Big-Picture Mode

Recently, when I think about life and the plans I have for the coming year, my vision is stuck in “big-picture” mode, and honestly, it’s getting to the point where it’s overwhelming. For most of us, nothing brings us to our knees faster than the realization that compared to the mighty mountain, vast ocean, or sprawling night sky, our existence is like that of a speck of dust, or like the Psalms say, like grass which grows up quickly and then scorches in the summer sun. Big pictures magnify how small we are in comparison, and this recent feeling like I’m being invited to step into God’s big picture and interact with it only emphasizes that deep sense of inadequacy and futility I feel when I look at the stars.

I imagine Abraham feeling remarkably similar when before he had a child, he was told he would be the father of nations. Or Moses trying to understand that he, a shepherd, was going to lead the Israelites into a land flowing with milk and honey far from Egyptian oppression. Or Gideon, found on the threshing floor by the Angel of the Lord, hiding from the Midianites, greeted with “The LORD is with you, Mighty Warrior!” And Joshua, and David, and Mary the mother of Jesus and so many others who were presented with God sized big pictures, all staring wide eyed at this grand plan as they themselves shrank smaller and smaller until finally squeaking out, “Who? Me? Really?”

Yet what I glean most from these accounts is no one was successful in disqualifying themselves from God’s service. He did not accept “how can this be,” “I’m not good at this” or “I’m too young,” “I don’t have the experience,” or even the plea to pick someone else. What God did was meet them where they were at, zooming the picture back to their particular lives and what they could do in the present at that time, and then the next step, and the step after that until the big picture was realized.

My step in front of me today was taking care of myself, focusing not on what I’m not confident in, but taking pleasure in something I’m very comfortable with that makes me happy. That meant noticing that I’m having a really good hair day. I know it sounds superficial, but it’s allowed me to look away from the big picture and release all my anxiety and stop thinking about my excuses. I compare it to looking at something close up after staring into the night sky for so long that the stars disappear and you feel like you’re floating and you need to bring yourself back to yourself.

So if the big picture you’re looking at has you completely overwhelmed, your butt looks great in those pants, that song you were bopping to in the car ride to work is fire, that meme you shared was hilarious, and I’m totally taking you up on that book recommendation.

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