Monday, April 23, 2012

Is Perception Reality and truth

The kitchen, that place where we gather as a family. The place where talking begins and memories are made. My kitchen can tend to be a place of those beautiful arguments as well. What is the biggest argument…it is always a mess. No matter how many times I clean it in a day it is still a mess. Pots in the sink, dishes to be loaded and unloaded in the dishwasher and a floor that needs to be swept and truth be known mopped. As I am standing there in yet another end of an evening, my husband asks if he can load the dishwasher for me. If you could look back with me five years ago, steam would have been coming out of my ears and then when he finally left confused by my response, tears would flow down my face from the reality that I was not measuring up. It is all about perception.

The hardest part of life is walking in true perception. My husband and I have counseled for years and have seen this over and over, in our life and others. One spouse’s view of the circumstance or conversation is completely different from what is actually being said.
Perception of words, actions, and heart intent is very important to our  well being mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Even when it comes to physical exercise, what and why we eat the food we do,  how we relate to others, and most importantly God.

So how do we know if our perceptions are clear, truthful, and balanced? I wish I had the full answer to this question because it would save me a lot of heartache but the reality is I don’t. However,  I am learning a huge lesson in this area. Starting with the foundation that I have built my life on, the Bible and my relationship with God.
In my marriage, I learned it a long time ago. That scene above was one of many I could have written.  Dean and I had gotten to the place where we couldn’t really talk anymore. Why? Because everything that we communicated to each other was filtered through past hurts, past disappointments and past expectations. Our perceptions were severely skewed. Once we were able to clear the table and start from the beginning…the talking began. I am amazed to this day what was actually being said and how I distorted the truth because of the filters I had raised. Now, “do you want me to load the dishwasher?” doesn’t mean that I am a bad wife because I don’t keep house like I should…it just means can I help you out by doing this for you as an act of love. Truth: Can I help you by doing this for you. Perception: I can’t seem to get everything done so I am a bad wife.

See the mountain of perceptions that divided me and an act of love? Please understand, Dean had his own filters too, but, God wants me to start with my perceptions first. Look in my mirror, my heart, actions and see me. When there are problems in relationships, I have to look at my heart issue and build from there.
I think trying to find the right perception in marriage is a lot easier than with friends and family. For some reason the expectation is higher but in a different way. A small word, a small neglect can change the way we see someone in our life. For some unexplained reason we neglect to realize what might be going on in someone else’s life may be affecting their actions. We shouldn’t always give someone that excuse but more often than not, we definitely need to consider it.

 We are finally heading to church again as a family.  Olivia has been to weak to go with us for a long time now. Plus, all the sickness that goes through the church has not helped her in many cases. In fact, she is quite wary of going to church. But, we have decided it is time for her to get started again. But it takes a lot out of her.
As we walked in and found our seats, some of her friends recognized and realized she was there. The excitement was just evident by the big hugs and smiles that traveled all the way to their eyes. Olivia hugged them but didn’t stand up and really did not smile much back. Her friends were all so excited to see her in church but she seemed indifferent. The truth: she was too tired and did not have much to give. Perception: Wow, she really doesn’t care that I am excited to see her.

 The perception is far from the truth, but what she walks through everyday is so hard for anyone to understand, even me as her Mom. So I quietly reminded her that they can’t understand all that she is going through and what her reaction could “say” to them.  I waited for her reaction and was awarded with a “thanks Mom” and she proceeded to talk with them when there was a welcome time which a huge difference. You could see it.
So how do we balance out our perception so we see more clearly? How do we keep perceptions in check so that they don’t become truth?  I believe the first step is seeking His word on our heart. That step of truly developing that relationship with God every day. God is involved in every moment of our life, day in and day out. When we establish that relationship with Him on a daily basis then it becomes so much easier to hand it over to Him and allows Him to show you the truth in a situation. It may take some time to find out the truth in a perception, or your perception may be truth. But truly finding out if it’s God’s truth is something different for everyone. Because truth can be true…but the heart of the truth may be wrong. So is our perception of that truth based on what we see or how God sees it? Real truth is how God is sees it J And real truth brings our perceptions in line with Him and in line with our life.
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