The wooden clothesrack standing in the basement seemed to cast a gloomy cloud over me.
While I was thankful for it, I also glowered at it. It stood there taking up space I really didn’t want it to and looking somewhat disorderly to me. I like neatness and order, though our home is often in disarray. The thought of having a clothesrack set up with clothes draped over it, drying, most of the winter felt heavy to me. I love it when my house is in magazine display order, but I don’t know why I get so hung up on it. Life doesn’t work that way-not if you’re going to live too.
My dryer hadn’t been venting right and it was too windy to hang clothes outside, so I pulled the wooden drying rack out. And then glowered at it. Instead of being thankful that I owned it. Instead of being glad that I wasn’t spending pennies and dimes and dollars on electricity to run the dryer. And since I kept trying to stretch and pinch my budget, you’d have thought I’d have been very thankful. Instead, I chose to focus on the negatives. I chose not to remember the many times at our old house when I wished I had a good place to set up my drying rack. Like a basement. How nice that would be!
I finally thought a few of the thankful thoughts like I should’ve been doing all along. Then, I put the clothesrack to the back of my mind and attended to other details and errands that were calling my attention.
The next morning as I went about my routine and headed to the basement, I glanced at the clothesrack. I was struck with another thankful thought. The clothes had stayed put on the rack all day and night and I hadn’t had to give them another thought in my day that ended up taking me out of the house and being busier than I’d thought I’d be. I hadn’t had to think about checking the dryer or taking them off the clothesline or wondered if the wind was blowing them down. This clothesrack that I thought was such an inconvenience was quietly proving its handiness to me. I had already decided what I thought the situation was going to be like before I even gave it a chance.
That’s when God spoke to me.
My daughter breezed down the stairway and into the basement. As she busily rearranged her school desk and pulled her computer out she stated, “I love having the clothesrack set up. It’s so cozy and reminds me of winter!”
Through my daughter, I felt like God said to me, “You see, Deborah, it’s so much in the perspective.”
I had decided what my perspective was before I even set the clothes rack up. I had judged the situation and I had not judged it correctly. As I continued to use it, I had begun to find several things about the system that were handy. Maybe it was taking up space, but it was drying my clothes and I was finding out that there were things about using it that were starting to seem more efficient than either my clothesline or my dryer.
This was just a mundane detail of life, yet I had managed to pass judgement on it without a fair trial, and hadn’t even tried to remember that I could choose my perspective.
How often do I do this to people and things that do matter and are not just mundane details? Too often, I know.
In every single situation I am offered a choice. I get to choose what my attitude and my perspective are going to be. I get to choose if I’m going to be thankful. I get to choose if I’m going to try. I get to choose if I’m going to focus on the negative or the positive. I get to choose if I will offer grace, like my Father offered me. I get to choose if I’m going to remember how often I get it wrong. I think I’m an authority, but I’m not. I haven’t walked in those shoes.
I’ve noticed something else. When I choose to rest in Him, I am free. I don’t have to decide for anyone else. I don’t have the pressure of being the judge. God’s got it. And He’s so much better at it. So much so, that it’s laughable to think that I even try to do His job. While I don’t condone sin, I don’t have to be the judge of it. I need to change my perspective and do the job He’s assigned me. He has chosen me and He wants to perfect me to be more like Him. He wants me to grow in Him. Not only does He want me to grow in Him, He wants me to desire a relationship with Him.
This flesh part of my nature is tough. Too many times I would rather pass judgement on others and pat myself on the back, instead of having compassion and reflecting on my own failures and sins and the changes I need to make. I can’t control this flesh on my own. That’s one reason it’s so important for me to keep my focus on my relationship with my Savior. If a glimpse of His nature and light shine through me and touch someone else, well, that’s what it’s all about.
That’s where I want my perspective. On becoming like Jesus.
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