The sun has been scorching hot in the past few weeks. Weeks, not days. And really hot too.
It got me to thinking. If I have to work inside in my home office, that sunshine is a lure to draw me outside, to be anywhere but my office. On the contrary, if I am working in my garden, that same sunshine drives me to seek shade before I melt into a puddle of sweat. It is sweat, ladies, not perspiration, when you are weeding your garden. There is nothing lady-like about it.
When I am holidays, sitting by the pool or the ocean or a pristine lake, that sunshine is a blessing. I know that at any time I feel too hot, I can slip into the water to refresh me and cool my body temperature to a reasonable level. While working outdoors, edging my walkway or painting my deck, that same sun is punishing and depleting my body fluids. It looks like an enemy to be avoided as I repeatedly retreat into the house to find relief.
What is the difference? Perspective. How I view that same sun is dependent on my perspective of what activity I have to do in it. Pleasure or toil. Is there an easy way to cool down or do I need to remain working until I am on the verge of heat exhaustion?
The same thing happens in life. If we have a job that started out enjoyable, something we would do as a hobby, we loved doing that work. Over time, this same source of income can turn out to be toil and turmoil due to time constraints and demands from unreasonable people. How we view that same activity can now be dramatically different depending on our attitude. If we grow to resent the demands on our time and energy, we will eventually loathe the work we do. If, on the other hand, we choose to look at the same activity from the perspective of the people we are serving, we have the opportunity to turn it all around.
I will give you an example. I love to make jewellry. It is a creative outlet. I started making extra pieces to sell. Then came the Christmas season and I needed multiple necklaces to have on hand for people to purchase. It soon became a chore to anticipate the styles, sizes, colours and designs that might best capture a customer’s eye when passing my table at a craft fair. It was all about perspective. I was now making the pieces to satisfy a market rather than crafting them for individuals to enjoy. I was no longer looking at how I might bless someone with a unique item to complement their wardrobe, but it was source of stress. I immediately realized that I needed to transform my attitude in order to maintain the joy of the activity.
Anyone of us can do this with any of our jobs. We can think of the person who will ultimately be blessed by what we do or we can just resent it and let it become toil and pain. If I am a garbage pickup person, I can take each day as an opportunity to serve the community to keep it clean and healthy or just see it as menial labour that barely pays the bills.
At any given moment, the choice is ours make. Perspective means everything. Choose wisely. It will change your life and so often, transforms the lives of those around you. Each of us can make a difference!
Judith Utman is the author of Voices in the Wilderness.