The world is a tiring, draining place. It places so many obstacles in our paths, barriers that we have to clamber across to reach the places that it tells us we need to get to. How many times have you been asked about your day, and answered, “I’m so tired,” “I’ve had such a rough day,” “today was so stressful”?
Or how about the holidays? It’s Thanksgiving, and your family is coming over. You’re setting places for more people than you have chairs. You’re buying food you don’t think you can afford, let alone cook. It’s Christmas, and all you’ve been able to think about is how you’re going to pay for it all. Your other half needs this; your kids want that; you’ve got to travel for a nightmarish length of time to get to where you need to be. Holidays? Don’t make me laugh, right?
My friend, this isn’t what God intended for you. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. This isn’t His plan. But that’s not because your life is going wrong. It’s because you’re doing life wrong.
Tiredness, weariness and doubt can all lead us to a place where we live under our circumstances instead of above them, and negative states of mind can affect us emotionally and physically, not to mention spiritually. There are always going to be difficulties, things that happen that make you want to throw your hands up in despair, to abandon yourself to failure. Things that make you want to just give up, and maybe try something else when you feel a little better. Why not try and feel a little better right now? It’s all in the way you see things. Life isn’t a matter of good luck, or bad luck…it’s a matter of perspective, and perspective means stepping back to take a better look. Let me tell you about God’s perspective.
God doesn’t see things in terms of material obstacles to be overcome, worldly difficulties to be worked through. He sees everything we’re supposed to be, everything He wants us to be—His children at their happiest. And He wants us to see it too, because it’s all about the way you see things. And our whole lives as Christians are about being more like Christ. Why should this be any different? Instead of seeing our lives as the world sees them, let’s begin to see our lives as God sees them. Let’s adopt His perspective. Take a step back. Think again.
Imagine you’ve had a tiring day. Work’s not gone as well as you’d like, the kids are acting up, school is dragging and you can’t wait for it to be over—you know your own troublesome situations best. Pick one, and consider it for a moment. Does it make your shoulders sag, your head ache? Okay. But what if it doesn’t? What if you take that situation, and look at it differently?
Your job is not who you are, it’s just a part of what you do to put into place the things that make you who you are. Your children are a blessing—that’s not just a charming figure of speech, they’re a literal blessing. And school is only going to drag when you can’t wait to be somewhere else. In everything, there’s a perfect moment where you can spin something on its head to understand it better, to find a creative center in it, something that appeals to you, that energizes you, that brings to bear all of the passion and faith that we’re intended to live in, in the Spirit and so in our own lives.
And often we can see it for other people far easier than we can see it for ourselves, because perspective is about stepping back and taking a better look. What’s as bad as your own problems at work, your own exhaustion at dealing with family, your own ambivalence with school? Seeing someone you’re close to dealing with those problems. You can see the weariness in their eyes, the hopelessness. Take a step back, and look again. Think again. You can see how their lives are supposed to be. You can see what they can’t see, clearly, vividly. That’s how God sees you, every minute of every hour of every day—lit up so brightly that there’s no shadow cast upon the ground. Lit up brilliantly.
God thinks brilliantly, in every situation, in every circumstance. He’s had the weight of the world on His shoulders for far longer than we have! He’s got experience in lifting burdens—He took every bad thing we’ve ever thought, said or done on His shoulders two thousand years ago so that we could cope better, so that we could be the people He always wanted us to be. So that we can get to where we need to be.
Where we see an obstacle to be overcome, a mountain to be climbed, God just laughs and points to the doorway through that we didn’t see, the passageway through the valley that we overlooked. Where we see a difficult journey, God shouts, “road trip!” That’s the art of thinking brilliantly.