Stress Relief: When We Lose Perspective

When I lose my perspective, everything starts to fall like dominos. The overwhelm factor takes over and I cannot see clearly. What once made sense, now seems so out of reach. When I lose perspective, thoughts I can normally cast down seem to have greater authority over me. Stress rises and energy drains quickly. My connection to wisdom seems distant while hope seems to be drift away.

What’s happening? My perspective has been compromised.

Beware of Losing Your Perspective

Any honest person understands that we if we do not guard our perspective, we are minutes, if not seconds away from losing our perspective.

Over the years, Melissa and I have had to work hard on guarding the perspective that guides our mindsets. For the enemy walks about, intent to steal your perspective and overthrow your ability to walk with the mind of Christ.

At the same time, if you can cultivate a strong and growing perspective, there is nothing that can stop you from overcoming.

Stress and Perspective

The dangers of living in a fear and stress driven life is the pressure that intensifies. With that weight of pressure, we crumble and lose our vision. We forget who we are and what God is doing. We lose sight of what matters. Instead of magnifying God, we magnify the enemy.

One of the top factors that will steal your perspective is a life of unrelenting stress. When stress intensifies, fear gets the upper hand in your thoughts, while negativity and overwhelm continually rise to take you out.

The Power of Perspective

Your perspective is how you see things at any given moment. When it is strong, you can go through anything in life. Yet when it has been tapped out, anything can discourage you.

Some of the greatest men and women of God were hindered because they lost perspective. A powerful example of this is Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in history.

From Mountain Top to Wanting to Die

How do you go from calling fire from heaven to wanting to die? You lose perspective.

A man with unusual supernatural manifestations, Elijah had his perspective stolen by one person who spoke words against him. Through the intimidation, manipulation and control of Jezebel’s influence, a great man of God’s perspective crumbled into depression, despair and deep self-pity.

His most famous encounter is the showdown that took place at Mt Carmel, where Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to an “everything on the line” game of, “Show Whose God is Real.”

In a dynamic victory, Elijah not only demonstrated who the true God is, he had the 800 prophets that were against him brought into the valley and killed.

It’s at this point it’s easy to say, “nothing can stop this guy!” You would think he’d be bulletproof at this point.

But things take a drastic turn, all from the threats of one person.

Loss of Perspective from Intimidation

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 1 Kings 19:1-2

God called Elijah to bring the word of the Lord in a time where Israel was ruled by Ahab, a king who married a foreign wife. With this marriage, Jezebel brought her pagan practices and a manipulative ways. Ahab was a very passive leader, making it easy for Jezebel to intimidate, manipulate and control many aspects of the country with her ways of witchcraft.

These prophets who died were a representation of her influence. The defeat at Mount Carmel was personal. In retaliation, she sends a threat, saying, “By this time tomorrow, you too Elijah will be slaughtered by a sword. You better watch your back buddy.”

As a reader, you think, “This is nothing. Elijah is a superhero man of God. These words will slide right off his back like water.”


Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba 1 Kings 19:3a

We Run Away from Problems

What?! Who is this guy? What happened? A man who initiated one of the greatest showdowns in history is running for his life all the way down to the southernmost part of Judah. He ran from the middle of Israel to the southern part of Judah. This would actually take a couple weeks to get there.

He must of ran like Forest Gump. He ran and ran and ran.

This is what we do when we lose perspective, we run away and avoid problems. That is exactly what the enemy is looking for when he uses intimidation tactics against you. It will strip your perspective, so you forget who you are and the power you carry.

Running into Isolation

And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 1 Kings 19:3

The next thing that happens is he goes away to be alone; not to commune with God, but to isolate in self-pity.

When you lose perspective, you don’t go into solitude to get refreshed, you go into isolation.

That is a mistake we make when we lose perspective. We get alone and wallow without any resolve. We become false-martyrs. We feed thoughts of self-pity, victim thinking, despair and self-loathing. And the problems only gets worse.

Victim Prayers

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1 Kings 19:4

In his loss of perspective, he prays the prayer that many of us pray in times like this.

He says, “I wanna die!” It is a prayer of, “I cannot take this anymore. I quit. I’m done!”

In your life, you may say, “I am not enough for this. I cannot take it anymore. I am not going back to this job, this situation or that problem. I’ve had it. I’m sick of this!”

Elijah goes further into self-pity. He calls himself no better than his ancestors. In other words, “I might as well be dead like them.”

Welcoming Darkness

His “slip and slide” tumble into feeling sorry for himself is welcoming an atmosphere of death and despair around him. When we fall into the pit and stay there without any remedy, despair and death will cloud over our vision of hope and life.

Elijah says, “God, you might as well take my life, because I’m going to die anyway. I quit.”

You and I are a puzzled at this, but we fall into the same patterns in our life.  

Mercy in Our Loss of Perspective

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 1 Kings 19:5

Sometimes taking a nap or going to bed can help us reset and get a new perspective.

Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 1 Kings 19:6

Other times, we have low blood sugar and need a good bite to eat. Elijah gets supernatural provision of this.

He receives a second round of angelic help.

And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 1 Kings 19:7

The help of heaven is meeting him at every step! God takes care of him, even in his despair. But as you will see, it doesn’t make a dent in his perspective.

So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. 1 Kings 19:8

If sleep and getting a good meal don’t help. Get up and move to shift your perspective. In Elijah’s case, he walked for 40 days and 40 nights on the energy of one meal! That was one supernatural meal!

A Far Away Escape

At this point, Elijah is as far as could be from Ahab and Jezebel. He is now at Mount Horeb (Mount Horeb), the Mountain of God, the same place where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. He is not even in Israel anymore. He’s in Egypt!

The same place where Moses encountered the majesty of the Lord is now a location where Elijah is about to have an epic loss of perspective in cave.

What Are You Afraid Of?

If you read the story for the first time, you think, “What is wrong with you? What are you afraid of? Why are you being so down?”

  • You’ve been supernaturally provided for.
  • Fire was just called out of heaven.
  • Heaven was shut up for three years, when there was no rain. You were used to make that happen.
  • Miracles follow you everywhere.
  • And now you want to die?

This is what happens when you lose perspective. What used to make sense doesn’t make sense anymore. And what makes sense to you now is far from true.

“If Only God Would Show Up”

When you are in pity and despair, it’s not uncommon to pray, “God, just please show up!” God actually manifests Himself in this situation.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9

God is coming to Elijah with an obvious question, especially with all the miracles that just happened, “Elijah, what are you doing HERE?! Have you forgotten, you’re a prophet of Israel! What are you doing in Egypt? Elijah, wake up, I’ve called you for a specific task. What are you doing?”

God would say, “Elijah, as I see it, things could not be better. We’re on the verge of a spiritual renewal for the land of Israel. As I see it, Elijah, we are right where we need to be. With that in mind, what are you doing in a cave in Egypt?”

A Stuck Perspective

The God encounter does nothing to shift Elijah’s perspective.

So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 1 Kings 19:10

This is where you can understand the effects that fear, stress and intimidation can have on your perspective. Elijah looks at the very same circumstances, the very same series of events, and he interprets them completely different.

Stress and Perspective

Elijah is stressed out because of one sentence Jezebel delivered.

For all of us, it doesn’t take much to stress us out. It just needs to hit the right button.

Stress is not really about what happens to us as it does the loss of perspective in a situation. Here you have two completely different perspectives of the same situation. Stress isn’t just what happens. It’s what happens combined with how we perceive and view those circumstances.

God looked at the same set of circumstances, and his perspective was completely different than Elijah’s.

I am grateful that God does not just strike him dead. He shows mercy. His next action is an invitation of basically saying, “OK Elijah. Let me just jog your memory a little bit. Let me try and put things in perspective for you. Allow me to remind you of who I am and who you are as my prophet.”

Remembering Who God Is

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12

God manifests Himself in majestic and powerful ways, simply to help restore Elijah’s perspective. He moves and shakes creation. But most of all, His voice comes through in the stillness.

God is always encouraging us in our loss of perspective to get still and listen for His voice of encouragement.

But even with the manifestation of God’s presence and voice, something any Christian would die to experience in this way, Elijah doesn’t snap out of it.

But Elijah does not budge. He wraps himself in a blankie and remains in his funk. 

God is showing him, “See, things change when I enter the picture. See what I can do! Hear my voice and receive a new perspective.”

A Second Chance

Just in case Elijah’s had a momentary glitch in his thinking, God repeats the question, to give Elijah a chance to rebound.

So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:13

Elijah, do you get the picture? Are you ready to change your perspective? Let me ask you again, Oh prophet of Israel! HELLO! What are you doing in Egypt, in a cave? Oh prophet of the Living Powerful God, why are you hiding from this woman?”

Elijah still doesn’t get it. He replies with his ironclad pity story.  

And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 1 Kings 19:14

Have you ever felt like Elijah did, and said to God, “God why don’t you show up and talk to me? Why don’t you come here in person and help me through this?” We think if God would just show up and talk to us in person, we will feel better.

God reveals Himself and Elijah is still stuck in his perspective.

The Place of Decision

That is what happens, even to the greatest men and women of God who lose perspective. Even God showing up right in front of our face does nothing to change our minds.

Even though there were 7,000 prophets waiting for him and a whole new movement of God was being initiated across the land, Elijah can’t see it because his perspective was stolen.

So you and I have a decision to make. What will we do with our perspective? Will we allow it to be so easily stolen or will we diligently guard it?

Today, you and I have a choice with how we will see things. God can reveal Himself to you and all your friends can show up to support you. But in the end, the choice of your perspective is yours to make.

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