“Joy is always a function of gratitude – and gratitude is always a function of perspective.”
– Ann Voskamp
Through each difficult season I have encountered, what has always made my faith grow stronger and my relationships deeper is perspective.
The saying is true, perspective is reality. And if your perspective is yourself, and how life is so hard or why you aren’t getting XYZ, then the fruit of that will produce itself in your life: anxiety, poor friendships or relationships, lack of growth.
So, ask yourself, what fruit are you producing (or not producing)?
But don’t just stop there. When we see behavior or patterns in our lives that we are unhappy with, don’t just correct the behavior, the heart must be addressed as well.
If we only correct the behavior, then the heart issue will manifest itself in other ways. It’s not just about redirecting your thought life, but getting to the core of the why you think what you think.
I hate dieting. At the core of my thoughts regarding dieting, it’s always that I’m having to give up something that I enjoy. I would feel frustrated with how I look but would be torn on giving up one of life’s most enjoyable pleasures – food. My perspective was that dieting means loss.
However, a couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany moment. I thought to myself, if I sacrifice food for the next two months I would gain the body that I want. And that was it. I changed my perspective and got to the core of my thoughts, and now my actions have followed. I realized I could deny my cravings for two months, and sacrifice moments of pleasure, for the reward of being happier when I tried clothing on.
It always goes like that, you know? We lack growth because we are stuck with childish thoughts. Stinkin’ thinkin’, as my mother would describe it.
This was the key that unlocked the door to joy in my life. Changing the way that I saw everything.
So many moments of my first child’s first year were robbed by discontentment and comparison. Because I wouldn’t change my thoughts, I resided to deal with anxiety, insecurity, and depression. It was a really difficult year.
Once I had my second child, I made up my mind on what my perspective would be. I would look at my life through the lens of contentment and gratefulness. This changed everything.
I remember reading Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” and reading about how her love grew for her own life as she took pictures of things that were going on around her. So I started to do the same. I borrowed a friends camera and took random pictures of my husband and children playing, and of their feet getting dirty, and I fell in love with my life all over again.
And this isn’t a proud thing like my life is better than yours. No, this is a contentment type of love.
Seeing the life that God has given us through a lens of thankfulness will produce joy.
We have this ability in every season. Through every difficulty. Through every broken relationship.
How do you love someone who has abandoned you and rejected you?
You chose to be thankful. You choose to see the good that came from the situation. You choose to see the hand of God as your life unravels before your very eyes. This is “God perspective”. This is joy abounding.
Weaved throughout this post are pictures from our recent lifestyle family shoot that we did with Erika Lauren Photography. We had been planning to move, so we got pictures taken in our home with all the ugly colors that I regret painting all over my walls. I wanted to remember the home that I brought both of my babies home too. The home that has welcomed strangers and made them into family. My children’s very first steps. I wanted to remember it all.
And of course, I fell in love all over again.
Now, my home looks completely different because we are still trying to sell it. It doesn’t really feel like home anymore. But once again, perspective is reality, and my physical home doesn’t mean much to me. It’s the relationships that I have that mean everything.
So, what’s your perspective? What is your lens of life focusing on? If you focus on the blessing, then everything blurs out. But if all you can see is the negative, then your life will bear the mark of bitterness, selfishness, and brokenness.
Sister, you have the choice to choose.
You control how you see things. You control what you focus on.
You can decide today that you’ll see things through a perspective of gratefulness, and I can promise you, joy will be overflowing.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
God created you with a profound future. But when we are stifled by bitterness we cannot even dream of what He may have in store for us. My prayer for you is that you would choose to be thankful and never stop praying. When we walk in that posture, we are positioned to see clearly the good plans God has for us.