Joy Is a Choice

Among the optical illusions that’s one of my favorites is the staircase illusion where you are viewing the staircase from above or from beneath. Usually you more easily see it one way or the other and have to really study it to, hopefully, see it the other way. I’ll admit real annoyance, staring at the image for a prolonged period of time and still not being able to see it. I find myself blinking several times, and even being tempted to shake my head or give the ol’ noggin a hard rap with the knuckles! What a gratifying feeling to finally see the staircase the other way!

The staircase optical illusion, and others like it, remind me that there are different ways of viewing things, beyond optical illusions. The Good Lord has given us the ability to make choices. How we view something, anything, is at least in part a choice.

For me, it’s often easier to see the negative in a situation rather than the positive. The electricity goes off, and I immediately think of what I can’t do and start grumbling. My irritation only grows as I throw a light switch or reach for a remote. What about allowing the situation to prompt a curiosity as to what I can do without electricity and a greater appreciation for it when it comes back on? Using my God-given ability to actively choose how to respond rather than passively react is hard work!

Back to the staircase illustration; I find it so easy to view my circumstances from a position beneath the stairs rather than from on top of the stairs! But as a person who has decided to live my life with an active faith and trust in God I’ve determined that I won’t live in denial of God’s good presence in every situation, allowing myself to habitually react in a negative way. If I believe God is sovereign (in ultimate control of things) then I should also believe that He has something good for me to find in that which strikes me initially as not being so good.

The staircase optical illusion is a reminder that I can choose to view a situation from either underneath it or above it. My goal is to establish the habit of looking at it from above! You too?

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. Psalm 27:1,3


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