How changing your perception of things can change your life

The famous Ink-Blot Test was devised by Swiss psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in the 1920’s and is still widely used today. It is based on the idea that our minds tend to look for familiar patterns in objects – thats why we often see faces or animals in clouds or wallpaper patterns. But the ink-blot theory goes further – it is also based on the fact that the patterns we will see are ideas which are already in our minds or in line with the way we already think. So, a person who sees everything in life as “doom & gloom” will see gloomy images in the ink-blots, and a person whose mind is filled with playful ideas will see such images in the ink-blots.

We don’t see things the way they really are, we see them the way WE really are.

“We live our lives by what we believe not what we see” (2 Cor 5:7)

Sometimes we can self-sabotage the good things that are coming into our lives because we see them as threatening and unfamiliar, or as a problem to be solved rather than as an opportunity to be embraced. Sometimes we can look at the things in our lives which are not quite “tied together neatly” and see our life as a mess, rather than as a work in progress – those lose ends are a sign that something is being created. Take a tapestry for example – on the rear side it looks a mess, but turn it over – look at it from a different perspective – and a beautiful creation is revealed. Well, God is the master-craftsman who is taking all the broken and disconnected pieces of our lives and weaving them together into his handiwork:

“we are God’s workmanship” (Eph 2:10)

“God works all things together for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28)

The problem is, our lives are controlled by our perceptions of reality – and our perceptions (even our understanding of scripture and God) is flawed and partial. In Victorious Eschatology  I wrote this passage, which I think sums up this idea perfectly:

“Most Christians will claim that their beliefs are based on the teachings of the Bible. But every one of us – no matter how sincere we may be – brings to the Bible a mind full of presuppositions, beliefs, views of reality, and experiences that influence the way we see things and interpret scripture. Because we interpret the Bible through the lens of our culture and view of reality, anyone can misinterpret the Bible”
(from Victorious Eschatology, page 85, by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench)

I hope you enjoy this message series (either live, at Gateway, or via our podcasts). Here are some of the thoughts and ideas we will be looking at – rooting them in both scripture and in real-life:

  • Everyday, there are new mercies coming towards you. Everyday, there is new opportunities coming your way.
  • As a Christian discovering the adventure of life, we should be more alive then anybody else. We should be the life and soul of the party
  • Are you watching life go by or are you willing to take a risk and jump into the river of life?
  • Don’t wait for God to change your external situation you may be facing. God doesn’t do things to us, He does things through us.
  • When we pray about a situation and ask God to change it. More often then not, God doesn’t change the situation we are facing, God changes us.
  • Sometimes we are the answer to our own prayers. Because God changes us in answer to our prayers and the new you is able to deal with that situation in the way the old you couldn’t.

The INK BLOTS message series is part of the USB “New Perspectives” which is available here