"Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it." But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” [Numbers 13:30-33, MSG]
In previous weeks we have talked about how Joshua and Caleb returned to the Israelites describing a completely different promised land to their 10 other companions. We know that all men visited the same land but their perspective ended up entirely different. Joshua and Caleb trusted God and choose to focus on the positive; the other men focused on the negative.
Similarly, we know that in any situation we can choose what we focus on – what perspective we take. Our attribution biases will influence how we initially interpret the situation, but we have the ability to stop, take a second to observe how we are thinking and then chose to think about it a different way – a Godly, positive way. This is known as our “observing self” and the more we engage in our observing self the easier it becomes to get to a Godly, positive perspective on our situation.
So how do we do this?
I want to you start by imagining that you are standing in the middle of the road – the M7 perhaps. All around you are cars, truck and motorbikes rushing past you. Some are slow and steady; others are moving very fast. Its noisy and overwhelming and probably a little scary when that Double B truck is coming right at you.
Now these cars, motorbikes and trucks represent the thoughts, emotions, memories, ideas in your mind. Anything and everything that is going through your brain at any one time. Some of these thoughts are fleeting; for example, a 'motorbike' thought like “I wonder what is for dinner tonight”; others may last longer, like remembering the slower 'truck' of an argument you had with your partner last night. Often, as these thoughts pass by, we end up inside the vehicle, surrounded by the memory instead of calmly crossing the road.
Now I want you to look at the side of the road. Notice that there is a large, open park with a very comfortable seat positioned looking at the road. Slowly, carefully, make your way to the side of the road and onto the seat. You may find that as you walk to the side of the road you accidentally end up in a few other thought vehicles along the way. Recognise this, hop out and keep walking.
Eventually you will get to the side of the road. Take a seat in the comfy chair and start to relax. Look back at the road in front of you and notice the cars. Look at their shape, colour, their size. While you are there, start noticing that there are other cars, trucks, motorcycles. These vehicles represent other perspectives on your life. I want you to consider them – consider how they can help you or not.
The person standing on the side of the road is your “observing self” and by practicing exercises such as this, it is possible to start thinking about and seeing your life in a different, more Godly and positive perspective.
So, this week, give it a try and see if you can get to know your observing self.
Written by our Hospitality Leader, Ashleigh Crosilla (who is also a qualified Psychologist).