2001-03-30 - On the Inside
When I was growing up, I always looked forward to going to the county fair. When I was at the fair, I was immersed -- totally "lost" in whatever area I was experiencing at the time - gazing at the cute farm animals, the panorama from the Ferris wheel (before I developed inner ear troubles and could no longer ride them), and even when I was futilely trying my hand at the games which I think were rigged! My focus was totally concentrated on what I was doing at that moment. I couldn't see the rest of the fair activity. Last week I was driving home from a class after dark, and suddenly the most beautiful light show entered my field of vision. From the interstate, I could see a parking lot carnival. From that perspective, I could see the entire picture, with its kaleidoscope of glowing, colorful lights. It looked quite different to me than when I was "on the inside." I think sometimes we view life that way; we get so caught up in whatever we are dealing with that we can't see the "big picture."
Whether we are worrying ourselves sick about a medical problem, overwhelmed by stress, tossing and turning at night in concern over making ends meet, or sobbing like a baby over a relationship pain, we are so "on the inside" that we can't see things objectively, and sometimes our hope vanishes. What can we do to break out, see things more objectively and regain hope?
The obvious #1 is to pray and ask God to help us view the people and situation through His eyes.
Isaiah 55:8 (RSV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
Also we can seek out a trusted friend who is a mature Christian -- and one of those true friends who will tell you the truth even if it's not what you want to hear.
One tactic that I personally find helpful is to try to "step out" of the situation for a moment and imagine someone else is playing my role in it. What would I tell a friend in a similar situation? This has provided several stunning insights for me through the years.
Also I find that purposefully focusing on other issues or activities (though it can require repeated effort) helps restore perspective for me, and sometimes when I return to my "issue," I have a clearer view of it.
If you are too much "on the inside" of a difficult situation, pray that God will help you see the "big picture" and get things back into perspective.