Perspective really is Everything

In keeping up with my “Living Intentionally” study, I am to write a post on perspective.  Given my mild depressive state after my NFL season ended with the Steelers’ loss on Sunday, it’s a perfect time to think about perspective.

When last school semester ended, I had so many plans.   But first, I knew I needed to rest and regroup—and I did.   For the first several days, or maybe even a week into a 3-week break, I slept until well after 10 a.m., which is late for me.    Even afterward, I’d wake up tired—probably from too much sleep, but I needed it.    Normally, right after Christmas, I fast.   I want to hear from God, and I want to hit the proverbial ground running in the next year.    This year, I stumbled into the holidays on fumes.   I didn’t have the mental energy to fast.    The one thing I did have is will and want, i.e., desire.   

I spent much of last year in a reactive mode.   So much happened, and I often felt as if my head was barely above water.   We were stretched and pruned, with good reason I know, but pruning is painful, and by December, I seriously wanted the ride to stop for a moment so that I could get off and catch my breath.    In struggling just to maintain, I missed a wealth of opportunities, and I felt as if a window was closing on the vision the Lord gave me.    It was time to repent for wasted time, and to pray and ask God to redeem valuable and precious wastes of moments.

So, when 2012 began, there was no fast, but there was a quiet fire, and I couldn’t wait to get going.   A friend’s blog led me to the concept of “dream boarding,” and then ultimately to Oprah’s dream board website.   I laid out my plans for 2012.

 

 

I had a great start—right before the site crashed on me and possibly gave my computer a virus (hence, I’m not linking to it).     That crash, and the subsequent restoration of my computer, gave me time to think more about perspective.

God speaks to us in several places throughout the Bible about plans.   These are a few passages that I meditate upon whenever I began to write out any plan:

Proverbs 16:1-3

1 To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.

2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalms 37:23

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

I also remember the fairly recent account of former rap superstar MC Hammer, and his testimony of what he really lost when he went bankrupt.   He talked about all the people he’d helped—the scores of dancers that he took from the projects and allowed them to see the world.    Once he lost his money, only one or two of them even called to check on his family.   He described his actions, and his intentions, as doing “good without God.”    In short, all of our plans—call them resolutions, mission, vision, or whatever you like—are nothing without seeking the will of the all-knowing and all-powerful Father.

We serve an awesome God, but we do not battle against a shoot-from-the-hip devil.    In truth, the devil sometimes knows our assignments before we do.   And he knows places of weakness and temptation that can steer us totally off the path of our greatest productivity.   Our task is not to surrender to his plans, but instead to be strategic in our prayer life, and then determined in our execution.    I don’t have to be perfect; He is.    However, the assignment that He has in store for me is worth 200% of my effort.   It is worth fighting through fatigue, worth repenting over when I fall short, and worth catching my breath and committing to run on, and to run well.    That commitment begins when I lose my perspective and take on His perspective.

So, we are now 12 days into 2012.   From my perspective, I’ve been thrilled at all that has happened personally and professionally in such a short time.   From His perspective, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13).

Having said that, from my perspective, we started school (ever-so-slightly) under-prepared and (ever-so-slightly) overwhelmed.  From God’s perspective, His’ grace is sufficient for all of our needs’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).

From my perspective, I’m worried that I’ll get discouraged after another failed attempt at trying to be Clair Huxtable again.   From His perspective, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15: 5).

Blessings, friends.

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On not being Clair Huxtable

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I Peter 5:7
…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

An amazing thing happens when you release your troubles.    As I wrote on the last time, I actually felt better in just penning (or in this case, typing) at least some portion of all that has me frazzled.   In continuing to pour out my heart before the Lord, I received His peace that passes human understanding (Philippians 4: 8).   I also received renewed strength and a new sense of focus—the mating calls of productivity.

I thought later that it was too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence that, as I wrote my last post, we were watching a retrospective of the incomparable “Cosby Show” of the 80’s.   I loved revisiting some moments that, even 20 years later, I associate with the best that television had to offer.    The family lip syncing Ray Charles’ “Night and Day”?    The parents reflecting on Denise’s boyfriends (inclusive of the reggae lover—my personal favorite)?      The introduction of Dabnis, Vanessa’s fiancé?     Clair Huxtable’s  reaction to Sondra decision to open a wilderness store with hubby Elvin rather than pursue her law school dream?   Classic television, and I relish the moments in the same way that a different generation might remember, “Good night, JohnBoy,” or “One of these, Alice–POW!  Right in the kisser!”

Then I became fixed on Clair.   Phylicia Rashad’s portrayal of Clair was, I thought, so very different than much of what television had to offer in the way of working moms.     Clair was television’s “I’m every woman, it’s all in me,” you know?    She was an attorney, she birthed five children (and never looked like she birthed one), she was bilingual, she met her husband’s every need, and she did it all with much grace and class.    I thought she was something special.   Then, over time, she began to get on my last nerve.    She was too perfect.   She had the award-winning squash in the vegetable contest.   If it meant debating subject matter experts, her arguments always surpassed everyone else’s.     She was the bright spot of the book club, the diva of any dance floor, and the songbird of the college graduation ceremonies.     I can remember loathing that character and refusing to watch any of the episodes that focused on her.    It seems as silly now as it was then, but I now realize that what I didn’t like about Clair Huxtable was really what I didn’t like about myself: I couldn’t get it all done.    So fast-forwarding 20 years, at least this time when I again voiced that this life and its activities are bigger than me, I loved the fact that I had some semblance of a plan.

So, after prayer, I continued to beseech heaven, and I started to execute.

I worked on my daughter’s robe, but didn’t finish it, largely because it’s been in the 50’s each morning and she needs it.    All that remains, however, is to iron it and to hem it.   Not bad for a someone working a job and running a business, huh?

I worked out.   It’s a rare treat that my Mii is doing yoga on the screen while everyone else’s is slipping into a coma.   (Yes, my heart attitude needs work, but I’ll take my boast in the Lord, not in me).

It’s Tuesday night.   Guess what I’m doing?    Utilizing the time I have to write.

How about my non-movables?     Here are three of them enjoying a science experiment and overnight baked oatmeal.   I loved watching the younger two assemble themselves so as to witness the oldest completing her experiment with conducting electricity.    Even the dogs got interested (smile)!   Don’t you just love those “yes” answers from the Lord?