brow, haphazardly bumping into you as you walk by does not mean that they are a mean or selfish person.  Maybe they just received a phone call about their loved one being in an accident and is dealing with a flurry of emotions that they are just figuring out how to deal with and can barely see clearly enough to put one foot in front of the other.  Or just because that girl “always” seems to be smiling and “always” has people around her doesn’t mean that she is necessarily happy or doesn’t understand what it means to feel so lonely it aches.

Like I said before, perception is not the reality.  Perception is the assumed reality.  The problem isn’t based in how we want others to see us, but when we take this “reality” and try to play it off as real to ourselves, and more so, to God.

Depending on your background often times determines your perspective of God.  Whether he is distant or intimate, judgmental or merciful.  Our opinions are as feeble as we ourselves are.  We change our minds depending on our mood and assume that because we feel it, because we “perceived” it, it must be true.  That is of course until our circumstances change and we find our perception wavering once again.

But where we are finite and small minded, God’s perception on us is never misguided or shortsighted.  He sees who we were, who we are, and who we will be–all at once.  He is able to not only understand, but envision beyond the perception we have tried to create.

Last night, my 3-year-old donned her yellow tutu (her princess dress) and came to my husband asking him to dance.  He reaches for her hands, but she only takes one, then proceeds to hold the edge of her “gown” as she walks him into the living room “dance floor.”  He of course catches his oversight of the elegant nature of the situation, and bows before initiating the dance.  My daughter holds the edges of her skirt, curtsies, grabs one of her daddy’s hands and begins to dance…running around in circles, laughing and giggling to the point of silly hysterics.

The initial perception was of formality, way beyond the basic comprehension of a preschooler.  But the reality, to really know and understand my silly little girl, is to know that while she loves to dress up like a princess and dance with her prince (her daddy), she thrives in silliness and dancing and jumping around.

God knows that we like to present ourselves to others as pristine and spotless.  But he knows the truth in our hearts.  Whether it is as silly as a 3 year old or broken and bruised, pasting the smile on day in and day out just to get by, he knows.  We can not create a false cover when it comes to God and the longer we attempt to maintain the facade, the longer we have to bare the burden alone.

Jesus said,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

In order to take the “yoke” of Jesus, we have to first lay ours down at his feet.  We have to be honest with ourselves on the reality, not simply the perception.

The past several weeks I have been seeking sanctification by God to be ready to do whatever he calls me to do.  During this time, I have also taken a greater focus on my writing (something which has taken the back burner more often than I would like to admit).  While I have written on here over the time, I haven’t focused on a book that God laid on my heart a couple years back.  I finally picked it back up and have been giving it some much needed focus.  While I am looking toward publishing it in the near future, the calling on my heart doesn’t end there.  I long for the opportunities to speak to students.  My desire to be an author and speaker has just continued to grow and develop in my heart and I pray that there will be opportunities in the future.  But to be successful in this arena (God success, not man’s success), I will have to be painfully honest.  No facades, no false perceptions.  It’s scary but something that I am greatly looking forward to whenever that dream comes to fruition.  I say this as a prayer request.  The “kinda” in my post title is because I did not take the time that I hoped to put this particular post together.  Partially because my mind was distracted by the above prayer and partially because I am distracted in the first of many re-writes of the book.  I hope to go into this particular subject in greater detail in the future, but for now I leave you with a challenge.

If your perception of Jesus is different than the Jesus of the Bible, take a step back and ask yourself why.  Read scripture, ask God to reveal himself to you, and be open to the possibility (likelihood) that your perception might change because Jesus is always who he says he is.

Then, if you are trying to give God a false perception of who you are, save yourself the hardship and know that he is trustworthy and already knows you to the depth of your soul.  Surrender your burden to him.

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