Before taking this photo I contemplated how to make my picture at this monument different from the one I had taken a few months prior. This day I was alone in the city and I walked around it several times to look at it from different angles and decided to take a picture from behind.
It prompted me to think about how important it is to look at a subject from the other side. It is easy to get caught in our point of view and not see it from any other vantage point. At least it is for me…I can’t speak for anyone else. My husband is an artist and frequently looks at the world from a unique lens. Can you find him in the picture below?
I remember being a newlywed thinking I can’t possibly love my husband more than I do right now and having someone telling me that love only gets sweeter with age.
I remember being a young mom at the grocery store with a baby who needed a nap and an overly curious preschooler who had to touch everything when an older lady told me that these years were precious and that I should cherish them. Seriously, lady? I cherish their nap time so dearly right now and I don’t want my baby falling asleep before I get home!
I remember how old I thought I was when I turned 25 and thought the best years of my life are behind me. And now at 54 I can’t help but wonder about the joys of life yet to come. I’m thinking about our upcoming trip to visit our son and daughter-in-love in Australia. I’m thinking about seeing our granddaughter and awaiting the birth of the little one in the photo she’s holding!
Only God can see all sides. Our view is limited. Our outlook on life is determined by our experiences, our age, our gender, our ethnicity, our education, our spiritual beliefs. Whether we’ve traveled or never left the town where we were born. If we are single, married, have kids at home, or grandchildren. So many factors determine how we process information.
We get into conflicts because we are stuck in our way of thinking believing that we have THE answer for everyone. I see drama play out daily on social media. Someone is offended and vents their frustration at one person or a group of people in order to make themselves feel better, or to just be heard regarding the unfair plight they believe they are experiencing. And the rebuttals come, insults fly back and forth, and people take sides. We see it on every level, individuals, government officials, even Christians chime in with opinions.
I stay out of arguments on social media not because I don’t have strong opinions but because from what I’ve seen arguing about it only further entrenches people in their own personal viewpoints. Rarely do we debate someone leading to their conversion to seeing it our way. Frequently it degrades into name calling and insulting everyone who disagrees. Perhaps, because it is so hard to see from any other angle when we are wedged in by our bias.
Throughout the past 13 years of traveling to 12 different countries, and of living for five years in Russia and now seven years in Belize, I’ve grown in the realization that I don’t know everything. God has gotten so much bigger for me than He was 36 years ago when I graduated from high school. I didn’t realize that I had kept God in a little box throughout my childhood and long into my twenties. My political, spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial outlooks have all grown and matured.
When I was younger I was so afraid of being wrong and it took me a long time to form an opinion. I’m not scared anymore but as an introvert, I’m more inclined to spend time thinking, praying, and processing an issue and what I feel I’m being compelled to say or discuss it with a few trusted friends before I express personal opinions in public. (Learning Russian taught me the importance of thinking before speaking and I’m grateful for that!)
While I don’t argue online or post controversial comments, I do say what I think on Life Uncommon, the talk show I co-host with my friend Andrea, here in Belize. We tackle issues concerning women on our show and we love to engage with others and hear their thoughts as well. Our goal is to look at things in a different way and empower women to go against the grain of the usual to embrace the extraordinary life that God has called each and every one of us to live.
We know that we don’t have all the answers on our show.
Personally, I don’t think that’s possible for anyone this side of heaven. But, I believe in, trust in, and lean on the One Who does know it all. My prayer is that we can turn down the volume of hatred, discord, and fear. I pray that those who believe in the power of prayer would truly use it to pray for His will alone to be done and not the will of our chosen political parties or favorite motivational speakers.
I pray that each one of us, who are citizens of heaven and not of this world, will stop clinging to what seems right for right now and cling to what IS right and Who will be right for all eternity. That’s the viewpoint I long to see from…how about you?