Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On Framing Perspectives

Picture an empty frame; just waiting to be filled.

Now picture the empty frame as your mind.. 

In fact, the Hebrew word for mind, yetser, actually means frame.

As Beth Moore explains in Breaking Free, “The implication of the word should be understood more in terms of a picture frame than our physical frame or body. In essence, our minds work to frame every circumstance, temptation and experience we have. We see events from our own perspective and context."

We put a frame on it, and assign it value or worth.  

This is wonderfully illustrated in an article written about Josh Bell in 2007.  He had carried his priceless violin into a busy subway station and began to play.  A world famous violinist framed in that setting resulted in only a few who stopped. Most people walked right on by.  The night before, when the frame was a grand concert hall, people paid hundreds of dollars to hear him play.


I sat down earlier this week and wrote these words...

"If I had my way, my days would be filled with sweet things."

What I planned to say next was that there are too many days filled with hard.  And there are. But I had to stop myself.  While a peaceful sweet day is a good thing, would I want my days filled that way, with sweet things?  Why do I put more value on days that are easy? As if I can frame hard days with old worn and chipped frames, while framing sweet days with frames made from the most beautiful materials?

I have to re-frame my perspective.  As much as I love the days that are filled with sweet peaceful moments, those sweet days are not my good, remember? My good is the nearness of God.

With that frame, my perspective becomes a desire for a day that is filled with His nearness, and then no matter what I have to face, I know that I have all I need for a good day. A good day does not necessarily mean a day of sweet things. A hard day can be a good day when God is near.  I know that when He is close, I am truly safe.  That I can have peace when the day is filled with turmoil.

Hard days don't change the truth about who God is.

I want to see what God is doing in my life by framing my days on the truths in His Word, that God is good, that He loves me with a great love, and that He holds me in the palm of His hand.

I can focus in the truth that He comforts me in my sorrow,  strengthens me in my weakness, and that He makes beauty from ashes.

It doesn't matter then how hard the circumstances where we find ourselves.  We can say with confidence along with the Psalmist,

"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it".

How are you framing the moments in your life?  The people in your life?

I found this short journal entry from November of 2007 and thought it fit here very well:

My soul needs some waking up!!

This morning is as good as any.

So, here I am at the dining room table, and as I look out the window into the back yard; I can see the calm tranquil setting there as the rays of sunlight steal through the branches to shed light on small patches of grass.

So peaceful…

Yet, in the same window, I see the reflection of a much more hectic life as traffic speeds past the window in the front of my house. 

                   Framed in the very same window, yet two very different perspectives.

I get the impression that the choice is mine – whether I help to make a place that is peaceful or hectic here in my home depends in part on where my focus is.

I want peaceful.

            And joyful

                        And kind, gentle, loving, uplifting…

(and sometimes, maybe – just a little bit hectic)


The original story of Josh Bell’s subway performance:
(I really liked the part about the way children responded to his playing)

And, yes, he did it again!  Seven years later:


Oswald Chambers:
We are not fundamentally free, external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands, the one thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God. We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.