Sometimes I go days or even weeks without stopping to take a good, long look at the big picture. I spend most of my time immersed in the daily stuff that comes with the territory of being a mom, wife, daughter, friend, or employee—none of which is bad in and of itself, but all of which can become dangerous when I lose sight of perspective. What I mean is this: when you get up eye-level close to the details of life, even tiny things appear huge, resulting in a distorted perception of what this life is all about. That’s where I have trouble.
It takes a good jolting sometimes to snap me out of the place of marginality where I find myself residing so often—the place where the life I am living falls so absurdly short of the hugeness that God wants for me. It’s a place that I fall into without even realizing it. It is subtle, deceptive in its normalcy, and without any obvious markers to point to the fact that something is wrong. And that is precisely what makes this place so dangerous.
The eye-opener that I recently received came in the form of a passionate message from Kay Arthur. She spoke of the complacency Christians have fallen into, detailing how we have let the world go on around us, unburdened for its state, apathetic to the eternal consequences, and ineffectual in making a difference. She related our current culture to the nation of Israel in the days leading up to the takeover by foreign nations. The books of Isaiah and Jeremiah detail a people who have become hardened, forgetting the God who brought them out of slavery and delivered them from so many enemies. As the words rolled off her tongue, I saw myself in what she was describing. I’m not going around doing a lot of bad, but by failing to keep my eyes focused on the big picture, I end up living life on the sidelines of God’s plan, missing the essence of what my purpose is. Yes, I am called to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, and an employee, but even more than that, I’m called to be a follower of Jesus. All the little things of life have to be tempered by the awareness of God’s over arching purpose—bringing people to know Him!
Maybe what I realized more than anything else as Mrs. Arthur spoke is this: it takes a conscious, daily effort to stay focused on the big picture. It’s never going to happen by default! That’s just not the way I’m wired. I have to ask God to give me His insight and His perspective on a daily basis. It is only when I purposely, determinedly set out to look at life with my “big picture” glasses on that it’s going to happen. But once it does, then suddenly there is a deeper meaning to all the little things that inevitably come with my life. I’m not just raising two little girls to be well-mannered, productive members of society, I am pouring myself into these girls to help them grow into women who love God with their whole hearts. I’m not just running errands at Target, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity God gives me to love the people I run into on a daily basis. I’m not just taking a walk through the neighborhood, I am praying for my neighbors, finding out about their lives when I see them in the yard. I’m not saying this is how I live. I’m saying this is how I want to live. I want to get out of the margins and start living in the big space that God intended.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.