Sometimes, we all need a fresh perspective, but how do we get one? And, how can a fresh perspective help us? What impact does a fresh perspective have on our lives?
This past week, I’ve been picking blackberries.
A lot of blackberries.
Certain parts of our property are covered in prickly vines with red and ripening berries.
Gallon bags of berries fill our freezer, and my hands and arms bear witness to the fact that I’ve been reaching into the briers to find ripe berries.
The truth is I love picking berries. I enjoy the quite, peaceful time in the cool mornings and evenings. The challenge of finding what is easily overlooked is exciting, and finding them is fulfilling.
Picking berries also gives me time to think, which I haven’t had much of lately.
As I’ve searched for fruit among the leaves and thorns, I’ve realized a couple of things, learning life lessons in the dappled light.
If you’ve ever picked berries, you know that at first glance it can seem as though there are no berries to find in any given place. Sometimes you pluck one or two from the vines and think you’ve found them all.
You move on, looking to another patch for the fruit you seek.
For some reason, however, you turn back, and from your new perspective or maybe your new position, you see countless berries you’d stepped right past.
A fresh perspective reveals plenty where you saw slim pickings.
The Power of a Fresh Perspective
Oh boy, are our lives like that sometimes!
How often do we get bogged down in the day to day, caught up in the daily routines of our lives, and miss the blessings right in front of us?
It’s not always because we aren’t looking for them.
Sometimes, we need to do exactly what I do in the berry patch: pause, turn and look again, look anew.
What are we missing in our daily lives? Exactly what are we overlooking? Are we walking right past fresh fruit?
Lately, I have been.
You see, this has been a time of testing, and not just for my homeschooled kids.
In the midst of mothering on the hard days, I often forget to look for the blessings in the battle. (Because motherhood is a battle sometimes. Most often against ourselves.)
The other day, I decided to put the struggle away and enjoy my children. We went for an outing, and I listened to them talk and was entertained by their stories, their antics, and their activity.
At other times, all three would have been the brambles, not the blessings.
I needed a new perspective.
A Fresh Perspective on Pain
Berry picking has opened my eyes to the fact that, in life, it’s often all about perspective. How we look at things determines how we feel about them.
As I was reaching into a thicket of thorns yesterday, I stopped and looked at the perfect, ripe blackberry I was trying to pick. It was perfectly protected by the prickly vine surrounding it.
In the little space provided by the briers, the berry had grown and ripened until it was plump and sweet and perfect.
The difficult environment surrounding it had proved to be the best place for it to grow.
So often, the same is true for us, isn’t it?
We are surrounded by circumstances that press in on us. If we push against them, they scratch and sting, wrapping tighter as we wrestle harder.
But if we rest, if we stop resisting, we can grow.
You see, you did not end up where you are for no reason. God is sovereign; he’s in control.
He is also good.
Did you know he’s in the habit of growing his people to perfection?
Sometimes, that requires hard times, troubles, and trials.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When we trust God through trials, we grow, becoming mature just like that berry.
Thanksgiving Brings A Fresh Perspective
When I realized how perfectly that vine had protected the berry I was about to pick, I suddenly became very thankful for it. Sure, my hands were scratched, but the pain was momentary. The blessings of the berries will last much longer.
Often, thanksgiving is the key to a fresh perspective.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When we start looking for reasons to thank the Lord, we will never come up empty.
Psalm 103:1-5 lists some of the reasons we can always thank God:
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
When we have Christ, we always have reasons to worship.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
Are you in need of a new perspective today? How could giving thanks give you a fresh outlook today? I’d love to hear from you!
Also, be sure to join us for Encouraging Word Wednesday!