Changing Your Perspective #ShortTermMissions

August 8, 2017 — 1 Comment

“I just want people to take a step back, take a deep breath and actually look at something with a different perspective. But most people will never do that.”

Brian McKnight

When you always look at something from the same angle, you almost always see the same thing.  When you look at something from a different vantage point, you see something different.

Going on a short-term mission trip gives you the opportunity to see things from a totally different angle.  The different angle will cause a change in your perspective.

For many people, this idea can be quite terrifying.  “I’m too scared to see life from a different angle.”  “I might not like what I see.”  “I might even be convicted to change things in the comfortable life I live everyday.”

For many other people, this idea can be downright unnecessary.  “Why do I even need a different perspective.  After all, my perspective is the correct perspective.”

Regardless of where you are in life – your age, your economic status, your employment condition, your health, whatever, you need the perspective provided by putting yourself in another person’s shoes.

One of the reasons I value my short-term mission trips is that I always come home with an adjusted perspective.  For one, I have learned to appreciate the material blessings in my life, and I’ve learned to hang on to them much more loosely.  This comes from seeing how many people live on so little.  Secondly, I’ve learned that contentment in life can truly come without the hurried pace of life that seems to exist in many parts of the United States.  The mission trips I have experienced have also taught me that I actually have more to give.  Life is not just about me.  It’s about giving; it’s about sharing; it’s about spreading God’s love through words and actions.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve found it easy to slip back into the rat race of life.  One of the reasons I write so frequently about short-term missions and about my experiences in Guatemala is to make sure the perspective changes stick.  I do not want the positive perspective changes that have come as a result of going on a short-term missions trip to be a short-term thing in my life.

A short-term missions trip can change your long-term perspective if you let it.

“Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.”
Henri Nouwen

How has your perspective changed as a result of serving someone?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Jon Stolpe

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • Lulu

    Serving someone, a difficult someone, has taught me some hard lessons about myself. How judgmental I am. How I let my personal opinions color my attitude about service. To question why I serve? And who am I actually serving? I really didn’t like the answers from these questions and often went into my second position after judgmental – justifying my actions. I (and I’ve asked God to forgive me) actually felt like this person was a black hole of need. I felt drained and put-upon. Tired of hearing of their problems which they seemed to do little about. Time together was never a joy or anticipation but met with dread.

    Then my life had a change, and with it my needs and my perspectives. Oh boy. Being the needy one was difficult. Being out of control of circumstance and in a position of being powerless was more than challenging. Those that continued to reach out to me in my season of great need were such a blessing and comfort. Those that were self-sacrificing showed me Christ. My heart was touched and I indeed experienced a broken and contrite heart.

    I’d like to say my heart attitude is totally changed, but it is still a work in progress (thank You Lord for sanctification). But at least I, through the power of the Holy Spirit, am catching myself – for indeed it is self that gets in the way. I hope to give of myself as directed with the heart of serving our Lord and Savior – He is our best example of service. Genuine faith can only be demonstrated by obedient action. Anything I have to give comes from His Hand – whether it be knowledge, funds or time. I need to be thankful – I get to do it!