Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Today we are going to talk about perceptions. When you look at the picture to your left, what do you see? I'll give you a minute to really evaluate the picture. Do you see one picture or two? Okay now that you have seen an image look at it again. Do you see anything else if you look from another angle do you see something different? Some of you may see a duck and others may see a rabbit. Some of you may have seen both, depending on how you saw it. Regardless, the answer is the same. It is both, it is dependent on your perception.
I was recently asked to share a story of overcoming a giant in my life. The individual used the example of David and Goliath. (1 Samuel 17) They went on to ask what my five smooth stones in that season were, that slayed the giant. I pondered this for some time and became frustrated with trying to find a talking point that fit the description. So, I started to ask God, because clearly, he could help me. I said, "God, what giants have we faced in my life? I don't have any giants, is that possible?" Let's be clear, I have faced great disappointment and challenges in my life, and it hasn't been a walk in the park but when I think about slaying giants I don't recall. Then suddenly, I thought about David. This little boy would risk his life to face this enormous giant. Hmmm… I'm missing something here. Why was David, a boy, not afraid of the giant, but the warriors in the army wouldn’t go near him? Then it hit me, David didn't see a giant either. As he faced off to Goliath, he saw a Philistine that was taunting his God. Didn't Goliath, understand the power and authority of the God he was making fun of? Didn't Goliath understand that God could demolish him? David didn't see a giant he saw a man. I got so excited about this, that I went out to tell my husband, and before I could tell him my revelation, he said this word that resonated deep. PERCEPTION, David didn't see the danger, he saw a bully. David had seen God give him the strength to kill a lion and a bear while tending to his sheep so why wouldn't God deal with Goliath to save the nation of Israel. I have seen extreme disappointments, challenges, and losses during my life, but never a giant, that was bigger than the God I serve.
See if you know a supernatural God that is bigger than any giant, then you don't see a giant, you see something smaller. When you read the full story, you see that grown men were afraid of a giant, but David had a relationship with God that would allow him to see that Goliath was a mere man and the fact that he thought he had right to talk about God or His people the way he did angered David. What was the difference between David and the soldiers that were to fight the giant? Perception! The soldier’s perception was based on the outward appearance they saw in this man that was over 9ft tall, and his armor weighed as much as David did. He had someone to carry his shield because it was so large, and his sword's tip weighed 15 lbs. The perception of the army was that there was no way they would be able to overtake him. They were too small, and he frightened them. His bullying tactics caused them to run because not only was he enormous, but he would often remind them of how small they were. David's perception was different, because while he was out tending to his sheep and worshiping God, God proved that he would protect David. God had shown him through the lion and the bear, that he would always protect him. So, while, David saw and heard the same things coming from Goliath's mouth, his relationship with God proved God was bigger than the giant. He knew God had the power to wipe out this man because he was coming against His people. While Goliath was taunting him David said, "you come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven's Armies- the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will Conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head." Bold statement by a boy that was fearless because he knew who he belonged to.
As I thought about David and Goliath, and David's boldness and drive I realized that perception really plays a part in how we deal with situations in our lives. Perception can
cause us to swing one way or another to believe one opinion over another. So, what is perception? In the simplest form it is a judgement resulting from awareness or understanding; the ability to understand (as meanings and ideas); understanding or awareness gained through the use of the senses. (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perception) I know that isn't as clear as we would like it, so let's dive into it a bit more. There are three major factors to perception: motivational and emotional state, lastly experience. All three of these factors contribute to how you perceive something. When you recall the story of David and Goliath, David's perception was formed
through those three factors. Depending on the lens through which your perception has been developed, you can see something as positive or negative. Perception can be used in negative or positive ways depending on the situation and circumstances. We must allow ourselves to use perception, but also understand when it has become a stumbling block to what we are trying to accomplish.
Let's bring this into real life situations. As I shared with you before, we had a flood in our house. My initial perception of the situation was high price to fix all that needed to be done, and neither my husband nor I are handy. Then with some of the contractors we interviewed to do the job, I was more and more concerned. After going through the process, and seeing how the statement, "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28) really is true, the next time my perception would be different. Not to say that I wouldn't be worried or concerned, but my faith and trust would kick in based on my positive emotional and motivational state, coupled with my former experience. Let's look at a different example. During my recent hot seat, the guest shared that she wants to be in a relationship but can't find anyone. As the discussion progressed, you could see that her perception of relationship had been formed through unhealthy relationships in the past. So how does she change that perception? Here are some keys that I learned from the story of David and Goliath.
1. Self-Awareness- David had a strong self-awareness. He understood his core values, belief systems, and experiences that shaped his view. He was confident in His ability because he knew his source of strength (GOD).
2. Relationship- Relationship for David was key. First, he had built a relationship with God. He was a Sheppard just out tending to his sheep, but he worshiped. He grew closer to God and saw God fight on his behalf. When you have relationship with an almighty, powerful, omnipresent God, then you realize the "giant" is a mere man. Second, he had relationship with his father and brothers. The entire reason he was on the battlefield was because he cared about his brothers and so he did as his father asked him to do. Relationships with others are important because they will give you experiences that perceptions can be built from.
3. Vision- David's vision wasn't driven by what he saw on the outside, his vision was deeply rooted in his belief system. If your vision is skewed, you must fix your belief system. This will take time and work. David's belief system adjusted as he sat worshipping God. God will reveal the hindering areas in your life if you're willing to listen to Him.
4. Do something different- David was so ignited by the fact that this man was talking about God negatively, that he decided to do something about it. He knew something those on the battlefield didn't. He realized that the battle was God's and why wouldn't God protect them? His approach was different. He didn't back down. He trusted God and ran towards the giant not away. He did something different than the others.
Are you in a place in your life, where you can identify areas where your perception has held you back? Is it time to take a different approach and do something that will make a lasting change? Your perceptions can be changed, but first you must do the work. Honestly this is where people get stuck, but I want to encourage you that your best version is on the other side! Put in the work, see the results, and show the world who you were created to be! You're not alone, and our team is always here to walk on this journey with you.