When it comes to perspective, one of my favorite word pictures is crafted by Dr. Tony Evans. Imagine you're stuck in traffic, frustrated by what you can see ahead - nothing but bumper-to-bumper traffic - and you're certain you'll be late to work.
High above you is a traffic reporter in a helicopter. From his perspective, he can see that you just have another half-mile to creep along at a snail's pace, then you're home free. If you're tuned into his particular station, you'd know that you're going to make it to work on time, with minutes to spare.
If not, you might give in to the urge to bang on the steering wheel and utter words that Momma would have used Ivory soap to erase.
So often, I become myopic about whatever worry or concern is most immediate that day. "Lord, please!" I cry out for mercy. Let me get the job, pay the bill, get there on time. When that prayer is answered, I confess, I move quickly to the next worry or concern, barely stopping to offer a popcorn prayer of thanks for the first.
I know God laughs at me. Daily. From His perspective, while He sees all these small snags I face, He sees the path ahead of me will soon be smooth - at least for a few more miles. I wonder if He shakes his head and says, "Child, when will you ever learn?" His mind is not on the Snag-of-the-Day, but on the lifetime He's constructed for me.
So much of what I worry about is temporary, temporal.
From an even broader view, my worries and struggles often lack any sort of eternal significance.
When I lift my vision beyond my dashboard, my mind and my faith know the immediate will be resolved. The stuff that comes next week, next year? Those things will bear out as well.
Eternal Significance. How is it that I got so bogged down in the work, the children, the household, that I forgot there's a vision and design for my life that's bigger than well-behaved children, my credit score and my paycheck?
My spiritual life has been underlined by the quiet knowledge that God has placed a calling on it. He's been patient for years, has used the time to grow and mature me. That thing that He's asked me to do has actual eternal significance, and each day I allow myself to linger on the little things is another day I fall short of my mission.
Father, help me to raise my perspective from a short-sighted and earthly one to a supernatural one. Improve my focus. Help me to see what you see in me.
Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Shelbyville Times-Gazette. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.