I’d like to think that I’m quite good at giving people advice about their own lives. I offer a different perspective on their situations, and I can only assume that it’s because I’m not in the middle of them, they most likely don’t impact me, and it’s easier for me to speak the truth to somebody about their life than it is to actually speak the truth to myself about mine. Are you the same?
I was at a concert not too long ago and in between songs the lead singer starting talking about our life as a canvas. And how sometimes we are way too close to the canvas, and when we are that close, things are blurry and the picture isn’t clear. He said that we need to remember to step back every now and then to get a view of the big picture that is our life, not just the particular view that we are looking at with a big zoom lens. And when we do that, the picture – our life – starts becoming clearer; it starts coming into focus.
I have recently begun indulging in a long-time interest of mine – amateur photography. I bought a digital SLR camera a couple of years ago, but never really invested the time or energy into learning about it until a few months ago. One of my new favorite things to do is to go to the zoo and take pictures of the animals at various times of the day. It’s amazing how different their personalities are depending on what time of day you catch them. My favorite time of day is early morning, when they are active, playful, and entering the world again with curious eyes.
I’ve noticed that with my big zoom lens, I can capture some great moments. I can really zoom in on their personalities, but I can also control what I see, or what someone looking at my pictures will ultimately see. I contrast this with a standard lens that captures more of the view. It provides the panoramic background and setting for the photo, rather than focusing on one particular piece of the photographic puzzle. It’s like stepping back for a more complete view.
For example, I can snap a great photo of Baylor the baby elephant, zoomed in to see his adorable face and the little hairs on the top of his head. It’ll be a great photo that reflects him and perhaps even his playfulness that day. But, if I zoom out, I am then able to capture the fact that he is standing there under the protection of his mom Shanti and aunt Methai, and next to his “brother” Tucker. It tells a different story, a bigger story, a more complete story; one that is not seen when I’m zoomed in. It tells of a family, their cohesiveness, their love and protection for one another; and it’s an entirely different perspective.
Isn’t this the same for our life as a canvas? I think sometimes we are too zoomed in; standing too close to the picture of our lives. Being that close means that we are not able to focus and things that are happening in our life may not be clear. We are consuming ourselves with the small, minute details, and not paying attention to, or appreciating, the big picture. Sometimes we don’t know what this big picture looks like, so it’s hard to step back, to zoom out, and really see it for what is really is. We may miss out on something because we are too close.
God has written each one of our lives. He has written our story, or in this case, painted our picture. Sure we can make choices that deviate from that story (we do it all the time, actually), but ultimately He knows us and our lives. He is zoomed out and sees each life, each canvas, for what it really is. He has everything in focus while we are trying to control what everyone else sees and we struggle to focus on anything but the here and now.
I think that maybe we need to put just a little more faith in God. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but I really think that consciously giving up control of our lens, zooming out of our own lives to try and get a little of God’s perspective, would be healthy for us. We may see our lives differently and pieces of our own puzzle may start to make sense. Things may start coming into focus. You know, like when you’re right up next to a painting and can’t focus on anything, but when you step back, you can see everything clearly?
So how do we do this in our own lives?
I don’t know. Applying this is the tricky part, but at least thinking about it is a good start. I rest in the fact that God uses everything in my life for my own good. It may be a tough lesson learned, or a sad experience to go through, but each experience helps to mold me into the person that God created me to be. So instead of zooming in on the canvas of our lives, perhaps we should zoom in on God instead. He already knows the big picture. He’s already focused.