The car is back in the shop today. I previously reported that nothing was wrong with it, but it turns out that's not quite true. Actually, there's nothing wrong with the engine, but the internal sensors are all out of whack. Specifically, one of the core sensors is shot, and its malfunction has caused a cascade failure of seven other key sensors throughout the system. The engine may continue to run fine for some time to come, but the dashboard will tell me, continually, that the car is busted in multiple ways, hanging on by a thread. Alarms are sounding off everywhere, alerting me to danger that isn't really there. So I'm getting my sensors fixed.
This curious trouble with my car got me thinking about the art and skill of Reframing -- which is a sort of human version of "sensor repair" work that all of us have to do from time to time. Sometimes our real problem isn't with the things that happen to us, but with the way we choose to perceive them. Our internal sensors signal "Danger," or "Fear," or "System-wide Failure!" while, in reality, the engine of our lives may be running just fine. "It's all in how you look at it" is an axiom that holds a lot of power for those who are willing to believe it.
Take Neo, for example, in the scene pictured above from The Matrix. As long as Neo saw the agents as agents, he couldn't really beat them. But when he shifted his perspective (i.e. retrained his sensors) to see them on a different level--as lines of computer code--he was able to overcome them easily.
Here's an example from my own life: I'm in a season where a lot of change is happening in a lot of arenas of my life all at once. For the past few weeks, all this change has made me feel tense and anxious, even though all the changes are good. I realized recently that the "frame" or perspective I was holding around all this change was that it was "Too Much All At Once." But, in reality, that's not really true; that's just how it felt. The deeper truth is that all this change is coming at exactly the right time for me. The truth is that "This is the Right Time. I'm Ready for This." That shift away from a perspective that wasn't really true to one that is true has caused my tension and anxiety to vanish. Nothing externally has changed one bit; yet my experience of it is vastly different, all because I reframed the way I was choosing to see it.
My friend John Burke gave an interesting talk at Gateway Church this past weekend along similar lines. While talking about how lies can lure us into destructive life patterns, he gives some very practical steps for shifting your perspective in life from views ("frames") that are not really true to much more life-giving views that are. When you have about 40 minutes, I recommend checking it out.
Twisted | Watch Your Blind Side from Gateway Church on Vimeo.
The rigor imperative
14 hours ago