Microscope vs. Panorama

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What do you do, when you don’t get your way? You’ve got two lenses you could look through - a microscope or a panoramic lens.

I’m sure you’ve noticed this - the world we live in is totally imperfect. At work, at home, in relationships, everywhere, everyday, things don’t always go our way. People cut you off in traffic. Somebody picks up the last gallon of milk in the grocery store right when you were going for it. Your spouse forgot to put your socks in the dryer the night before and now its Monday morning!

Dealing With IT

Here’s a probing question for you: How does IT effect you when you don’t get your way?  How do you handle IT When your boss says “No”? How do you handle IT when your spouse doesn’t live up to your expectations? How do you feel when a friend suddenly tells you the truth about yourself that you really didn’t want to hear? What do you do with IT? Do you put IT under the microscope of your own, biased, ego-centric, self-justifying scrutiny? Are you prone to simply obsess over IT, thinking about IT, talking about IT, being frustrated about IT, boiling in traffic over IT? IT is the one thing that keeps you up at night and if IT would go away, then you’d finally be ok and move along. Oh, how I hate IT.

What is IT for you? What is IT that is under the microscope of your mind, taking countless minutes, hours, and conversations away from you everyday that you really can’t do anything about?

As a Christian, is it a leader in the church or a person in the congregation that is just driving you crazy?  I guarantee you, your placement of that person, that problem, or that issue under the microscope isn’t helping you. In fact, it’s hurting you. It is taking up too much of your think time. It’s robbing your day off, your holidays, and your drive home. It’s depleting your emotional tank that could be spent on loving God and loving people. You’re growing bitter and IT is killing you. You could and should be exercising, finishing an assignment, or having a better time at dinner with your family and friends.. not to mention seeking to fulfill the Great Commission (Mt. 28.18-20).  I know my tendency and temptation has been to put something under the microscope rather than see all things under Jesus’ feet (Eph. 1.22).

Panoramic pictures are amazing. Nowadays, many of our smart phones come with a panoramic feature. Panorama allows us to see far more of what’s going on around the centerpiece of a picture as it provides a broader context into what you’re looking at. Here’s something that, by God’s grace, he is helping me to get better at and so I wanted to pass it along to you. When it comes to frustrating people or circumstances, trash the microscope and enjoy the panorama.

How does that look practically?

At work, sure your boss may give you an assignment that frustrates you. But you know what? Push back and see the big picture! Look at your business overall and not just the issue you don’t like or the assignment you just got. Look at what you’re contributing to and be thankful you have a job and a roof over your head.

If it’s your spouse who forgot to put the socks in the dryer... see the big picture - you have a spouse and own a dryer.  Thank God that for the previous 10,000 days of life, you’ve had socks on your feet and she probably didn’t mean to forget something so essential to your well-being today. She might have had your dinner, your game, or something else important to you on her mind and just didn’t get to your socks.

If you’re involved in the ministry and something isn’t going your way, again, use the panoramic feature.  Push back from the table, and look at the broader context and thank God that you know Jesus, are serving him, and get to see people saved, baptized, healed, start community groups, serve, and go on mission! WOW! You’re a part of God’s mission in this world! You get to reap where he has sown. Recently, on the phone, my friend Justin Holcomb told me he had just finished preaching to a few hundred priests and he said to me, “Alex, have you ever thought about the scandal that it is that we get to be called what Yahweh and Jesus are called? Shepherds! What a scandalous grace!!!” So one thing, your thing, might not be the thing happening the way you envisioned it at the moment, but look at the big picture. It wasn’t about you anyway, right? You get to participate in Kingdom work.

When it comes to setbacks and annoyances, I’m not saying that there can’t be legitimate frustrations. There certainly can. What I am saying is that we are commanded to “think on things that are above and not on earthly things” (Col. 3.2). Today, ask God to help you take into account all that he has done, is doing, and will do, in order to not be overwhelmed in the present moment.

Toss the microscope, enjoy the panorama, and rest.