I remember hearing a story some time back about a man who went to visit a well-known art gallery. He decided to take the gallery group tour and soon found himself being escorted room to room and hearing about some of the most famous art pieces of our day. In one particular exhibit hall, he could not help but be disrupted by the loud complaints of one of the patrons of the gallery. There across the room was a man who was loudly expressing his disappointment in the gallery and their appraisal of the pieces they promoted as "Fine art".
He watched as a curator quickly approached the man and tried to calm his outburst,
“Can I assist you sir?” the curator asked.
“Well, you can start by explaining to me how this mass of muddled oil and canvas can be displayed in this gallery as a poor excuse for art!!!” sputtered the visitor impatiently.
“I beg your pardon sir, but this painting is a most famous work of art, and is one of the most important pieces in the world of art,” replied the curator.
“So you say” interrupted the man,” but all that I can see are shapeless blobs of oils and masses of senseless color.”
Suddenly, the curator discovered the problem. With a gentlemanly calmness, he reached out and grasped the visitor by the shoulders.
“If you will permit me, sir, perhaps I may be of some help to you.” The curator then slowly pulled the man away from the painting until he stood a few feet in the distance from the wall. Once away from the wall, the visitor’s face lit up with an expressive brightness when he beheld the famous Mona Lisa.
The visitor and the curator both held a different perspective of a treasure. Life is a priceless treasure, and God created each of us to enjoy it. We, however, in our own unique smallness, view this treasure with a perspective that is as different and diverse as we ourselves are. From the right distance and perspective, the man could take in the beauty that had always been available to him.
PERSPEC'TIVE, a. infra. Pertaining to the science of optics; optical.
1. Pertaining to the art of perspective.
PERSPEC'TIVE, n. L. perspicio; per and specio, to see.
1. A glass through which objects are viewed.
2. The art of drawing on a plane surface true resemblances or pictures of objects, as the objects appear to the eye from any distance and situation, real and imaginary; as the rules of perspective.
3. A representation of objects in perspective.
4. View; vista; as perspectives of pleasant shades.
5. A kind of painting, often seen in gardens and at the end of a gallery, designed expressly to deceive the sight by representing the continuation of an alley, a building, a landscape or the like.
Aerial perspective, the art of giving due diminution to the strength of light, shade and colors of objects, according to their distances and the quantity of light falling on them, and to the medium through which they are seen.
Websters Dictionary 1828
We all do it, don’t we? Rush to make a snap reaction based upon what we see in front of us at the moment. It takes a lot for us to be willing to be taken a few steps back in order to see the beauty in a situation. At the writing of this blog, I am finding myself at a viewpoint of my life that has taken a few steps back. BIG and difficult steps. Steps of pain and hurt.
May I just say that no one likes to take a step back? We equate a step back with a failure and moving forward by leaps and bounds as success. But like anything else in life, it all comes down to perspective. A paradigm.
They say if you want to have minimal results; you need to change your behavior. If you want to have maximum results, you change your paradigm. How you view the situation.
In 2012, God let me write The Man and The Wall. This was significant because that simple book was an introduction to a side of God I had never known before. I had struggled my whole life up to that point, expecting God to be fair. That book helped me to understand God was never fair. He has always been about purpose. My life was changed through that understanding. In 2014, I made another growth step in my understanding with Solomon’s Song. I was helped to understand God’s heart ... for me. My worth to Him outside of anything I could ever do for Him. In 2016, God let me write BRICKMAN and in the process nail down my identity in Christ outside of what I do , what I have, or what people would think of me.
THE IMAGE GETS BLURRY IN FAILURE AND SETBACKS
All of these understandings became anchors for me to hold on to in the storms. There are times in your life where things will just go south and there is nothing you can do but make choices based upon what you know. In the close of 2016, I closed the chapter of on my marriage after 15 years and 2017 started me out on a new and unfamiliar horizon.
A failed marriage is never anything to be proud of and it is certainly nothing anyone ever wants to put on their life resume, but the truth is that some marriages succeed and some marriages fail. It is life. Success and failure are a part of life and certainly they are just that, just a part. A part is a long way from a whole.
So what do you do when you experience a failure in life?
You have two choices. You accept it or you get to work rebuilding.
At some point in the “step back” process, you have to decide to just begin.
Failure is an event, not a person. I accept responsibilities for my failures and for the choices I have made in my life. I choose to move forward in confidence and love. I move forward into the next chapter of my life. So, in the midst of the pain of what has changed, what feels like it can never heal, and what feels like a final destination. I choose to take a step back from the blurry view point of failure and life pain. Today I choose to step back and take a look at what I have in my life TODAY that matters the most. Today, I choose to look at the future and the dreams ahead of me. Today I choose to maximize the gain of the setback. Today I choose to make the setback a strengthening part of a sit up.
In January of this year, I decided that 2017, in all of its pain and hurtful beginnings, would be one of the greatest years yet. I got out my computer, a dry erase marker for my bathroom mirror, and I began to write out what my step back was going to allow me to see come into focus.
I decided in 2017 I would:
Write, publish, and release 3 brand new books. (Book number three of this list is releasing in October of this year!)
Teach myself how to produce and create my first audio book. ( I chose BRICKMAN because I think that book is just the coolest! so far and the audio book can be found on this site!!!)
Teach myself how to create and design a website and streamline my book and resource ordering. (You are reading this blog on the website!)
Accept the speaking engagements that came to me and put down any thought of inability or unworthiness (Which came on pretty strong right out of the gate but as of today I speak several times a month.)
Have one of my books translated into Spanish. (It released in JULY!!!)
When you make the choice to accept your responsibility for the step back, and make the choice to focus on what is reality in your life, it is easier to then start deciding how you are going to "Just begin" again.
The step back can provide you a beautiful look at what the picture is in the moment. Grab your dry erase marker, grab a notepad or sticky notes, and grab your camera. Find your way of "Just begin" and do it!
My course is set before me and I feel an overabundance of love from my heavenly Father, who heals and repairs. I am full of love for every person and event God has allowed me to cross into and see the value of all I have been allowed to experience.
God is good ALL the time and His grace in allowing me to learn the lessons I did before the storm has been testament to His heart. I have His strength to climb the walls ahead and His love for my anchor through anything that comes my way from here until I meet Him. I wear His righteousness as my identity and the future is exciting. The best is ahead!!!
I somehow believe that we all will hold to our own views of our “life painting” until the curator of this exhibit (God) gently pulls us away to see things from a distance, then and only then from where He is will, we be able to view the masterpiece called life for what it always was, a priceless treasure. So, until he does, thank you for stepping next to me in order to see this exhibit called life and setbacks the way I see it.
Climbing with you,