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Commentary: A change of perspective

FARGO — I’ve read two books by Pastor Mark Batterson and own several more. I would highly recommend any of his books. You will enjoy his creative, energetic, action-oriented and engaging writing style.

In both of Batterson’s books I’ve read, he shares a helpful formula. Being a huge fan of math, I get excited when I see formulas. But beyond the pure natural joy of formulas, his formula has been increasingly helpful to me and led me to a decision in my 2019 calendar.

Batterson’s formula is: “A change of PACE plus a change of PLACE equals a change of PERSPECTIVE.”

When I first read it I thought, “Sure, that sounds good.” But it has stuck with me. And the power of any formula is not in admiring it but in implementing it.

By nature, I have a joy and comfort found in the friendly rhythm of a typical day or week. I like the familiarity of a typical day and I feel productive when a day goes as planned. I also believe and have experienced there is no growth while clinging to the comfort zone and no comfort if you extend yourself into the growth zone.

When we become comfortable we can easily slip into complacency, lose sight of the vision God has for our future, stop dreaming, compare ourselves to others and develop emotionally and spiritually unhealthy attitudes. Our world can close in around us as we pursue unhealthy habits to release our tension and discouragement. The solution? A change of pace plus a change of place.

I have implemented this formula in small and large ways. Taking lunch at a different time and going for a walk at an unfamiliar park can unlock some new avenues of thought. Making sure you unplug from work for at least one 24-hour period each week is a fundamental habit for successful living.

We are blessed that Scripture highlights this habit to us through God’s command to believers to honor the Sabbath. Medical researchers, with no religious bias, have confirmed the importance of a 24-hour break from work for the health of our hearts.

Our family has checked into a local hotel and hung out at the pool and that change of pace and change of place has brought renewal to our home. This winter, I am going on a trip to the Holy Land.

Although I have never had a deep interest or passion for studying history I have developed a sense of great appreciation and discovered large doses of inspiration by visiting historical sites. I cannot wait to walk the paths in Nazareth where Jesus walked, sit on a large stone on the Mount of Beatitudes and read from the Sermon on the Mount. I will visit a first century synagogue where it is virtually certain that Jesus once was.

We will have a communion service on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. I will spend time in Bethlehem swimming in the Dead Sea and visiting the muddy Jordan River where Jesus was baptized.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you through this column but if a change of pace plus a change of place results in a change of perspective this trip will be priceless. God bless you. See you next Sunday!