May’s question at FACETS comes for me (Jennifer) at the perfect time. I’ve recently spent extended time in reflection and self-evaluation. I recommend we all take that kind of precious quiet time to answer this question. Are you up for it? (I hope you are! And I hope you share links to your own reflections in the comments if you put them out there for the world to see.)
It’s incredibly difficult to escape my own perspective. I know I’d answer this question differently in each age and stage of life, and the responses would be flavored with the season I was steeping in. Or—maybe I can see more clearly for just a pair of minutes. How is that possible? (I’m pretty sure we’ve all got to get out of our own heads in order for it to happen.)
My first thoughts swirl through my mind. My initial perspective was that I hadn’t changed much, at least not in the ways I’d hoped or thought. Not all the bad habits were broken. Not all the good ones stuck. In a bad moment, I might wonder what “new creation in Christ” really means. When my mind goes there, I’m halfway home. To see things clearly, I need to find truth in the Scriptures!
So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! 2 Corinthians 5:17 CJB
This translation helped clarify expectations. Somehow I thought I should be something of an Extreme Makeover (God edition). When my perspective required God to deliver on my perceived promises with a magic wand, there was bound to be trouble! Suddenly, there was a broken deal. There wasn’t some kind of “new Jen” from what I could see.
But look! I am “part of the new creation,” and I believe “the old things” and “new things” are laid out for me to discover in God’s truthful Word. That simply means the ultimate truth, the ultimate authority in life, is the truth from my Abba’s lips! (From his heart to the page to my mind and heart!) I begin with truth and add one thing more.
You may know I have written in my little corner of the Blogosphere at Fragrant Grace. There has always been irony in the name (I can’t smell scents very keenly, and I have always wrestled with black-white, not-so-gracious thoughts, words, and actions). When I took a deeper look at my perspective on myself, grace was the beautiful, bold-italic font the truth was written in. When I scrawled my own “truths” about me in my own handwriting, the problem was obvious: I vandalized God’s words with my own (minimizing or eliminating his truth and grace).
So, now you might be a little curious. What exactly did I hear during my time in the Word, from precious others, and from the Holy Spirit?
The whispers of my Father…
You are strong. Surviving everyday life sometimes requires endurance and a little muscle. The good, the bad, and the “Oh, my goodness!” moments in life change you. When you submit it all to Me, then I grant the strength you need. Remember “I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV).
Your eyes are special. You see beauty where others don’t; you see beauty in the broken things. Beauty is actually woven into the “fabric” of Jen (creative graphics, drawings, and even your penmanship). You were created to see and unveil the beauty Abba has created. Isaiah 61:1-3 is real. Here or hereafter, there will be beauty!
You think. Continually. Sometimes you do that well, and when you do, that reflects the beautiful mind of God who knit you together before you had a single thought to think. When you taught Introductory Logic this year, you learned that “not all” means “some.” Some of the habits have changed. Some of the habits have stuck. That’s grace, baby!
Your yeses have often yielded amazing opportunities! When you see something I am doing (and participate in that), incredible things happen. You have learned to say YES! Years ago you gave more nos to protect yourself, your time, and your resources. You now look to see what the Spirit may be doing and what he may be saying. You’re learning to pause and try to find the yeses—the things I prepared for you.
And then the truth of the Bible speaks…
[Y]ou are precious and honored in my sight, and…I love you… Isaiah 43:4
Psalm 139 (Reminds me of how intimately he knows me, and how much he loves me!)
He wiped away the bill of charges against us. Because of the regulations, it stood as a testimony against us; but he removed it by nailing it to the execution-stake.
Colossians 2:14 CJB
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
It’s really true, and there is enough grace…
(There’s the perspective shift!)
I am made (“fearfully and wonderfully,” as Psalm 139:14 says) to love and be loved, to see and unveil beauty, and to find the yeses that will respond to what God is doing and saying in the everyday moments in life.
Stepping back, getting quiet, and reading the truth was the beginning of changing my perspective. Pausing and listening to others and the voice of the Spirit was the beginning of the grace infusion I desperately needed. The process has been an amazing experience. And the words have the significant weight of truth and the beauty of grace.
TRUTH and Grace.
And I can see me with fresh perspective.
Thanks for reading along, friends!
Why not answer the question, too—How has God changed your perspective on yourself? Share in the comments below or at our Facebook Page.