Have you ever had a moment in life where your perspective shifted dramatically and all of the sudden you can see things clearly that have seemed hazy all of your life?
Sometimes when I am driving home from dropping the kids at school, I take a particular little side road because it's scenery gives me joy. The other day I realized that I have only ever driven this particular path one way. I have never seen it from the perspective of the other direction. So this morning when I came to the end of it, I turned around and drove back the other way. I was enthralled by how much more complete the picture of that area became because of things I had never noticed driving the road just one way.
Perspective is important. It's why it's always dangerous to do life alone. We simply can't look at life from all the angles on our own. We are only one person, standing in one spot. We need to hear and understand what life looks like from other's point of view. Sometimes a simple shift in perspective can change the scenery entirely.
This happened to me yesterday and quite randomly. I was watching something on YouTube and a video came up on my home screen that caught my attention. Joanna Gaines had chosen the theme of "wholeness" for one of her recent issues of Magnolia magazine. Since I feel like God has me in a season of pursuing and understanding wholeness, I was immediately interested. In the video, Joanna was explaining her perspective of this concept of "wholeness". She started by offering the point that each of our stories as humans include ups and downs, joys and sorrows, seasons of peace and seasons of pain, but "wholeness" means embracing all of it...the whole thing. I had never considered wholeness from that angle.
As a matter of fact, I had been confusing perfection and wholeness for a long time. In attempting to heal from the hard parts of my story, I was filtering them out and hoping to dispose of them. Much of my processing journey was wrought with "If I could just go back and change this...or change that..." and "If I could just have chosen this...or stopped doing that...". Instead through this video, I felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me to embrace the hard parts as part of the incredible picture God is creating through my existence. Joanna Gaines gave a perfect example of this when she held up a plate made of broken pottery that had been put back together using gold to fill the cracks. It had been broken and seemingly ruined, but now it was not only whole, but more beautiful than it had ever been before.
God drove this point home with me this morning as I was in my routine Scripture study. Paul is speaking in I Corin 10 about the example that is left for us of the Israelites mistakes in the wilderness. Verse nine jumped off the page and into my lap.
"Let us not tempt Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes."
Before I knew that this random verse had anything to do with what I am writing here, I was just curious about how the Israelites "tempted Christ". This took me back to Numbers 21 where the Bible says that the Israelites became impatient with life in the wilderness and spoke against God. They developed these attitudes of "Why does life have to be like this? Why did you even rescue us if you were just going torture us like this? We hate your measly provision.". Of course, I am paraphrasing, but this is what they did to tempt Christ.
And I realized that I have done the same. My attitude has been "Why did it have to be so hard? How could You have allowed me to suffer in such ways? Why in the world would you plan it like this? I despise what I have to go through.". Immediately I had to repent for tempting Christ. Immediately I wondered if some of my struggle has been the outworking of consequences for having this kind of attitude. Immediately I realized that God is shifting my perspective on wholeness.
Wholeness is not perfection. It isn't denying or trying to get rid of ugly and hurtful and loss filled memories of the past. Even Jesus still has scars on His Hands and Feet. Wholeness is embracing the whole entire story with the understanding that God works it ALL together for good. He doesn't need a whole Candace to make her beautiful...He just needs the pieces surrendered up for His gold filling work. All along, that beautiful finished product is in His master plan vision and all that is needed from me is to trust His work. Wholeness isn't about becoming perfect, it's about surrendering to the only Perfect One. It isn't about cleaning up my act, it's about giving Him the whole entire chaotic mess. It isn't about figuring everything out so I never find myself in another mess again, it's about trusting that especially the messes are part of the amazing story He is writing with my life.
For me, this has been a cosmic shift in my thinking that I am just now taking baby steps to live out. My first baby step is embracing the past instead of shunning it. I am now on a treasure hunt to find the gold that God has been filling my cracks with all along. I see it there now...in between what I thought was only rubble. My second baby step is finding this same gold in each and every day. I have some really hard ones right now, but I am noticing that finding the gold makes even the hardest ones bearable. My third baby step is accepting the fact that even when I can't glimpse even a glint of gold, I can trust that it's there. A child does not have to understand what their good parent is doing to trust it. I have experienced the infinite love of the Father who is so gracious to change perspective and lead into wholeness. I trust Him. And as it turns out that the only thing I need to do to obtain wholeness is to embrace His whole plan.