Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A New Perspective

I can remember a time a few years ago when I was having a bad day . . . actually, I was having a bad season of life. I was very unhappy with some of my circumstances and I had allowed myself to become dissatisfied and ungrateful in my heart. I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back I can see that things were not nearly as bad as they seemed to me then, and my attitude was actually making everything worse.

On this one particular day, I was especially frustrated and I had a worse attitude than normal :) Nothing seemed to be going my way, and I was aggravated and pouting about it. There didn't seem to be an end in sight, but little did I know that my perspective was really about to change. I was doing some research for a project I was working on at the time, and I inadvertently came across the picture at the top of this post. As soon as I saw it I broke and tears began to roll down my face. This picture spoke so much to me. Obviously we are all familiar with Mother Teresa and her life of selfless love and service to others, so we can fill in the blanks in this picture.

This baby was probably an orphan whose name we'll never know, but the compassion beaming from Mother Teresa's face seemed to tell this little person that he or she was the only person in the world. At this point in her life, Mother Teresa had probably personally cared for hundreds of thousands of hurting and sick people, but still her heart bubbled over with love for this one little baby. Wow! Just seeing this helped me understand how selfish I can be sometimes!

I was reminded of this the other day. Nicole and I had to take Ally to the doctor, and my heart was touched by a little girl who was also there to see the doctor that day. She was probably about 6 years old, and she had somehow broken her leg. As we were sitting in the waiting room, I was looking out the window and I saw this little girl coming in with her mom. She had a pink cast on her leg and was walking with crutches. I know it's not that rare for kids to break an arm or leg, and I have seen kids even younger wearing casts. However, there was something about this little girl and her attitude that really impressed me.

I didn't talk to her, so I never learned her name, and I have no idea how she broke her leg. What really stood out to me, though, was the look of determination on her face as she walked with those crutches. Even though that look is something I won't soon forget, I still wish I could have captured it so I could have bottled it and sold it! In spite of the fact that she was being slowed down physically by this injury, it was clear that she hadn't been slowed down at all mentally or emotionally. Her attitude had not been at all negatively affected, and if anything, she had an increased resolve because of her potential setback. She seemed to understand that the pain and hardship from her broken leg were just temporary and really only as bad as she allowed them to be. How often have I lost sight of that principle? How often have I allowed things, which in reality were very insignificant, to cause me to lose ground and start going in circles emotionally?

I have lived long enough to understand that life can be hard, and we should expect difficult seasons to arise at times. They may arise because of our mistakes, or they may come along because of someone else's actions. They may even happen for no apparent reason! Regardless of why, every time we find ourselves in one of these tough times, we have a choice to make. We can allow these seasons to set us back and cause us to focus on ourselves, or we can choose to keep our eyes fixed straight ahead and persevere until we have emerged from them victorious. It really is up to us. Which will it be? What are we going to choose?

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