Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Little Perspective


Every time we leave our house for any length of time and then return I realize that there are a few things that I would like to adjust or change when we return. Things that have gone completely unnoticed for months (or even years) and then upon arrival back home I wonder how in the world I have missed the simple alterations or larger projects. For example: the picture over my fireplace hasn't really worked there for years. It wouldn't cost a tremendous amount to change it out to one that did. We originally put it up there because it was the piece that worked best from what we had when we moved in. When we walked into the house this time it seemed glaringly wrong to me. The difference? My focus is changed which alters my perspective as a whole.

As a parent, I find it healthy to be without my children here and there. It helps me to miss and appreciate them more and can act as a "reset" button at times if we have been stuck in a negative cycle.

As a wife, it is good for me to see others who have endured the test of time in their marriages; to catch a glimpse of what I want for my marriage to be. The same is true for the exact opposite. I can see a horrible marriage or one that is ending and be reminded of the blessing that I have in my own marriage.

As a child of God, it is good for me to visit other churches occasionally or to do missions work. To step outside of my Spiritually comfortable places and see God at work in differing ways than I am used to seeing Him work.

We went to two different churches while traveling this past trip. One was set up as a sort of "Blues Club" or "Comedy Club" in atmosphere. Small round tables up front and rows of seating behind. The entire place was painted black. There was a coffee bar when you first walk in. Drinks and snacks were welcome during the service. Very non-traditional in appearance, yet a solid Biblical message. An effective attempt to reach those who did not grow up in or were at all comfortable in a traditional church setting. It felt a little strange to me at first; but the Spirit of the Lord was still present.

The second was one that we have attended before. The pastor is amazing. He causes me to think and consider Scriptures deeply and the way that he leads his congregation is admirable. The worship is, I am sure, phenomenal to some; but for my husband and I, it is difficult and distracting for us to "enter in" unless we close our eyes - so much is going on all around. Yet, the Spirit of the Lord is present and active in that place as well.

This type of stepping back or out of my comfort zone always causes me to reflect. To consider what I may have been overlooking for months to now see clearly what I need to alter or work on. The thing that struck me most was that God is at work in ways that I may not be comfortable with; yet that doesn't change the fact that He is at work. He is at work stretching my comfort zone right now. To allow Him to show me where He is at work and where He is inviting me to join Him in His work even if it seems completely different than I was hoping for or expecting. I'm not entirely sure what that is going to look like; just that it was a message He was clearly getting across to me on this trip.

Have you had any perspective changes recently? I'd love to hear about them!

Shanda

*The above photo was taken at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL (also part of our vacation)

5 comments:

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

I know you were directly blogging to ME right?? I so needed that!

I'm one of those parents that has to have the kids with me AT.ALL.TIMES, especially when they are young. And times, like church camp, when I can't have them with me all the time, I stress over it for MONTHS! I'm already stressing over camp coming up in JUNE and not being able to have Brooklyn with me overnight. What a BABY I am! She is *3* and never spent more than 2 hours away from me. I need to learn to let go a little. I do. Thank you for the encouragement to do it!

Jimmy Parker said...

Yet another stimulating message from Shanda the Encourager!! You truly have a gift for recognizing the deep lessons God teaches us through everyday life events. Thank you for sharing these lessons with us!

My recent perspective change: As a father, I step away from my children each day when I go to work, so I don't need to press the "reset" button with them as much as those who work inside the home. I do however still need to be mindful of how brief and precious this time with them is, especially as preschoolers. They grow up so quickly! My wife bought me a digital picture frame for Christmas, now loaded with about 100 of my favorite shots of our 2 boys from birth to the present. While I'm away, it provides a steady stream of powerful reminders of our greatest times together, the joy of their laughter, their developing personalities (and NYCH!), their child-like faith, and the great opportunity and responsibilty I have been given as their Dad. Certainly a much better perspective from which to approach my work and my life!

Shanda said...

Jimmy,
Thanks for providing a "Dad" perspective or even a view of a mom who isn't at home with kids all day! What an AWESOME perspective you have for your boys - they are blessed indeed to call you Dad!

Dana,
I love how God uses us in each other's lives!

Blessings & Peace to you both!
Shanda

christinnjon said...

You are more than welcome to use the button. In fact, it looks really good on your blog!
I am not the original author and in fact, I don't know who is, since it is not marked. I found it somewhere else and picked it myself. ;)
It is definately good to get fresh perspective every now and then and sometimes that means stepping away. :) Not a bad thing at all!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great night!

Janice said...

Thanks for your blog. I have shared my thoughts and scripture regarding virtue on my blog. You are welcome to peek at it if you want. Its nice to see that their are others that want to live a righteous life.