My word for 2014 is perspective. I can honestly say that I have thought of that word very often during the first few weeks of the year. Especially today. In my last post I talked about the weight-loss journey upon which I’ve embarked this year. It’s going well. I’ve gotten into a good routine with my eating, been drinking lots of water, and have been trying to get some exercise in. Since our temps have been ridiculous, I have had to resort to finding some indoor activity. Brian and recently acquired a treadmill that had been just taking up space in my parent’s garage and I have spent some time on it. Today I was feeling very motivated and decided to spend an hour walking and listening to Matt Chandler’s latest podcast. I changed into my sweats, got my headphones adjusted perfectly, turned the treadmill up to a decent pace and got moving. For approximately 17 seconds. And then the treadmill quit. Stopped. I was NOT a happy girl. As a matter of fact I was livid. I kept thinking…this is awful. I can’t believe this happened. My afternoon is ruined. In the midst of my temper tantrum I decided to go ahead and hit the grocery since white death is apparently on its way again. Still fuming mad, I mad my way up and down the crowded aisles of the store, ready to run over anyone who got in my way. And then it hit me…like a punch to the face it hit me. All morning I had been praying for the Blair family, whose young son was just this week diagnosed with cancer. The pictures of him at the hospital and the updates about his prognosis were in my heart all day and I was tearfully praying for comfort and strength for this special family. So here I am upset – livid – about the fact that the treadmill died and I didn’t get my workout in…and right here in my community, a family had just been dealt some devastating news about their toddler. My perspective was so far off course. I was so caught up in ME and my selfishness…and people I know have just had their world turned upside down. Life is really about perspective. This reminder humbled me and made me feel downright silly. But it also made me very aware of the way that God is so busy at work on me. He reminds me daily that I am his beloved by nudging me (and by nudging me I mean slapping me silly) with words, thoughts, and reminders. I am so thankful for my word – perspective – and for God keeping me in check.
I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I am horrible at them. They are expectations that I rarely (never) meet – which just leaves me feeling bad (worse) about myself. It only took me about 35 years to figure this out. Since coming to the realization that resolutions are not my thing, Brian and I decided to resolve to “be better” by focusing our lives and efforts on a particular word for the entire year. That exercise proved to be very rewarding and actually kept us focused on a goal without leaving us feeling like failures after a few months (and by months I mean days). This year the word I chose is PERSPECTIVE. I wrote a blog this past summer about that word and when it came time to choose a word for the whole year – it really made sense to me. I recently heard a sermon by one of my new favorite pastors to listen to (Matt Chandler) in which the pastor basically called out those of us who compare ourselves to others. (Yes, I was one of the “us”). How many of us can justify our selfish actions, our hateful words, or our sinful behavior by comparing ourselves to someone who happens to be “worse” than us. Well of course I’m going to look like a champ if I compare myself to someone whose behavior is apparently “worse”. But that certainly doesn’t make me into the person God wants me to be – just because I’m not “as bad” as someone else. It can work the opposite way as well. We can compare ourselves to someone who seemingly has it all together and has a perfect wonderful life with perfect kids, no problems, beautiful home (do you see where I’m going with this)…and feel really bad about ourselves. It can wreak havoc on us. Our peace and contentment really come when we have a healthy perspective on things. And as believers, our peace and contentment comes from our savior. How does Jesus see us? What would his perspective be? If we begin to view life through His lens, how does it change our perspective on things? This word has come to mean so much to me as I meet people and learn about myself. There is no way to wallow in my problems when I am worshipping next to a recovering heroin addict. That’s perspective. I can’t possibly continue to worry about finances and budget when I have friends who are currently homeless. I believe that Jesus’ perspective on “sinners” in His time was revolutionary. He didn’t see the woman at the well the way the Pharisees would have seen her. He saw her through the perspective of love…not condemnation. As I embark on another year as a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a woman, I know that IF I am able to keep things in perspective – not MY way, but God’s way – I know that I will be blessed and that God will open my eyes to see some beautiful things in 2014.