Birds called, lizards skittered across the sidewalk and a couple squirrels chased each other up and around a tree. A few blocks into my outing, the bright pink blossoms of an oleander bush brought a smile. I longed to pick a few and take them home, but didn’t want to spoil the view for someone else. Then I noticed a dozen or so scattered on the ground. I felt okay about carting one of those beauties home with me.
But when I bent to take hold of it, I was disappointed.
Small, brownish spots marred the petals. Naturally. The flowers had fallen from the bush because they were dying. But from afar, I hadn’t noticed. They looked as unspoiled as the ones still blooming.
God had a picture in the petals for me.
In our new home, the paint marks of a darker hue mar the surface of most of our walls where the previous tenants tried to touch up nail holes. For some strange reason, the paint that is supposed to match, doesn’t. I had been so disappointed with the messed up walls that I had been focusing on it for days. What could I do? How could we match the paint? Should we repaint or ask the owner to?
In that narrow focus, I was losing sight of the our home being a gift from God.
Like viewing bacteria under a microscope, I saw things hugely disporpotionate to their actual size. It changed my perspective and created an attitude of discontent and worry instead of thanksgiving. Before my scrutinizing, my home was a beautiful blessing from the Lord. Just like the blossoms dropped on the sidewalk.
And there was more.
I contemplated these things as I continued my walk and entered the nature trail. The wide sidewalk was cool and shady, a respite from the growing heat. But I also began to feel nervous in this new setting. Trees emerged from the dark, swampy ground on each side of the path and hung over the top like a canopy. Thoughts of alligators began to plague me. What if they were lurking within grabbing reach of my hesitant steps? Fear crept into my heart where none resided before.
On the left!
A cheerful voice called out from behind me.
An older couple smiled and waved as they rode by me on bikes. I smiled as the fear melted a bit inside me. Within a few steps, another biker rounded a bend in front of me, calling out
Good morning! Beautiful day, isn’t it?
Yes. Yes it was. Especially with a change in my perspective.
I hadn’t seen or heard the approaching neighbors because they were outside my scope of vision. Once again, I couldn’t see the bigger picture because of the narrow focus of my situation.
God reminded me that morning that if I look too intently at my circumstances, I can miss the beauty in what he has for me, or what he is doing. I lose sight of him and his goodness, his provison and his love. Which is exactly what had been happening as I contemplated our dwindling finances, my husband’s lack of job, our belongings damaged by the movers, and of course, the paint spots on my walls.
Our pastor said something similar this weekend.
If all we see is short range, then the long range will always look fuzzy.
His words reminded me of my morning walk.
I don’t want to miss the clarity of the Lord’s perspective and trusting that the big picture is a good one from where he sits. I don’t want to let my narrow view draw me into fear or discontent or thinking that the beauty and goodness of what’s he’s done for me has been lost or ruined by the markings of life.So, what’s your perspective?