Through the years I have increasingly realized the value of having a teachable heart. Esther 2:15 beautifully summarizes the blessings of that to me: "When the time came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her." Because Esther was willing to receive and heed council, she not only won favor, but became a queen who God used to save His people.
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!
*The above photo was taken at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL (also part of our vacation)
Lives near Washington D.C. with her wonderful husband of 15 years and their three precious children. She is the Co-Founder of Bloom! (a ministry for 4th/5th Grade Girls,)and she enjoys speaking at ladies events. Shanda is a Proverbs 31 Ministries "She Speaks" Graduate and can be contacted at email@example.com