Sunday, June 12, 2011

on getting the bigger picture

Let’s say you were standing at Angel Falls, or walking through Yellowstone National Park. Would you marvel at the beauty of God’s creations, praising His power, and thanking Him for letting you partake of His wonderful blessings? Or would you notice the icky bit of dirt on your boot?

While praying about negative thinking this morning, that was the revelation I got. I had a vision of myself as some sort of ecologist or botanist or something, surrounded by, and experiencing, all the indescribable wonder and glory of God’s goodness. But I was busy with my magnifying glass, focusing all my attention on the crap on my boot. And not only that, I was digging at it, and magnifying every aspect of its crappiness.

How often do we do that, I wonder, on any given day, in any given hour? Negative bits are in the world, there’s no denying that, and you could find lots of negative bits to focus on and magnify when you set your mind to it -- trust me, I know. You could even do it the moment you wake up, magnifying that one –- or several, poor you -- negative thing till it consumes you, ruining your day, and blotting out all the wondrous blessings that God has showered you with.

Like some deranged botanist, we focus on our one bit of dirt, studying it under our microscopes until we get ourselves completely stressed out by the sheer magnitude of it. It seems like our bit of dirt is the worst bit of dirt in the whole wide world, and we’re the only ones in the universe who have to suffer and endure the terrible thing. And then we feel justified in indulging in complaining, depression and self-pity.

Many of us do it so routinely, it’s a habit, an addiction almost. It’s almost like we don’t feel at ease unless we find something to be negative about. And the thing is, if we don’t break the habit, we’ll just keep finding new bits of dirt to magnify and fret over.

As I prayed this morning, I realised that that is exactly how I get myself anxious and depressed -- my thinking somehow becomes all small and narrow, as if I did not know, through conviction and experience, God’s immeasurable power, goodness and faithfulness.

When I focus on the negative, I lose perspective, I forget to look around me at the numerous, bountiful blessings I enjoy. Loving family, a roof over our heads, good food, clean water… and that’s just the beginning. Focus on all that, magnify all that, make a conscious decision to change your perspective -- you can overwhelm yourself with how blessed you are!

“Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!” (Ps 103:1-5, italics mine).

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