Look at this picture, and tell me what you see.
On first glance you might think, it’s just a romantic scene. A man and woman are standing on a shoreline gazing into the distance. It looks very simple with nothing extraordinary to point out, but look again. In your mind begin to focus on just the white area of the picture letting the tree be an edge or lining. Suddenly, the picture begins to take on a new image or shape that overshadows the old image. Can you see it now? It’s an image of a baby in a womb.
Another Example of Image Within an Image
Let’s try one that’s a little more common. I’ve seen this one circulating quite a bit around the internet, and I’ll admit that it took me a little while to finally get my eyes to see the new image. What is the first thing you see when you look at the picture below?
Most people see the old lady first with her big nose and long chin resting in what appears to be a coat of fur. Look a little closer and see what else is there. Once you’ve looked a couple of minutes you begin to see a young woman with her face turned away from the view and a large feather is sticking out of her headpiece. Two images. One drawing. What makes them different? It is how we look at the picture that makes all the difference.
These pictures are so much fun to analyze and look at; however, now that you know the secret within it is almost impossible to look at them without noting the hidden image. In other words, you can’t un-see what your brain has already deciphered is there. These are great examples to show how our shifting paradigm can change our overall, or whole, perspective. So, what does a paradigm do? Well, like I stated in an earlier blog, a paradigm is a shifting from one view into another one. It’s like looking at those pictures up above. When you first looked at them you saw them one particular way. After a few minutes of looking and studying you finally began to see something totally different. Your paradigm shifted. Did anything about the actual picture change? No. The lines, the colors, the shapes all remained the same. The only thing that changed was your very own perspective while looking at it. This is no different than what happens in the natural. A great example of a major paradigm shift would be when (or if) you become a parent. Once you add kids to your life everything changes from how you eat, sleep, travel, spend free time, even go to the bathroom. Your life shifts and so does your overall perspective.
What Causes A Paradigm Shift To Happen?
Unfortunately, these shifts are not often something that can be controlled. Again, relating the example of having children. Of course, the conscious decision to have kids (most of the time) is a choice we make; however, how a person reacts to this change varies from person to person. When I had my first child I was twenty-five, and I had been married five years. Our lives were independent, busy, and we made our own schedules. After our daughter was born everything changed. Sure, it happened gradually, but it still happened. Suddenly, I found myself working everything around a new baby. From grocery shopping to sleep schedules to friend time and me time. Life shifts and so does our whole perspective.
Other times, we make a conscious paradigm shift much like we did when we gazed at the pictures above. You look, discern, study, analyze until something within your own vision begins to change.
How Does This Apply Biblically
Let’s look at Peter’s vision from Acts 10. It says, “About noon the following day as they were approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance. He saw heaven open and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by it’s four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals as well as reptiles of the earth and the birds of the air. Then a voice told him, “get up Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.”
Wow! Look at the amazing vision, and then as you read further in the scripture you will begin to see how Peter’s whole worldview (concerning Jewish people and the Gentiles)is turned upside down through this vision. His entire paradigm begins to shift through the prompting and direction of the LORD, and through this the whole Gentile nation is brought into the fold. Notice, that Peter did not look at the vision as literal in context. Instead, he began to ponder the symbols given, what they meant, and how they were being used as a means to speak to him on a personal level. He knew the LORD was asking him to do something, and it was important to understand what that ‘something’ was. Of course, those who have read Acts 10 knows the complete story, and this was the way the LORD was preparing Peter be a vessel for His glory toward the Gentiles, to receive spiritually and physically those whom he had not looked on as important or significant in the larger scope of the resurrection of Christ. His focus was on his own people and ways, but the LORD was causing Peter see outside his paradigm boundaries and shift his view to something much more significant and powerful. Pondering is amazing! The Lord uses this method with us, I believe, in order to cause us to draw nearer to him and pull us into His divine perspective.
10 Prophetic Questions To Help With Shifting Paradigms
Sometimes when things happen: visions, dreams, actual natural occurrences or events in and around your life, area, state, etc. you might wonder, much as I have in the past, how does this affect me? Is this a significant moment in time, and will it shift my personal view and my worldview? It can all be a little confusing to grasp at first, kind of like looking at those images at the beginning of my blog, but the more we apply ourselves to understanding then the more the shift becomes less intimidating. In fact, there are 10 ways that we can examine things in and around us through asking prophetic questions that help us gain more enlightenment.
- When events happen in the natural that feel significant or prophetic in my life, I like to ask the question (and I read this years ago in a book), “If this were a dream what would it mean?” For example: years ago, I was personally going through a very difficult, significant situation. I had been deeply affected. One night, after much prayer and time with the LORD, my husband shook me awake around midnight. “Did you put this horse on the bed?” he asked. I was a little startled by his words, and I thought, he must be dreaming. I turned over and right there on our bed was a little wooden rocking horse, which belonged to my daughter when she was much smaller. I said, “No. You must have sleep walked and picked it up.” It was perfectly situated. Sitting straight up and facing us just like it had the ability to walk up there on its own. The reins were over its head laying only inches from my husband’s hands. I could have been totally freaked out by this event, but somehow I just knew it was a prophetic sign. The first thing I thought was…if this were a dream..…It was right after this night that we received the prophetic word that the LORD was awaking the sleeping giant and causing us to grow strong in our warfare, much like the men who once rode the horses to war, we were able, strong, and we would prevail.
- From the event you see (whether vision, dream, natural) or experience, do you notice any evidence of wordplay? For example, John Paul Jackson used to share about a dream he had where he was pregnant, and in the dream he knew that he would have to have a C-section. The Lord used this wordplay to speak to the “seer’s” within his spirit man. He would be birthing Seer’s into the kingdom. Do you see the connection? “C” section = “seers”
- Always note when something symbolic occurs to see if there is any connection with what is going on in and around you, your church, community, city, state, world, etc. I shared in an earlier blog about a friend of mine seeing an eagle (which is rare in her area), and how the LORD used that symbol to speak to her about her life, what was going on, and how He was going to work everything out. What would have happened if she had ignored the symbol? Well, the LORD still could work things out, but look at all the time in between where she would have suffered under the tireless anxious issue without knowing that the outcome would be victorious.
- This goes along with number three – is there evidence of divine timing?
- When something takes place, did you note whether or not this event or dream fell along the lines of significant timing (could be holidays, anniversaries, etc)?
- Did you notice any numbers within the event or dream?
- How does it correspond with the Bible?
- Did you notice shifting and changing within the spiritual and physical? Did your paradigm begin to shift through events, dreams, visions, prophetic occurrences? (Think about Acts 10)
- Can you organize into a timeline? For example: Me seeing the wooden horse on the bed came right at a crucial and symbolic time in my life. I could begin to put the events that led up to that moment and what came after in a direct prophetic timeline to help me better understand what was going on and what the LORD was trying to convey to me.
- Most important, how does God expect me to respond to this?
These questions work great in your study time as you work through or analyze what you feel like the LORD is saying to you. They help to prompt your mind and create a unique way to decipher and think through your situations.
Have you ever had a major paradigm shift? If you don’t mind sharing, then share a little about the shift and how it affected you personally, spiritually, emotionally, or in a larger scope of your religious or world view? For example: my friend lost her mother several years ago suddenly to lung cancer. My friend had been a smoker most of her teen and adult life, and this sudden and unexpected death really shook her to the core. It changed her mindset and outlook toward the value of life and the appreciation for those things that we often take for granted. Not only did she lose her mother, but she realized that life was not a guarantee. Often, when we are young we feel like we can live forever and everyone we have around us will always be there. It takes a drastic paradigm shift to change this outlook and bring in greater understanding about the value of life in and around us. Whatever your experience, I pray that God continues to give you wisdom and insight into all your dreams, visions, natural events, and prophetic encounters. Be blessed and keep dreaming.