The Art Of Christian Living

Exploring & Sharing Life | Lessons | Experiences

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are” C.S. Lewis

Imagine the Apostle Paul writing to churches and telling them how horrible things are and how life is unbearable.

Dear beloved, I wanted to let you know that the chains are heavy and weigh me down, I can barely stand. Joy left me like death, never to return.  I fear Christ’s commission of spreading the ‘Good News’ is at standstill. Each day I worry whether I would be able to see another day.

Thankfully Paul saw everything that happened to him from a different perspective. And instead, he wrote this;

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:12-14


Perspective is Essential

Experiences alone are not what determines our heartaches or trauma, but how we respond to them. Of course, some people are more predisposed toward negative self-narration while others see the good in everything. Our personality traits, backgrounds, and cultures play important roles in how we interpret circumstances and situations.

A person sees the world how his/her mind interprets it. The mental pictures a person gathers throughout their life can have a tremendous effect. It is similar to what psychologists call ‘Schemas’ – Cognitive generalization that organizes and guides the processing of information (Behavioral Research Methods).

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

Three Important Questions run Everyone Minds


1. What does it matter?

We all asked ourselves ‘What does it matter?’ millions of times, often when things are not going our way. When you concentrate on what you can control rather than things you can’t life will be different. Paul saw his imprisonment as a chance to further spread the gospel in an unreached environment. Rather than lamenting on his predicament, he saw a blessing in disguise.

Knowing what matters to you is vital because it will drive your perception of the world around you.

2. What shall I choose?

In life, you’re faced with decisions all day long, especially those dealing with some form of emotional or mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, etc, or even daily choices.

Paul made a choice that “For me to live is Christ and to die is to gain.”  Whatever happened to him was alright because he would glorify God at all costs. No wonder his perspective about his pain and suffering differs from what most of us would have or expected him to have.

Acceptance and not avoidance is the KEY: For to me is for Christ and to die is gain.

3. What does it mean?

What is the purpose of everything I am going through? A question we’ve asked many times and will continue to ask as long as we are alive. It is normal for human beings to look for meaning in everything.

Anything you find amidst great pain will mean a lot to you. No hardship is ever wasted except when we don’t give it meaning. For example, pain and suffering is a theme that many Christians don’t want to be familiar with yet, the Bible stated that “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” 2 Timothy 2:12

Our world changes rapidly, even while on lockdown, and it is hard to joy amidst the hardships that come along with it. In the story of Joseph; God was with Joseph despite everything that he endured, yet if Joseph would have self-narrated his story perhaps we would see that he did not necessarily feel God’s presence through it all.

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

Things to Consider

  • Pain or suffering does not equate to God’s absence or inability to save you
  • God’s blessing can be displayed in different forms (Your interpretation matters)
  • Not every uncomfortable situation is caused by the devil
  • God’s Love for you is beyond your temporary pain and hardships
  • Your life is not limited to the scope of your circumstance (there’s more to your life than meets the eye)
  • Align your perspective with God’s truth and let your core beliefs reflect God’s grace and mercy
  • You give meaning to whatever is happening to you

No matter what you’re going through, strive to have a perspective that helps interpret things in God’s light that helps you endure. You live in a fallen world, therefore pain and suffering will always exist. You have to make a choice to endure, interpret, and give meaning. Cheer up and be encouraged that this world is not your final destination, and the best is yet to come. Hold on to your faith, and trust in the God who can do more abundantly than you could ever ask or imagine.

Thank you for reading. May God grant us the right perspective during this season, and the wisdom to discern what we can control and what we can’t control. Stay Blessed Always!

This post is inspired by Pastor Steven Furtick.

22 thoughts on “Perspective: Choosing What Matters

  1. ayansolaibukun – Faith, Relationships, Family, Reviews, Creative Writing
    ayansolaibukun says:

    This is insightful and profound as always, Marie. Many times, it’s not about the challenge but how we process and tackle it. It helps to always look at things from both sides of the coin and sustaining a positive attitude during hard/trying times. What we consider as problems can sometimes be blessings in disguise. It could be a of a testing our mettle and open our eyes to things we haven’t been seeing. In whatever situation we find ourselves, we do well to keep hope alive and rest on the unfailing promises of God.

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Thank you so much. I’m thrilled and honored to hear that from you. Always appreciate your inputs.

      Awww, awesome and thoughtful comments as usual. You’re absolutely right, it is not about the challenges we face but how we process them. I wish it was as simple to apply as it seems, but I can’t tell how many times I have struggled with this idea. But God has been faithfully helping me get better at it.

      Like you’ve said, we should always fight to keep our hope alive no matter what we’re going through. Great insights from a great mentor .

      1. ayansolaibukun – Faith, Relationships, Family, Reviews, Creative Writing
        ayansolaibukun says:

        True. It’s easier said than done. However, we keep getting better by the day.

        Great job, Marie

      2. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
        Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

        Well said, Ayansola. Thank you so much . I appreciate it.

  2. Ancient Skies – East Coast – Poetry, love, nature, compassion, spirituality, culture. I'm always learning and growing. Welcome to my journey.
    Ancient Skies says:

    Beautiful post. There’s a quote that says what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Yet I disagree with that. Sometimes we can go through a series of tragedies or a long term, over a period of years, type of tragedy and it doesn’t make us stronger at all. Yet we can trust in God and someday the smoke will clear from our ruins, from our house burning down. Yes I am sure that is hope.

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Thank you, dear for your thoughtful and wonderful comments.

      Well said, sometimes our only hope is to completely depend on God to carry us through it. That’s why Paul said in the Bible ” When we’re weak He is STRONG”.

      Let’s keep the hope alive in us because hope never fails. Stay blessed

      1. Ancient Skies – East Coast – Poetry, love, nature, compassion, spirituality, culture. I'm always learning and growing. Welcome to my journey.
        Ancient Skies says:

        Thanks.

      2. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
        Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

        You’re welcome, dear .

  3. poeticallyyours360 – US – I love words, I love writing, I love the art of expression! Expression through the lens of a camera, expression through paintings, expression through craftsmanship and expression that is deliberately not harmful. I am a self-proclaimed poet, therapeutic writer, seeker of truth, serenity, and understanding. I am social and anti-social. I am a conversationalist. I am love, I am hope, and I am significant. I am a survivor. I’ve been redeemed, restored, delivered and healed. I’ve mentally, emotionally and spiritually been in the pit of despair, renounced fear, announced faith and accepted God’s amazing grace. How old I am is not relevant, but what I have learned is. How I look is not relevant, but how I see me is. What my ethnicity is matters only to those that are divisive or looking to prove a point. My bottom line statement on everything is: We are all Humans, what is detrimental for this HUMAN to live is also DETRIMENTAL for other HUMANS to live.
    poeticallyyours360 says:

    Great post with some transparency! you mentioned Joseph, we have lived long enough to know, if a person feels like a victim not having the peace of God, it is practically hard to operate in your gifts and in Paul case find encouragement for someone else. For myself, I always say if I can put everything in what I call a suitcase scripture is Romans 8:28. Then that truth stands up for me and my feelings about a situation diminishes. Thank you Maria for your platform and inviting topics. Thank you for offering principle living and title says the art of christian living.

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words and very insightful comment. I truly appreciate it.

      Well said, dear, it is never easy to operate outside of God’s peace because his peace can help us push through life’s most difficult moments. If you’re looking for true encouragement Paul’s letters to the churches are full of it. Romans 8:28 is a powerful one, I’m glad it means so much to you.

      You’re more than welcome. The pleasure is mine as well, and I’m honored to hear that . Stay blessed

      1. poeticallyyours360 – US – I love words, I love writing, I love the art of expression! Expression through the lens of a camera, expression through paintings, expression through craftsmanship and expression that is deliberately not harmful. I am a self-proclaimed poet, therapeutic writer, seeker of truth, serenity, and understanding. I am social and anti-social. I am a conversationalist. I am love, I am hope, and I am significant. I am a survivor. I’ve been redeemed, restored, delivered and healed. I’ve mentally, emotionally and spiritually been in the pit of despair, renounced fear, announced faith and accepted God’s amazing grace. How old I am is not relevant, but what I have learned is. How I look is not relevant, but how I see me is. What my ethnicity is matters only to those that are divisive or looking to prove a point. My bottom line statement on everything is: We are all Humans, what is detrimental for this HUMAN to live is also DETRIMENTAL for other HUMANS to live.
        poeticallyyours360 says:

        You are very welcome! Stay Blessed and keep sharing the word!

      2. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
        Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

  4. Era – I am Doctor by profession who loves to write poetry and articles , a mental health enthusiastic , nature lover and very much interested in history and mythology .
    Era says:

    A very insightful post
    Thanks for sharing, Marie

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Oh wow, thank you so much, Era. I’m thrilled that you find it insightful .

      You’re welcome, Era.

  5. Perth Girl
    Perth Girl says:

    An excellent word Marie. Perspective matters. How we choose to view a situation and the choice we make to intentionally act in those very situations matters.
    I must say although it is something I know it does not always translate to my actions.
    I really like how you started off with Paul being in prison and what he wrote while being there. It made it so much more real and relatable.
    Blessings dear

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Thank you, dear, so much for your wonderful words. I’m thrilled and humble by them.

      So true, our interpretation of our circumstances matters a lot. As for the action part, you’re not alone, trust me. It is a struggle but God will help us all like he did for Paul. Thank very much for your wisdom you poured out here. Stay blessed, too .

  6. doriskoki
    doriskoki says:

    Hi Marie. This post is very therapeutic. Honestly, I just always love reading your articles. Thank you for the work you put in to share these truths.

    A lot on mental health is indeed about perspective! May God help us to have positive self narrations. That our eyes shall shall see our situations with the light in His word. That no matter what, our faith will remain unshaken, for He is still Lord of all.

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Hello Doris, I’m humble and grateful for your thoughtful comment, and kind words. They mean a lot to me.

      So true, Mental Health plays an important role in how we interpret what happens to us. And as Christians we are not immune to negative self narration. It is only through God’s grace and through the renewal of our minds that we can see, and narrate our stories according to his will.

      I appreciate it so much that you brought it up. Thank you, Doris once again and have a blessed weekend .

      1. doriskoki
        doriskoki says:

        You’re welcome. And have a blessed weekend too

      2. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
        Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

        Thank you, dear .

  7. JoshuaYemiOmoifo – Joshua Yemi Omoifo is a writer, professional public speaker, freelancer and a seasoned gentleman whose captivating prolific writings and insightful life changing motivational talks and teachings have helped refined many lives. His mission is to help people discover their innate potentials, attain their dreams and live that successful and fulfilled life they've always wanted. He has featured in so many seminars, inspiring tv programmes and motivational talk shows in Nigeria. During his leisure time, you can find him writing, reading, researching, partying or getting creative. To get updated on his latest blog posts, do subscribe. You can also contact him @joshomoifoup@gmail.com if you want him to write inspirational post for your blog. Follow him on twitter too @Inspiringyemij.
    JoshuaYemiOmoifo says:

    Great

    1. Marie Cook – I am a food lover, and cooking is therapeutic for me; it relaxes me and transports me to a quieter universe away from the noisy, busy modern world. I am a Counseling Mental Health & Wellness graduate student, wife, and stepmother. I love connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds through food, fashion, wisdom, and lifestyle in general. To be continued because I am still in the process of discovering who I am as I continue this journey called life. I promise to keep you all posted in the meantime.
      Marie Jeanderine Cook says:

      Thank you, Joshua, for reading and commenting. I appreciate it .

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