Perspective is something that has been heavy on my heart lately. I’ve come to realize that what life throws at us is beyond our control, but the way that we choose to view these things is completely up to us. You’ve been given this day, full of joy and pain and stress and everything in between, and you can either accept it for the gift that it is or go on complaining about what it’s not. Shauna Niequist puts it far more eloquently than I ever could when she says:
“It’s rebellious, in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. It’s much easier and much more common to be miserable . . . we could just live normal day-to-day lives, saving all the good living up for someday, but I think today, just plain today, is worth it” (234).
So, in order to live—really live—my life, I need to change my perspective.
I’ve noticed something interesting occurs when I start to look at the mundane in a new light. I spent the first half of my semester dreading going to lab on Tuesdays, dreading even getting out of bed on a Tuesday morning because I knew my day was filled to the brim with classes and meetings. Lab is three hours in one room, and it’s tough. However, without even realizing it, I’ve begun to look at lab differently. As soon as I thought about research psychology as a possible career option, lab became so much more bearable. It began to have meaning and purpose and a new spark. Nothing about the actual content itself changed, but my perspective changed, and that made all the difference.
My point in telling you this is that life can have a tendency to be stagnant and monotonous, but you don’t have to accept that reality. You have the power to choose joy, to choose to look at the clouds and remember that the sun is still shining even though you can’t see it. So, yes, studying for that exam is taking everything in you, but you wouldn’t be studying if you didn’t want to do well. Your life and the things you are doing have a purpose, and I don’t want you to lose sight of that.
In Bible study, we’ve started a lesson on Jonah. Aside from being trapped in the belly of a big fish, Jonah did some pretty relatable things. Namely, God told him to do something tough and uncomfortable, and he ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction. Sound familiar?
God is really good at throwing wrenches in our plans, but He’s even better at giving us far greater and more important plans. Priscilla Shirer, the author of the devotional Jonah, asks us to change our perspective and begin looking at life’s interruptions as “Divine Interventions.” She acknowledges that it’s difficult to have your plans completely thrown for a loop, but she also reminds us of how incredible it is that the God of the Universe cares enough about us to change our measly human plans into something better and far more divine. You see, God’s plans give us significance. Jonah would have gone on living his normal, mundane life if it weren’t for God sending him to Nineveh, but now Jesus himself mentions Jonah in the New Testament. By making Jonah do that hard, difficult thing, God gave him eternal significance. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.
Life is not an easy thing, and things will not always go your way. Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s stressful, and sometimes it’s downright difficult. That’s the inevitable part of living life. However, I’ve got good news. Life also has a tendency to be a beautiful, overflowing, messy pile of laughter and hand squeezes and dancing and joy. So, choose to look at today and all of the parts that make up today as a gift, handmade by the Creator of everything, designed especially for you.