As they say…perception is not always reality. Sometimes we can’t believe our eyes. Sometimes we can. Sometimes we can’t believe our feelings. Sometimes we can. If we believe what we shouldn’t believe…we just might go into a tailspin.
That’s why I hung a toy airplane from our kitchen ceiling about 15 years ago. The little plane hangs upside down as a warning about the danger of spatial disorientation.
Spatial disorientation is the inability to correctly interpret aircraft altitude or airspeed in relation to the earth or point of reference. Spatial disorientation is a condition in which an aircraft pilot’s perception of direction does not agree with reality. (Wikipedia)
In other words, an airplane pilot can be flying along just fine; keeping an eye on the horizon. He knows exactly where he is and what his plane is doing. But if he loses sight of the horizon for some reason – say a heavy fog rolls in or a storm comes up – the pilot loses his point of reference and can become disoriented.
With no accurate point of reference, up can feel exactly like down and vice versa. Feeling as if he is operating the plane very skillfully and gaining altitude, the pilot can drive it straight into the ground. He would not know, until too late, that his perception was wrong – his feelings lied to him.
A pilot who is flying blind because of weather or darkness needs to know how to fly using his instrument panel. He can’t rely on his feelings. Only the instrument panel will provide accurate data about how to proceed.
This funny little video from AOPA illustrates the dangers of flying blind.
So the toy plane hangs in our kitchen, reminding us not to act on our feelings alone.
We got this idea years ago from an old “Moody Science Classics” video, but we’ve talked about it a lot over the years since John and Monica both took ground school and flight training and Monica is now a licensed pilot. It’s a perfect illustration.
The bible is our instrument panel as we go through life. It’s God’s word to all humans, and it addresses every wind of circumstance, cloud of sorrow, and storm of adversity we fly into. It even gives directions about how to proceed on a bright sunny day.
It’s important to be familiar with the bible, the instrument panel, but a lot of people would rather fly by feelings – perceived facts.
Even Christians who believe the bible… even me.
So often I forget, and sway under discouragement, or go into a little tailspin of worry. Then with relief I remember my control panel – the words designed by my Maker who knows the complete flight plan of our lives.
That’s why I hung that little airplane in my kitchen.