By BARBARA LOWNSBURY This is an entry I wrote two summers ago. It really spoke to me this morning so I wanted to share it again. My personal response is in the comments section. Enjoy!
I have this small little window in my living room. It’s really cool! The door swings open and it still has the old-school window panes with the wavy, original glass intact. It’s this cute little architectural feature someone chose to add back in the day, and I’m grateful they did! That said, this small little window isn’t very functional. You can’t see very much of what’s happening outside. Besides, when you try to open it, it whacks you in the head if you’re not careful–and yes, I know from experience!
I hate to admit it, but sometimes I live my life a lot like I’m looking out of a small little window. I tend to see only what’s right in front of me, what’s readily obvious. This is especially true when I’m struggling. Tough times suck. They just do. There’s no way around it. Yet one of the hardest things about them is I can get so caught up in what’s happening in the moment, I lose sight of the bigger picture. I can forget that just because one door has closed, one opportunity has passed, or one situation has irrevocably changed, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something that’s still special and precious out there waiting for me. There’s a quote I love by Alexander Graham Bell. He says, “When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened up for us.”
At this point in my life, I have faced down many challenges. I’ve lost jobs, lost opportunities, lost fiends, lost face, and lost people I dearly loved. I’ve made some great decisions, but I’ve also made decisions that came back to bite me in the backside. And when I think that way, my window in life can feel really, really small. But just as when I walk outside I can see a much bigger picture, I have to remind myself to take the time to sep beyond myself and remember the bigger view–God’s view. That’s the beauty of walking with Christ. Nothing is wasted in His hands. Every hurt, every tear, every loss and every closed door has led to deeper understanding, wisdom, true healing and exciting opportunities and adventures. The key is to trust Him long enough to find that next open window, that next opportunity to not only grow, but to shine.
Even when I’m plugging along in life full of joy, I can still limit my world with too small a view. I know I’m not alone in that. Think of an opportunity you passed up because you felt too inadequate to take advantage of it, or you weren’t confident enough to grab ahold of what you clearly felt nudged to do. I find it revealing that the #1 regret most people have at the end of their lives is risks they didn’t take or opportunities they allowed to pass them by. We all can struggle with believing we can be used to take meaningful, impacting actions that empower us and those around us. That’s why I love the view out of God’s window. His view is the universe, vast and unending. His strength is creation, the systems and structures we see (and don’t see) all around us. His vision is unlimited by time or space or sleep or need or anything else. And His love for us is limitless, too.
Paul tells us, “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:35, 39). God also tells us, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” (Jeremiah 29:13). His ways aren’t like mine; they may not always make sense to me in the moment. But when I choose to look for God’s view, He fills me with a fearless, bold faith that lets me reach for my dreams because I know my healing, my happiness, and ultimately the impact I leave behind aren’t based on my strengths and gifting, but on God’s–and His supply is limitless.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT In what ways do you limit the view in your life? How can you choose faith over fear or pain? Remember: “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great,” (Psalm 18). Pray to see that next open door in your life, and then to have the faith and courage to confidently walk through it.
PRAYER Lord, help me to remember Your view of my life when I start to lose perspective. I can feel so alone and unsure sometimes. I can get lost in my own fears and the limits of my perspective. Help me approach this day with fresh eyes that look to You for peace and a trusting confidence that You have me, You love me, and You are holding my hand as You lead me forward. Whether I am in a season of rest or growth, of joy or struggle, always You are with me even when I don’t feel it. Thank You, Papa. Your love is so thorough and thoughtful. I invite You into my life more fully today to take charge and lead me through it in whatever way You see fit. Amen.