Twenty-Three Years

I have lived in Venice, Florida for the last twenty-three years.  Longer than I have lived in any one place in my entire life.  Heck, I was thirty-three when I moved to Venice.


Doing the math blows my mind.  Twenty-three years before moving to Venice I was eleven-years old and in sixth grade.  The twenty-three years, from sixth grade to moving to Venice, seem so much longer than the twenty-three years that I have lived in Venice.  In fact, if I had met someone, on the day I moved, that told me that they had lived in Venice for twenty-three years, I would have asked them what the town was like, way back then. 


I know that twenty-three years is twenty-three years.  The time between 1977 and 2000 is exactly the same amount of time between 2000 and 2023.  Yet, perspective plays a large part in the experience of time.  The difference between eleven-year old me and thirty-three-year-old me, when it comes to the perspective of time, is way different than thirty-three-year-old me to fifty-six-year-old me.  Sitting in 2000 looking back to 1977 seems like so much more time than sitting in 2023 and looking back to 2000.


The difference is my perspective; even though a day has always been a day and a year has always been a year.  At the age of eleven, so much happened in my life in one year.  So much more than what happened in one year of my life when I was thirty-three.  Physical changes, mental changes, location changes, school changes and friend changes; all added up to a perspective that a year was so much more than simply 365 days. 


Also, my ability to remember the last twenty-three years plays a large part in my perspective.  I remember the last twenty-three years so much more vividly than I remember the twenty-three years between eleven years old and thirty-three years old.  My memories of my younger years are filled with flashes of big events, major experiences like first crushes, broken arms and moving to new towns without much in between.  While the last twenty-three years I can tell you about the minutiae of events.  Morning drives to school, first steps, sleep overs, bedtime routines, vacations, home improvements, fashion trends and popular music.  All of which combine to make it seem, in my perspective, that the last twenty-three years was a shorter span of time than the twenty-three years between 1977 and 2000.


I share all of this, not to make you feel old or to say that you must experience time in the exact same way that I do.  I’m sharing this to spotlight the importance of personal perspective, when it comes to understanding your life.  With every memory you have, with every opinion that you hold and every decision that you make, you must always take your personal perspective into consideration.  How do you see something like time, other people, the world and even God?  And what perspectives do you hold regarding these things? 


In asking these questions your goal isn’t to judge or condemn yourself, like you have done something wrong or your perspectives are wrong.  The goal is simply to be real.  In getting real, God can meet you right where you are and walk with you.  In this walking you just might realize that a perspective that you have is not correct.  Like thinking that 1977 to 2000 is a much longer span of time than 2000 to 2023.  In this realization, you will gain a new perspective on your life and the world around you.  This new perspective will lead to transformation in your life.  For your perspectives aren’t about what you do.  They are about who you are and how you see the world around you.


Your perspectives dictate your opinions, your likes, your dislikes, your fears and your joys.  The goal isn’t to throw out all of your current perspectives.  The goal is to simply acknowledge and examine your current perspectives. 


Your goal is to see if any of your perspectives are preventing you from being all that God has created you to be.  Are any of your perspectives based on false or inaccurate information?  Are any of your perspectives causing you to be more afraid or more anxious than you need to be?  Are any of your perspectives causing your life to be out of balance in any way?


Take a stroll down memory lane and ask yourself questions about how you see your life, the world around you, the other people around you and even God.  Get real.  And then be open to God transforming your perspectives.  For transforming perspectives is what God has always been up to.