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2022: The Year of Perspective

It's easy to say...

It's challenging to do...

It's life altering to be...

Let your character lead, and let your words follow.

~ Antonette, Visionary Nurse™

Oftentimes, in our initial journey to understanding our sense of action, advocacy, purpose, or influence, we often boil down who we are or what we want to accomplish to primarily what we say. It's our way of declaring, with boldness, the big dreams and visions we want to bring into this world. As we continue to evolve in our vision and purpose, and maybe gain a bit of understanding and clarity in the legacy we want to leave, we then have a tendency to push our vision to match what we do and how it may be seen in the eyes of others, and even ourselves. Again, this is not inherently negative, but often, a part of the process to allowing what we say to match what we do. But, with time, we recognize our saying and doing is not always enough to truly make a lasting impact.

When others are no longer watching, or when the novelty of our vision starts to wear away, we must realize that in order to accomplish the big, lofty goals we have placed in front of us, we must ultimately embrace that we were called to be the God-given vision set to impact others, regardless of what our words or actions may produce, or what others may think or expect of us. What I have come to also recognize is that truly influential people are remembered for the legacy of actions they left when it seemed no one was paying attention. Those visionary influencers are not just recognized by their quotable thoughts, but by what is magnified even in their silence, knowing that their very nature still speaks louder than anything that could be said. In this way, our character, words, and actions become driven by pure motives that allow us the opportunity to truly have a visionary influence

Now, don't get me wrong, learning to be, requires a shift in perspective, a shift in character, and a complete overhaul of identity. It pushes us to recognize that who we are is not defined by societal accolades, but determined by the true nature and motives we choose to emulate. Our way of being becomes a birthing of the essence of who we are, and does not just stay confined to what we can achieve with our own two hands, or even, the seeming façade of words we release. 

Again, all of this requires a perspective shift...

As we prepare to walk into 2022 and leave the seasons, traumas, confines, and even habits of the years before us, we will be challenged to take on a new perspective.

To date, many of us have been worn out by so much that our mindset has left us overwhelmed, and has even, at times, tricked us into seeing this life from a permanent lens of loss, grief, hopelessness, and despair. But, for the past several weeks, God has been whispering to me that He wants this year to be different -- that He wants 2022 to be The Year of Perspective.

We are at a point in our lives that in order to dust the ashes off of us and move forward in our destiny, we must choose to confront our situations and decide whether we will take the viewpoint of life and abundance or death and scarcity. We are at a crossroads in the new seasons I believe God is moving people in to, to allow all of us to truly thrive in this life, and be released from the perpetual arena of survival mode.

And, no, I am not saying do not acknowledge the hard times (nor that hard times will suddenly go away), nor I am saying that disappoints and the challenges will just suddenly cease. However, what I am saying is that in order to rise above the spiral of the fear, the brokenness of pain, and the overwhelm of all that chaos has tried to...may be trying to...or has consumed you with in your world, we must all choose to shift our perspective and respond according to how we were designed to be and not just based off of what we can do or say.

Now, I know these thoughts may feel a little nebulous, and for some, they may feel like wishful thinking. But, just over the last several weeks alone, these thoughts have gone from percolating from a seemingly insignificant and slightly humorous event, to becoming an unshakeable resolve that has opened up a deep cascade of understanding about new perspectives. And, since grabbing hold to this word, every person that has an influence in my life has both confirmed and pushed me to personally embrace this concept of choosing the right perspective, no matter the situation at hand.

So, let me give you the backstory.... around mid-December, our local church held a community outreach event where we had the opportunity to serve drive-thru pickup dinners for people in the area. Following the event, the volunteers and myself were packing up food for all of us to enjoy after the community had been fed. As my plate was being prepared, I boldly asked for extra macaroni and cheese (I mean… come on… my aunt’s southern Mac and cheese is no joke!).

Anyway, knowing I had made this request, when it came to collecting (what I assumed) was my tray, my first inclination was to pick the one that had the double portion of Mac and cheese, naturally. I was so fixated on that Mac and cheese, it became a joke as I waited to enjoy my food. However, I learned later that the person preparing the tray for me was confused as to why I was selecting that plate after they served it. I pointed out to them that since I requested extra Mac and cheese and no one else did, my natural inclination would have been to select the one with the more of what I wanted. I was, obviously, excited about all of the food there, but my identifier, my unique perspective was to focus on the extra I requested, making the presence of anything else that looked similarly proportionate to what I was receiving no longer relevant in my eyes. The interesting thing in this story is that the person preparing my plate was also responsible for preparing their own, and later admitted that their initial confusion came from the fact that they didn't even realize they had put the extra Mac and cheese on that particular plate, as they assumed that the same plate we were both looking at was actually theirs. You see, the conundrum in this story is that the preparer of the plates had their eyes focused on that particular plate, as well, because their unique identifier in this situation was the plate that had the least amount of turkey on it, which just so happened to also have the most amount of Mac and cheese on it. Whew!

Okay, so now, if you're tracking with me, you may start to get where I'm going here. For them (all shame aside), they were so fixated on the little they had placed for themselves, that they didn't recognize that the extra (in this case the Mac and cheese) was even there in comparison to all the other plates, even though they were the ones who served the plate to begin with. Although they had honored my request, in their mind, the little they were focused on had caused them to actually almost withhold from me what was allotted for me, whereas for me, in this situation, my identifier was based on the double portion (in this case, the Mac and cheese), which, without any other context, naturally made sense to me.

Now, you may be saying, "yeah, yeah, cute story, but you were just focused on what you wanted without asking what was yours." Or, you may be thinking, "all this story shows is that you were hungry and wanted to eat." Ha!

But, me being me, this is not what it boiled down to for both myself and the other person. And, for anyone who has been tracking with me for any length of time, you can imagine this entire scenario generated the entire "ah ha" moment about perspective and how something as simple as a tray of food could reveal how even the small decisions we make could impact our focus point. These perspectives, although seemingly harmless in this case, actually speak so much more volume to me beyond this story.

For me, I started to realize that our perspectives, if left unchecked, could actually keep someone from receiving the gifts/resources/needs we very well intended for them to have. Our perspectives, if not evaluated, could mistakingly lead us to see from a place of scarcity versus abundance. In the above story, despite the simplicity of it, this situation really jumpstarted an interesting dialogue for us. The person did admit that they had honored my request, but for whatever reason, didn't put it where they were intending it to be, and furthermore, even though that person did not want the same amount of a certain thing as me, and really just didn't a smaller amount of food, their focus point was so fixated in one direction, that they didn't even see what was originally intended for someone else. Although this thought could go both ways, it was interesting how one plate of food could create such... ready for it... food for thought...

When translated to the bigger, visionary elements of your life, perspective can truly be a marker of how you determine how you experience success, peace, joy, hope, love, and everything in between. And, it was in this very simple, everyday moment that we all started to recognize the magnificent power of perspective.

When translated to the bigger, visionary elements of your life, perspective can truly be a marker of how you determine how you experience success, peace, joy, hope, love, and everything in between. And, it was in this very simple, everyday moment that we all started to recognize the magnificent power of perspective.

So, let's get even deeper to bring this point home. For some of us, even though we may be the one "preparing" the way for the next new thing, for the next innovation, for the next pioneering moment, our past situations and failures may repeatedly lead us to be fixated on the little versus the much (read: change, influence, transformation), and miss the key markers that separate abundance from scarcity. For some, you have identified your “portion” from a place of little, not even realizing that you have prepared the "double portion" for some one else, all with great intention. Many of us may have been trapped in the loop, even, of small perspectives (even though we're the ones in control of what is being provided) because we have been trained to give ourselves little, accept little, or even take little. And, many have even been in a place of scarcity for so long, that when something positive does happen: provision, healing, promotion, love, joy, hope etc., there is still this feeling of loss, inadequacy, or even, barely enough, as we unknowingly miss when abundance of love, goals, relationships, or resources have actually invaded our world.

What scarcity will often trick us into doing is having the perspective that even in the midst of helping someone else you somehow are shortchanging yourself, but you are really just helping that person get what they asked for, and also receiving what you want, as well. This perspective, painfully enough, can even actually prevent that person from benefitting from what you’ve purposely prepared for them, because you are mis-identifying the marker of your choice over theirs.

Think about it this way, how many of us have cried about not having a certain thing, but also at the same time having something brand new that you have yet to use or open, but refuse to use it because it’s different than what you’re used to? Or, how many have focused on having a little of something versus a lot of another thing because your focus is on what you didn’t get, versus what you did?

Believe me, we are all prone to it, me included. From simple measures to more impactful things, it's so easy to let current perspectives define new situations. For me, if I’m getting fast food (yes, another food example), I’m going for the fries, and if I don’t get a lot, I feel short-changed, but at the same time, I could easily fail to see that they gave me a free cookie. And, how many of us out there feel like we’re slacking if we actually have a moment to sit or rest, but instead of appreciating the moment, we start to think that somehow we should still be working on something or doing something, versus using the time to finally do what we have always wanted to do (i.e. spend more time with our kids/partners, take better care of ourselves, sleep, just rest)?

Right now, I feel, as we move into this New Year, God (regardless of your current beliefs) truly is calling each of us to shift our perspective. In order to move forward, it's time to stop and shift they way we're thinking, they way we're seeing life, and they way we're allowing ourselves to grow and be, because, for one reason or another, many of our perspectives have been challenged in the last few years. We are at a place where we need to renew the perspective that is set before us, not from the lens of the very hard places many of us have encountered, but from the lens that: "there is light at the end of the tunnel.” In this way, our perspective shift will actually give us space to heal, to forgive, to rest, and to grow.

As we prepare to take our next steps, we are all going to have many opportunities to look at a situation that is, otherwise, normal or neutral, from the perspective of scarcity or abundance, lesson or setback, or life or death. And, depending on what our eyes have been drawn to previously, this shift will also determine how quickly we are able to embrace new perspectives and even define the new experiences in front of us.

For some of us, these new perspectives may definitely take intentionality and accountability, because when you’ve encountered trauma, lack, loss, grief, burnout, or just rejection, it is VERY easy to air on the side of lackluster perspective, or the negative spiral of thoughts that say things like: I didn’t please that person; I didn’t get the response I wanted; Things will always be this way; or, Things will never work out. If I can offer you nothing else at this very moment, know that you will overcome this place! You are needed, your story is needed, and your life is designed to leave a legacy.

Most importantly, in the process of shifting perspective, please remember to have grace on yourself, because that is also marker of maturity in perspective. Start thinking, "even if my perspective is not perfectly aligned at the moment -- where can I get better, stronger, more aware of the shifts I need to make?" Be open to confronting yourself in some of the hard moments (and let that accountability in as well) to ask: How can I rectify this? How can I reconcile the situation? What can I do differently in the future? How I can learn from this? Or, most importantly, How can I forgive and move forward?

From this moment forward, choose to embrace the perspective of freedom and peace so you can release the issue that’s been bothering you, forgive the person that’s hurt you, or move forward in your life. Choose to allow your perspective to make space for healing, and ultimately push you towards the abundance you deserve in your mind, body, spirit and soul. And remember, as the greatest person in history once said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jesus; John 16:33).

My visionary friends, I encourage you to challenge yourself, even now, to re-work your thoughts, mindset, and perspective. Start giving yourself the space to let the hard re-wiring of the last few years become untangled. Start recognizing that you are someone who has endured much and can and will succeed. And, as always, embrace the beautiful perspective that you are designed to be influentially visionary!

So, here's to your season of new perspectives. Here's to your success as you seek abundance versus distress. And, here's to you living in the place of the double portion as you move forward in this year and beyond!

Congratulations on arriving to the end of 2021, and Happiest of New Years to you as you dare to be influentially visionary in 2022!


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