Friday, March 13, 2015

Looking at the 'Big Picture'

Two weeks ago I attended a simulcast of a Women of Faith event through the church I've attended since freshman year.  Even though I’ve been going nearly every Sunday for three years, it wasn’t until this last semester that I actually started meeting people at the church.  Since the event was live in Texas, the event was life-streamed for those who wanted to see it. 

This article isn’t focused on what I learned at the event, however.  This little section is about what happened after the event at around 11 that night.  For some unknown reason, I’ve decided to detach the key that starts my car from my lanyard and keep it in my car.  My thinking was that I could have my car running when it was cold outside with the doors still locked. 

This seemed like a great idea in my head, but that night in the parking lot I was cussing at my choices.  I couldn’t find the key anywhere.  All I had was the remote to unlock my car, a phone with three percent battery, and a mental breakdown only seconds away.  I was tired, angry, and hungry: definitely not the appropriate mindset to handle this kind of a disaster. 

I searched all around the front and back of my car before finally sitting on the concrete next to my car with dramatic tears streaming down my face.  ‘What am I going to do?” I thought.  I didn’t know anyone well enough in the church to go back into the building crying for my mommy, and I was too cowardly to accept the defeat that my key wasn’t in the car somewhere. 

With a shaky breathe; I looked up at the church, my only refuge, when something shiny caught my eye.  There it was.  My key was halfway visible in the fold of my driver’s seat.  Excuse me while I bang my head against the window.

I managed to stress myself to tears looking for something that was right in front of me.  This isn’t the first time it’s ever happened to me, and I’m sure you can relate.  How many times have you stressed about losing your sunglasses, only to find that they’re sitting securely on the top of your head.  Or maybe spending five minutes talking with your mom and complaining about how you can’t find your phone until you realize you had to have called her somehow.

For some unknown reason, when faced with a panic or fear we immediately look at something under a magnifying glass.  We zoom-in on that problem and analyze every single part until we nearly make ourselves go crazy.  We look in every hidden crevice for a catch; we overturn every stone for a ‘but’; and we nitpick over every possible outcome.  If you can’t tell, I’m no longer just talking about a lost key or a misplaced pair of sunglasses.

Looking at a decision or an obstacle closely can be valuable, but viewing it with a bird’s eye view is just as essential.  By concentrating on only one part of a problem, or even a message, we could easily miss vital information to help us make a decision or move past it.  When I finally sat down in that parking lot and took a step back, I found the answer I was looking for. 

We don’t do enough of this in our life: stepping back and taking the time to see the whole picture.  In Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Instead of stopping and listening to God, we let the fast-paced society push us to make a rash decision and move on.

Don’t let that happen.  Don’t pull a Lizzy and start crying in the middle of a parking lot because you can’t find your key.  Don’t make a decision or jump to a conclusion without actually seeing the whole picture.  Stop, take a breath, and listen to what God is guiding you to do.  He has the solution, and he’s sitting right there in the driver’s seat of your car.

**This piece is also published in my campus newspaper, The Reveille**

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