Tuesday, June 28, 2011

on perspective

Usually I park in the parking garage when I pick the kids up from school. Yesterday there was a huge open spot right there on the street (never happens). So instead of entering the pick-up area from the north side of the building, I came at it from the south. Which meant I stood at the other end of the group of mom's. It's weird to stand in a new place once you've stood in an old one for so long. I felt awkward and out of place. From where I usually stand, I know just where all the other moms/nannys are going to be waiting for their kids; who the friends are; who the talkers are; who the one's are who don't say anything; who show up late, etc...I couldn't do all that yesterday. It was weird. And I know it's a simple example but it made me think about how sometimes our perspective needs to change--needs some "shaking up." I think sometimes maybe we stand in the same place too long; think things over too much, too often; exhaust our own understanding of something and need to be moved to see things differently.

But maybe this is just me? Maybe ya'll don't feel like sometimes you give yourself too much thinking credit; too much of the last say on things.

I've been reading Psalm 73 a lot this spring. For various reasons it addresses a lot of things I've been wrestling with, tempted by, learning, etc. And there's a line in there that goes like this, "...But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end" (vv. 16, 17).

I'm not one to say that anytime you're trying to figure out something hard or feel like you need a change of perspective to see rightly, you should just "go into the house of God" and it will all become clear. Not exactly, anyway. I don't appreciate (in myself or in others) when God and faith are used like a magic potion/equation. Plug in the proper variables and solve for X. I know that it isn't that simple. But I think I'm also beginning to learn and remember that what IS found (pretty much immediately) when you enter the place and presence of God, is the truth of who He is. This means there is patience, compassion, and kindness there. There is faithfulness and trustworthiness. This means that there is no trickery or manipulation. This means He desires our understanding of His working in the world for the sake of relationship with Him--but on His terms, not ours, which can get us frustrated sometimes, eh? We usually think we know the best way to do things. At least that's how I am.

[Side note: last night Lace and I rode our bikes out along the lake shore. It was absolutely beautiful. That is also an example of the kind of perspective-giving moments I need. The perspective of big sky and horizon; the perspective of space to think and ask and be. What fort of perspective-giving moments do you need?]

I have another verse written on a piece of birch bark that hangs by my desk: "For God is working in you, giving you the power to do what pleases Him" (Phil 2:13). Sometimes my own perspective gets so convoluted and tangled up and I can hardly distinguish what's true. Entering into relationship with God--faith, dependence, reliance--provides me with a deep-down calm, even when I don't understand things. Even when I get frustrated because on my own I don't have the power to do what pleases Him but I want to...that place is surrender; entrusting; giving up my old place of perspective for a new, awkward, and uncomfortable place of perspective. It's grace, I tell you.

I'm finding that His place of perspective is a lot less cluttered than mine. In mine, thoughts are always racing and pushing and talking. In His, there is rest. There is even quiet. "He leads me beside quiet waters"? "He restores my soul"? My heart isn't without thoughts or questions in His place of perspective, but there is peace. There's always more to see, learn, understand, or wonder. I guess I feel like I live to know that it is enough that I don't know things but that I can entrust those "don't knows" to the trustworthy one. I count it a gift that I find Him trustworthy. I know people for whom life has stolen that gift and they live in such deep, dark doubt. Please, God, restore our gift of faith.

1 comment:

the McGee family said...

I had a similar experience. I went to our neighbor's the other day, and, standing on their porch, looked across the street. Same apartments over there, but it was an entirely different perspective and was WEIRD. And to see our house from the perspective on their porch... bizarre. Thanks, Andrea! Good thoughts.