Do you like solving puzzles? Here is one for you. Take six matchsticks and make four equilateral triangles with them, with the length of each side of the triangle equaling the length of a matchstick. (An equilateral triangle is a triangle where all three sides have the same length.) Don't read further until you have tried this out.
Were you able to solve the puzzle? Chances are you didn't because you were thinking two-dimensionally. The moment you changed your perspective and thought three-dimensionally, you solved it by making a pyramid.
Life's like that. We often get stuck in situations that we seem unable to get out of because of how we are looking at things. Sometimes, a slight change in how we look at the problem can give us the solution we need. If we are too locked into our paradigm, asking a couple of friends what they think about the problem will help. Even if what they suggest is silly, it might help us break out of our mindset.
A shift in viewpoint can also put things in their correct perspective. If we took a coin and held it an inch away from our nose, it would look enormous. If, however, we were to hold it at arm's length, we would see how small it really is. Problems can be like that. When we are too close to them, they can seem formidable. If we step away and look at them, they become manageable.
Other people often influence our perceptions. Have you seen Julian Beever's pavement drawings? Google it for an astonishing experience. He can make you see things that aren't real. While it is okay to let others shape our perceptions for some momentary fun, we can't let them shape our life! Unfortunately, we let everyone — from the editor of the newspaper we read to the lady with the latest gossip — influence how we see things and, consequently, how we live.
However, there is one exception we can make to this rule, and that is Jesus. After all, he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He will give us a divine way of looking at things that will change us completely. Seeing things through his eyes is such a massive paradigm shift that it can be shocking. For just one example, he says: "If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also" (Matthew 5:39). However, if we can understand why he says what he says, the change in perspective will change our lives forever.
May the Spirit be with you.