One summer during college (feels like ions ago) I had the privilege of going to Southern France to study drawing and painting. I am so grateful I took to heart the words of Lendon Noe (my wonderful art professor at Lambuth University) who encouraged me to join her for an adventure of a lifetime. Never have I regretted that choice.
I was recently reminded about some of the first lessons we learned in France, all those years ago.
A particular way of looking at something.
Our professors would take us out into the city and talk with our class about perspective. It was a new and amazing country so everything was fascinating. But our teachers delved deeper into how we looked and what we chose to focus on. They would have us hold our hands up to “frame” the space we were considering for our art work. They called it our viewfinder.
They took the time to look at the landscape with each one of us and discuss what we were seeing. They would show us how including this or excluding a part of the landscape in our creation. I was shocked at what a difference their suggestions would make. Often times what I thought was most important thing might actually be a distraction to them. When we would look together and they would explain the art of looking. Just because I saw it didn’t mean I was considering the landscape from the most optimal perspective.
What is interesting?
What is important?
I can clearly remember them saying, (over and over) “Move around.” So many times I would get to one spot and would just look around from only one place. If I only looked from one position I was limiting myself…sometimes to the detriment of the piece of art.
By taking time to set up well, pressing in and taking a little more time, I was shocked to find the huge difference it could make in my art. It might have first seemed like a nuisance to keep looking, but the end product would show the care taken. If I only looked from one perspective I limited myself and my art would suffer for it.
Life is often like this art lesson in Provence.
We run into obstacles (or people) to consider.
But we forget our feet.
We look and look from one perspective.
We might feel like we are moving around, but in actuality, we are just going up and down, leaning from side to side with our feet firmly planted in one place.
It really is like missing the forest for the trees. With a tree right before our eyes we only see the situation (or person) from our one perspective.
From our viewfinder we might be seeing:
a child with a drug problem
someone who doesn’t know You
Our tree of struggle can get so close and become so big that we forget there is even a forest out there.
Or we can make a powerful decision. We can lay this struggle down at His feet and step away from it in order to get His perspective. Just like my teachers in France, He can help us look at what is going on from a new position.
Our God is so much bigger. He may show us:
He loves us and He will never leave us.
He loves our child more than we love them.
Mistakes don’t move Him…except to help.
He is in control.
He is bigger than any illness.
He is working in situations even if we haven’t seen Him yet.
He truly is the Prince of Peace.
With Him and in Him is peace that passes all understanding.
So one red flag to watch for would be the absence of peace. Fear, anxiety and overwhelm may mean that we have moved from a healthy perspective to our own limited perspective.
As children of God, we do not have a single experience that He is not in with us. If we find ourselves considering a situation without Him in it we have stepped out of our best option.
Whatever struggles we have today, let’s remember to draw near to our loving Heavenly Father. He is glad to help us! We will probably find ourselves wondering why we didn’t come to Him sooner.