We recently visited with some dear folks from Illinois who’ve been our friends for—wow, I can hardly believe it—nearly 30 years! During that time, both couples have experienced ups and downs. We’ve supported each other through job changes, the death of parents, and other major life stressors.
It seems only fitting that the Lord would teach me some important things about perspective on our visit with these dear ones who have helped us suffer and celebrate the hardest and happiest moments our lives.
My lessons began on a summer afternoon with a camera phone in Casey (pronounced Kay’-Zee), IL, where the motto is: Big Things in a Small Town. Casey has put itself on the map with seven somethings in the Guinness Book of World Records—the world’s largest:
- Wind Chime
- Rocking Chair
- Pitch Fork
- Golf Tee
- Wooden Shoe
- Mail Box
- Crochet Hook & Knitting Needles
Now, we could have spent about thirty minutes taking quick pictures of each item and then driven home. But where’s the fun in that? With a little extra effort, what started out as a fun little jaunt—and it was fun—became a meaningful day full of life-changing lessons.
Our friends’ daughter, Lyndsey Kirk (you might recognize her as my podcast partner), decided to take “perspective pictures” to add a little fun to our picture-taking. You should have seen us! People would stop and stare—and then ask if they could see our pictures. So fun!
In the midst of Lyndsey’s great idea came my first deeper lesson.
When facing something big, take time to examine it. Look at it from all sides and then share it with friends. Sharing an experience with others gives it a whole new perspective!
Lyndsey—the college pastor—had to show us old folks how to take these perspective pictures. The really BIG THING must be in the distance and we must be close to the camera to make the big thing look small. Get it?
Basically, the farther away we were from the BIG THING, the smaller it looked. It’s not rocket-science, but it made me think…
Isn’t life the same? Big, bad things sure seem like a big deal when they’re happening—up close and personal. But the farther away they get—separated by space and/or time—the less painful those big things become. Lesson #2 was a BIG one for me!
Whatever seems big now…give it time and distance, and my perspective will almost always improve.
When we visited the fabulous shop where the knitting needles and crochet hook were displayed, we took an up-close-and-personal picture of the knitting needles to see the Scripture verse burned into the needles. Do you see it there?
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
Part of what I loved about the all the “world’s largest” displays was the little caption of Scripture emblazoned on each item. The people of Casey were boldly telling folks who visited from all over the world, “At the heart of our town is the Maker of all things great and small. It’s up to you to decide what you do with Him now.”
The lesson I learned from Casey, IL, was this: God’s little “calling cards” are everywhere—like the Scriptures on every BIG THING in Casey. It’s up to me to search for Him, ponder how He’s connected to what’s happening in my life, and then decide if/how I’ll join Him in the work He’s doing.
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.” Isaiah 51:1
That Scripture sort of gives new meaning to “a chip off the old block,” doesn’t it? We are children of the Living God. How do we hold fast to that perspective?
The Biggest Lesson
If you’re dealing with an especially BIG THING in your life, I would encourage you to do what we did during our little tour through Casey. You’re the one holding the camera, so you have the choice of perspective while taking those life pictures.
You can step away from the circumstance and stand closer to God, making the circumstance seem smaller and more manageable. Or you can place God and the circumstance side-by-side, making them seem similar in size. Wait—is God really the same size as the flat tire that ruined your day or even the friend that betrayed you? He’s so much bigger—move the camera!
Worse yet, sometimes we stand so close to the circumstance, that it’s God who looks small, and we can even feel swallowed up by our circumstance. Today is the day to determine where you’ll stand to take those life pictures. Move closer and start snapping those positive perspectives!
- Share the hard stuff in life with trusted friends and you’ll get a new perspective!
- Whatever seems big now…give it time and distance, and my perspective will almost always improve.
- Discover where to stand when you take snapshots of life in order to gain proper perspective.
- Is there something in your life that you’re standing too close to—something that you need to step away from and closer to God in order to gain the proper perspective?