Tag Archive | perspective

Overtaken

race.overtaken

 

 

 

It’s rare when a teenager teaches his parent something. That’s what happened when our son, Rob joined the track team in seventh grade. A completely new venture for him.

“Mom, do you wanna come watch our first home meet?” Rob asked.

“Sure. I’ll be there.”

I approached the bleachers with great anticipation. Excitement filled my heart. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. The gun signaled the start of the race. My face beamed as I watched Rob spring into action. Hope oozed through my tightly-squeezed folded hands. I rocked in pace with his step as if I could help him soar.

Gradually, the pack of runners divided into two. A bunch of fierce competitors bolted ahead with the speed of gazelles. A smaller clump of runners drifted further and further back. I found Rob in that back bunch. Runner after runner overtook him. Every competitor passed him. All but one.

My hands went limp. My heart sunk. I began searching for wise words to give Rob. How could I console him?

Oh well. He tried. But that kind of loss will surely make him want to quit. Should I let him quit?

At the end of the meet, I waited in the car to take Rob home. I spotted him approaching the car and braced myself. Then I noticed he had a bounce in his step and a smile on his face.

“Did you see that Mom? I beat out one kid!” he proudly proclaimed. Grinning as if he’d won.

His words left me speechless. I hadn’t anticipated such an upbeat response. Suddenly my heart was full of pride.

“Yes, Rob. Good job.”

The runners who had overtaken him didn’t discourage him. Because he had a different perspective. His focus wasn’t on the mass of kids who had run faster. Rob rejoiced in the one he had passed.

The next time he ran, I witnessed him pass two runners. The following meet, he passed three. Each race filled his heart with great rejoicing. Always viewing his triumphs instead of defeats.

Rob’s focus taught me how to focus. Not on trials. But on God’s blessings. Not on the cares of this earth. But on future treasures in heaven. Not on huge burdens. But on His power.

As moms raising children with mental illness (MI) we have to deal with our own emotions. Sadness for the turmoil our child experiences. Grief over the loss of our once happy-go-lucky child. Despair due to lack of effective treatments. Frustration because of others who don’t understand: teachers, mental health care workers, siblings, or husbands.

But sorrow doesn’t have to engulf us. Worry doesn’t have to overtake our thoughts. Like Rob, we can choose what to focus on. Each day we can begin with this resolution: with God’s help, I’ll look for the blessings my heavenly Father puts in my life. I’ll keep my mind’s eyes on Him. Searching for His faithfulness and provision.

Some children with mental illness (MI) can’t easily choose their outlook. Some don’t have complete control over their thoughts. Distorted thinking creates false realities. A mind filled with paranoia convinces the person that others seek to harm him. Resulting fears are very real. Their thoughts overtake them.

Darkness may surround us and attempt to overtake us. But we need not be swept away by our circumstances. We need not flail as if drowning in an emotional tsunami. We have the words in Isaiah 35 to comfort our soul. With thoughts firmly fixed on eternity, our sadness fades. Images of life in heaven squelch our sorrow. Hope returns. Once again, we’re able to envision an end to our tears. We picture new bodies without MI. Then our sadness is overtaken by gladness and joy.

“They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).”

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Heads up!

Violin.down  Violin.Up

“Heads up!” What happens if you don’t heed that warning? You take your chances. A ball may be rocketing right toward your face! Athletes need to remain attentive.

Keen attention is required for students. Some demonstrate it and some don’t. Those who don’t pay attention in class risk failing tests. To help distractible students, I seated them beside classmates with extraordinary powers of concentration. The children with tremendous focus provided good examples. The inattentive students learned to follow the lead of their neighbor.

How can an eight year old demonstrate consistent focus? Maybe it’s because he gets lost of practice looking up. His small stature requires tilting the head to look at those in authority. The vast difference in size reminds the youngster of the adult’s greater power.

That gives us a picture of what we can do. Tilt our heads to the heavens toward the One Who has great power. Mental illness (MI) can loom so large in our lives. What if we looked up to God more often? Would our perspective change?

Photography offers a symbol of a transformed viewpoint. My new passion is snapping pictures from the ground. Looking up reveals surprises. Things appear much larger and more beautiful. Like the two pictures of the violin. I took several photos so we could advertise it on Craig’s List. Looking down, I captured a beautifully-crafted instrument in a humdrum context. The picture I took looking up made me smile. Surrounded by the sky, the violin became part of God’s creation.

Likewise, we can view our journey with God’s plan as the backdrop. With that perspective, MI shrinks in its size and power over us. It becomes just part of God’s canvas for our lives.

Come with me as I usher you into God’s Museum of Sovereignty. Stroll with me as we pass by paintings on the walls. Each one depicts a different life. We arrive at the portrait of your life. Pause and study the Artist’s work. At first glance, swirls of dark colors depict turmoil. Linger a bit and let the divine details draw you in. Search for the significance behind each stroke.

Behind the shadows of your trial, you see splashes of His light illuminating your path. Suddenly you spot the beauty of His faithfulness. As you peer closer, you detect glimpses of His purpose. You contemplate the Artist’s meaning behind the characters and scenes.

Trace the stream of your teardrops. They flow down the Mountain of Comfort and dissolve into the Pool of Insight. His power and love become as crystal clear as the water. Gratitude fills your heart. And you smile.

When MI becomes so complicated and you don’t know where to turn, remember the advice: heads up!

Close your eyes and see the violin surrounded by endless sky. Imagine that the violin represents your life. Think of the sky as God’s abundant hope. His endless peace envelopes your life. With eyes still closed, reflect on the sculpture He’s forming in you. He who begun the good work has promised to be faithful to complete it.

We often begin our day praying for no problems. Hoping our day will be perfect. Rather than anticipating His perfection in the midst of trials.

Without a heavenly perspective, MI can certainly hammer us until we hang our head low in hopelessness. The Psalmist experienced such despair. He gave us the perfect example of self-talk in Psalm 42:5 & 11, Psalm 43:5. We can join him by saying, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

There it is. The ‘heads up’ we need. Look up to One Who is bigger than any of our problems.

Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to look up in our journey.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Reflect on God. He is above all things and thinks of you, above all else. Let Michael W. Smith’s song ‘Above All’ bless you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjYiEyu8Si8