Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Spectacles of Perspective

We were running late. I knew Crystal’s parents were going to arrive at 8:15, but for some reason, I didn’t know we were supposed to leave at 8:15. When they walked in the door, I was shoveling my mouth with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and was sipping my cappuccino. We were headed to a wedding shower in Indiana. We still needed to pack the car. After finishing my breakfast, Crystal’s dad and I started carrying out Joshua’s toys and his Pack N’ Play. I think we finally got on the road around 8:30. As we were leaving the parking lot of our apartment complex, I hit a speed bump and Crystal’s cup of coffee nearly spilled in her lap. “This is going to be a great trip,” I uttered sarcastically.

About ten minutes into our travels, I realized I needed an attitude adjustment. Here I was, spending a Saturday with my wonderful family, I wasn’t at work, I had had a good night of sleep, our little boy was happy, it was a beautiful day…I had a lot to be thankful for. Surprisingly, we arrived at our destination early, and we ended up having a great day together.

Life is a lot like a road trip. The journey often turns out to be much different than we might expect, and so often, our perspective affects everything. With the proper lenses, hope can be spotted in the most draining and seemingly hopeless situations.

God has been teaching me a lot about attitude recently. For some reason, it seems like He doesn’t want me to have a full-time job. It’s been two years since I lost my full-time job as a worship pastor at a church. I thought there was an opportunity to go full-time at my current job. After weeks of training for a director position, somebody else was hired — somebody from another state, somebody with more experience. When I first heard the news, I was shocked and frustrated. However, after a few days of self-pity, I decided I was going to get back up and keep trying. I will keep training, but I have no idea when I’ll have another opportunity like the one I thought I was going to have. I feel like I’m chasing an oiled pig in a field of Slip ‘N Slides. One of these days, we’ll have a barbeque.

I am a planner. I envision successful projected trajectories. I like to see it, track it and get it. Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. It seems that I get a brutal butting to the face whenever I attempt to grab life by the horns. However, these are the injuries that often force me to re-evaluate my goals, my game plan, and most importantly, my priorities.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the last couple of years. For example, I’ve discovered that the big pie-in-the-sky opportunities rarely happen. Even if a person has the skills, most employers don’t want to take a chance on someone they don’t know. It’s best to bloom where we’re planted. A lot of energy can be wasted on daydreaming. I’ve found that most great opportunities show up when you least expect them, often in the most unusual circumstances. God gets the most glory when people can only say, “That was a God thing.”

I’ve also been challenged to be thankful for what I have. I’ve noticed that focusing on the negative only breeds more negative feelings. Nobody benefits when I see the glass as half-empty. I bring everyone down with me when I sulk and whine and complain. Often when I am down, Crystal starts to feel discouraged, and believe it or not, our one-year old often acts unusually moody when mommy and daddy are having a rough day.

It’s funny how every sermon we hear these days seems to be dedicated to us. This morning, our pastor made the point that “we can only IMPROVE on things while God can do the IMPOSSIPLE.” These days, Crystal and I feel like we are trying to fix the huge gashes in the side of a sinking boat. I don’t know what God has planned, but I’m thinking He may be in the process of building us a new boat...or He may be taking us to a new unknown land, all while showing the world how He can make a broken boat float. Whatever the destination, we are trying to hold on to His promises while we seek to shine where He has placed us.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, bcause you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.“ James 1:1