WARNING! Much of this blog will sound like a riddle so take your time reading it so you can solve the riddle!
Albert Einstein “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Douglas Adams “Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”
Anais Nin “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.”
Stephen R. Covey “To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.”
Each of these quotes point to the conclusion our perceptions create a reality. We tend to be very stubborn in defending our created reality, even when it is based on perception alone. Most often we are in denial that “perhaps” our perception could be wrong. No matter how many times we might hear, “That’s just your perception”, we still believe it is REALITY, acting like “We know what we know and that settles it”! Unfortunately, this often leaves us in “the land of no return” refusing to believe anything other than what we perceive to be real or true.
Even Christians let their reality be formed by their own errant perceptions even though we “Walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) We walk by faith in a God that is alive and living within us! THAT is our reality – based on faith not on perceptions! So when we base reality on sight and on what we perceive to be truth instead of faith, we actually live in a false or made-up reality created by us.
The great news is anyone can change their reality by changing their perception. Of course, without letting perception be formed by faith in Jesus Christ, we would still just be creating a different reality! So…we let God fashion our perceptions AND create our reality rather than letting our personal perceptions dictate our reality. To do that requires only one thing: a decision!
Most everything in life starts with a decision or a choice! I’m sure most people reading this are thinking, “Really? I didn’t decide or choose to be born! I didn’t decide or choose my parents! I didn’t decide or choose to have this disease! I didn’t decide or choose to live in a bad marriage! How is it that most things in life begin with a decision or choice?” Touché!
But not so fast! Most often in life we can’t decide or choose what happens TO us – BUT we can always decide and choose what happens IN us and how we respond to the world AROUND us! Those decisions make all the difference in life! And I’m not talking about the power of positive thinking or having a positive attitude! I’m talking about making a conscious decision, choosing to let God create and continually renew our perception of reality.
Friends…the sad truth is… if we decide not to let God fashion our perception of reality, there are plenty of people in this world more than willing to help create a false or tainted perception for or with us. Wandering through life not making purposeful choices or letting people and circumstances help create your perception of reality leads to a very un-fulfilling life.
Marketers, magicians, artists, even the government all rely on their ability to make us see things the way they want us to see them. Unfortunately, even some Christian churches rely on their ability to draw people unto themselves and into their programs instead of into Jesus! Plus, Satan has done a pretty decent job of getting God’s people to see all that is wrong with their leaders and each other, to focus on disagreements, to walk away from their churches, to accuse other Christians of making them feel unloved, rejected, bored, angry, or hurt; all in an effort to form negative perceptions about the reality of following Christ!
When Christians believe their perception is reality in the Church, it gets twisted real fast and they start church hopping, trying to find the perfect church to fit all their needs, feeding their own selfish desires, instead of asking the Lord where He wants them. When people move from church to church because of dissatisfaction based on perceptions, they just take their false perceptions from one church to the next to the next, spreading poison and creating a blurred or completely clouded perception of true Christianity to more people, resulting in lukewarm Christians fighting against one another in the name of love.
“Perception is Reality” is false on a strictly factual basis though practically speaking it at least “appears” to be true in our society! Because of this, we often let people’s perceptions of us make or break us, whether they are accurate and have any merit or not. There is also the issue of “our” perception of other people’s perceptions, which can also be tainted and false though just as real. These too can cause a ton of damage as we tend to believe what we perceive to be real even though what we might feel is based solely on our perception of what they perceive about us. (reread that if need be)
As you can see, this is just a vicious circle of falsehood based on faulty perceptions we have determined to be reality! When we allow the perceptions of others to determine how we perceive ourselves, it can lead to some devastating and debilitating psychological issues, or at the other end of the spectrum, can makes us think WAY more highly of ourselves than we ought to think if we perceive people think highly of us!
Another big problem with “perception is reality” is it creates biases based on past experiences. For example, if we perceive something to be true based on a “bad” past experience, it is difficult for us to get a clean, fresh, unbiased, objective view of something or someone, thus we base present and future actions from that bad experience. When the past has left a sour taste in our mouths, we are unlikely to give anything or anyone another shot! Biased “bad” past experiences lead us to act and perceive things negatively both in relation to self and the world, not to mention we stubbornly hold tight to our perceptions, no matter how tainted, unhealthy, pessimistic, depressing, or harmful they are, just so we can be “right”.
Here’s the bottom line: Perception might be our reality, but truth still trumps perception EVERY TIME! Now THAT is TRUTH! We must be willing to embrace truth, letting God’s Word generate and regenerate our perceptions in life; otherwise we stay ensnared and imprisoned by falsehood, deception, and fear without even knowing it’s happening.
When we settle for the “fact” that “perception is reality”, in reality we are merely settling for our own explanation. In other words, we let our perception form excuses for our behavior, especially where division and misunderstandings exist. This “allows” us not to do anything to change our circumstances or behavior, seeing there is no perceived need TO correct our behavior, because if perception of the situation is reality, nobody better dare tell us our reality is wrong!
Making matters worse, this mentality contributes to leaving and letting people live in their flawed perceptions. In effect, we choose not to tell the truth, concluding since perception is a person’s reality we are incapable to change anyone’s perception, therefore incapable of changing their reality, so it’s pointless to tell the truth if we believe they only see truth in terms of their own perception anyway. Whew!
This of course completely leaves out God’s Word! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (including freedom from our own perceptions) (John 8:32) Or “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) Or “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Truth be told; we need to be told the truth!
So… while pondering all this, I had an epiphany! If we stop buying into the falsehood that “perception is reality” even though it might be factual in society; if we stop using “perception is reality” as an excuse for not telling the truth; if we stop staying silent because we think nobody listens to truth anyway; THEN we can be part of God’s plan to help people perceive His presence in life, and live in His truth based on His reality, 24/7!!!!
Since it’s a fact “perception is reality” BUT… truth surpasses AND annihilates perception, THEN…the truth is we just need our perceptions cleansed by the blood of Jesus, purified by the fire of God’s love, and transformed and renewed by the Word of God! Then “perception is reality” is replaced by “God’s truth is reality”!
Perception is Reality? Not so fast!