Shift Your Lens Wider…Perspective

 

Perspective saves me.

I have written a lot about gratitude and the shift in how we look at things in our lives to find deeper meaning and purpose.

Something happens in your life and you respond. You can either take a glance and carry on, or take the lens and twist it into focus. You can look behind and beyond the circumstance and discover all kinds of insight as you grow in wisdom from such introspection. Embrace the moment I say. Dwell in the depths of it.

I do that a lot.

I’m a thinker. And a feeler. And I respond.

But the perspective I’m working on is very different, and yet the same. Instead of focusing the lens closer, like a microscope studying the very specific situation and all the parts and pieces that belong to it…

I twist that lens larger to cover the landscape that carries the picture I am in. When I do that, I see more. I take in more. My focus expands to a much greater significant scene that takes me out of the magnified situation, and pulls me farther away from it, shooting the larger picture.

Perspective.

Often when I find myself in a crisis, or some difficult experience, I lunge hard and fast right on into it without pulling back first. It takes intention to stop the lens from tightening into that initial image and diving into the depths of what transpired and what will come from it. We can lose ourselves right there in the thick of the frame. But if we can brace ourselves, and turn that lens back further and further to expand the entire landscape of our lives, we just might respond differently. We might view it differently too.

I have been in pain for about a month, since the surgery I had on my foot and my ankle. My life came to a nice jolted halt without the use of my leg. It’s quite difficult getting around on one leg, ya know? I managed to fall pretty hard spilling over myself and onto a bench in the hallway just this morning. Ouch. It’s also difficult to run a household and care for children and pretty much impossible to drive school routes and errands and any activities. I have dropped the ball on writing deadlines, and book reviews as well as taken the absentee role on various events and gatherings. “Rest and elevate” is the treatment while in my cast. I don’t do either well. I’ve had to give up pretty much everything; at least it feels that way.

It’s been a bit torturing.

I’ve had my meltdowns. I’ve sworn like a sailor and cried like a baby. I’ve pulled my big girl pants up and composed myself enough to ‘mother from the couch’ and engage when I can with others. I’ve prayed for many people and challenged myself to think deeper, and find purpose and meaning behind and beyond this situation.

That’s all fine and good, and my usual way to cope with an unfortunate circumstance. But I realize there is something even more powerful for me in helping change my perspective. I practice it quite often and realized I don’t think I have described it here before.

This expansion of my lens…

I feel the pain.

 

 

You see the pain, don’t ya? My lens was magnified intensely on that focal point, that image, when I swore and cried and whined.

But if I stretch the lens a bit further out, you would find my family surrounding me with helping hands and serving hearts when I am in need. You’d see the mess of a home without the ‘homemaker’, but you would see the dishes done and the laundry folded and the ‘most’ important things completed by my husband and friends that come by with meals and a helping hand. Stretch that lens further out…and back…

You would watch me playing a game of ball in the summer sun, laughing and embracing time with family as I so carefully placed cones on the divots in the yard, promising to NOT twist my ankle. Running to first base, I went down. But stretch further and you will see a weekend of love and laughter and the beautiful new land my sister lives on, with which my children played half naked in the creek and acres of woods. You would be warmed by the campfire and wooed by the s’mores. Ah, the memories…

Twist again to widen the scope.

You would discover 30 years of walking in pain, and the revelation that finally something has been done about it! You would realize this is the beginning of a new way to walk and the beginning of the path to freedom, thanks to some incredible doctors and their expertise.  I am blessed to have the option of being ‘fixed’.

Wind that lens more…

You would see a beautiful home, loving ‘get well’ cards in the mailbox and down the street around town- people calling, sending pictures, or stopping by to check in on me. You would find a community full of organizations and resources and people that fill our lives and our hearts and our minds, in which we are blessed to belong. Stretch that lens further and you will span the country and beyond of beloved friends and writers I adore connecting with through the web. You would discover a few family members who send special gifts, cards and loving prayers for my healing. Twist the lens a different way and you will go beyond January and into February, without a cast and in a new boot going to PT to learn how to walk again. Tweak the lens one more time to span March and April full of the new birth of a season of warmer days and me taking my long walks reflecting on the winter of stillness and pain, and feeling so grateful for my recovery.

When the lens gets bigger… the situation gets smaller.

When my daughter Cassidy was very sick over Thanksgiving, I used the same tweak of the lens. Yes, she was sick and it gets hard and scary when she can’t breathe. Surely that is difficult and no mother wants to see her child suffer. Expand the lens…

You will see months before the sickness, she stayed well and strong and completely healthy! The lens would reveal strength in her medical journey and encouragement that the months ahead will be good too. Twist and turn far beyond the year of health and stretch the lens for years to find we survived the hardest parts. We endured all the diagnoses and procedures and surgeries and discoveries to get to this place. Take in the picture to see amazing healing and hope, and then those 10 or so days seemed manageable.

Expand your lens. Open your borders and stretch your frame. The surrounding scenery may enhance and change the picture and the landscape may add an entirely new dimension to your focal point. When difficult things happen, we naturally zoom in on the circumstance and sometimes we allow it to take over the bigger picture.

Don’t zoom in too long, or you may lose the power of the big picture perspective.

Stretch it out.

Pull further away, to survey the scope of it all.

Change the frame.

Enlarge the landscape.

Wider.

Wider.

Even wider.

Until you reach your best shot.

The new scenery will surely change the view.

Shift Your Lens Wider Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Sweet Chris…I cried my way through your post.
    I LOVE your perspective, “When the lens gets bigger… the situation gets smaller.” A wide angle lens makes all the difference, and pointing it in other directions changes the perspective further. I need to focus on the BIG picture. Thanks for the timely remainder!!
    I’m praying for your healing, your family, and your ministry.
    Lots of love,
    Becky xo

    • says

      Becky, seeing your beautiful response and encouragement truly made my day. I’m so grateful you read this post. Thank you for blessing me!! It’s just so easy to drown in the muck of the moment, and it really does take effort and intention to widen that lens. But oh, when we do- it changes the entire landscape of our lives, and surely our hearts. I am forcing myself to do this regularly!!

  2. says

    Oh, Chris what a great outlook for sure and must admit when I was sick last week with 2 kids home, as well as the dog, too, I was miserable, but as I started to feel better I realized as bad as I felt, my life truly is a blessing and widening that lens sure does help in times such as these. Thanks my friend always for the reminder here 🙂 xoxo!!

    • says

      I just hope you are 100% now Janine!! There is NOTHING good about being sick with little kids AND a pup!!! Oh, AND around Christmas!! Bless your heart. 🙁

    • says

      Aw!! Thanks SO much Faves!! What’s “Faves” you ask? I think that is going to be my new nickname for you. Cause your my favorite. My Faves. <3 (Been thinking about you and missing you! Catch up this weekend!)

      • says

        *giggling* NOW I understand your reply on Pintrest. I LOVE THAT, Kitty! That’s so awesome 😀 <3 <3 <3

        Wow…

        And yes. I'll keep showing up. Somehow.

        And YES let's catch up somehow, aaaaaaand ALSO

        LESS THAN NINE MONTHS TO GO! 😀

          • says

            I’m ALWAYS okay with lovely nicknames. I’ve so rarely had any, it’s a delight to have one 🙂 Especially such a gorgeous one. Thank you, Kitty 😀 – you made me do that suddenHUGEgrin thing 😀

            COUNTDOWWWWWN!

  3. says

    I get this, on a very deep level. When a tough situation arises, I too tend to dive into the center of it; I go so deep I almost immediately lose sight of the bigger picture. But a wider lens is exactly what I need to be strong in the toughest of times. Here’s to health for all of us—and a better perspective along with it.

    • says

      I love that you get this Katie! Oh, have I missed you! I’m SO glad you are feeling a bit better now and please know that you are on my heart and in prayers with your pregnancy, my friend. XO

  4. Samantha says

    Love this and thank you so much for sharing. It always helps to put things in perspective in general. xoxox

    • says

      And my beloved friend, those precious words you say about me are surely the ones for you. Do you know that every comment you share here makes me cry? Yep. Every one. (Here I go again… and I already read this before!!!)

  5. says

    Your reframing skills always amaze me. What a beautiful way to change perspective–widening the lens.
    I have the flu. I’m so miserable, and I’m so annoyed that my family tracks their snowy boots throughout the house. But, my husband is bathing the children, he stayed home two mornings and even my mother in law helped out. My sister and mother check in on me everyday, and I’m taking this as an opportunity to eat an entire carton of ice cream by myself. Hey, now I’m prepared for my TToT

    • says

      OH Sarah!!! Damn I love you girl!!! Can I join you in that ice cream carton? No wait… I’ll get my own and THEN join you! I pray that by now you are feeling human and may I please contribute to the annoyance of my family tracking through the house too? Arg! BUT- there are a lot of BUTS. So, yes- lets go there and stay there, shall we? I’ll come visit this weekend and see how you are doing… you definitely have your TToT ready now!!! 🙂

      Thank you for your beautiful encouragement… I am so grateful. <3

  6. says

    Sometimes it’s a shame that through adversity we learn life’s biggest lessons. Well, Champ, you certainly have had enough adversity already, but look at you! You have leveraged yourself until you’ve come through the other side, and you’re not even done healing yet (which I pray you will soon!)

    I love this post so many ways, but mostly because your unique and strong spirit shines through every word. I am proud to know you and more proud to call you my new friend. Shine on, dear Chris. You are a bright and shiny gem.

    • says

      Well bless my soul, YOU certainly do friend!! What beautiful words and incredible encouragement you filled my heart with Cathy! Gosh, you are such a love and a light… Thank you. I feel the very same about you! <3

  7. says

    You are absolutely right about the perspective. It is a trick it took me years to learn, and I still have not mastered it. I tend to catastrophize little things.

    Fabulous ending, too. It really drives the point home.

    • says

      Gene’O! Thank you so much for coming by to read this! Yeah, I’m certainly no master at it either- but with serious effort and intention I forge through the day with this reminder… and big picture vision is the best way to cope through those times when you want to catastrophize things!!! Beentheredonethat. 😉

  8. says

    So beautiful in every way. I often forget to twist, shift and expand my lens – literally and figuratively, of course. I miss things sometimes.
    I’m glad you can see all of the beauty, cause and effect and wider vision of the pain.
    Truly a beautiful gift.

    • says

      It really takes serious effort and intention! I have to ‘force’ myself at times… like right now. Ugh. Every day is another day to drag myself up and manage it all over again… so every day I widen that lens and find something else I would have missed had I not done that. 🙂 *Trying*

  9. says

    I love that you are able to look past the current view and see the big picture even while you are living with so much pain. I hope that each day the pain is less and less!!!
    I’ve been praying for you every night (I spend lots of time awake:) – I hope you feel a bit of relief!!!

    • says

      Do you even know how much that means to me?!? Oh Kim, I am literally crying right now just thinking about you taking the (restless I’m sure!) time to even think of me and pray for me… You are just such a loving precious friend. I’m SO grateful for your prayers!!! Maybe when you start praying is when I can finally start sleeping!! Nights are hard yo. 😉 But somewhere between 2-3am, I finally fall asleep despite the discomfort and pain. Thank you sweetie. SO much.

  10. says

    YES!!!! And Yes again! I love this! I often get so frustrated with people who are so zoomed in they can only see that tiny lit bit of perspective. I love this, I love you!
    I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you. I know it has to be miserable.
    Also, I received the books and thank you SO much! You are too thoughtful.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  11. says

    Wow – you are mazing. The analogy is wonderful and the fact that you can some up with it, while going through what you are – that shows us the beauty of you! Oh, if we could all take in the bigger picture, the world would indeed be a better place.

    My heart hurts for your foot, though.

    • says

      Thanks Allie, I appreciate your sympathy!! It is screaming at me right now, and yet I have to keep reminding myself to widen the lens… come spring I’ll be ready to roll!! 🙂

  12. says

    Oh wow! Did I ever love this. What a powerful post. So often we get caught up in the small… this hinders me in my walk with God too. I forget that He has the big picture, He knows all. I need to trust in that all the time.

    So beautiful Chris. I’m glad you have your family surrounding you and helping you.

    Praying for you my friend.
    xoxo

    • says

      I often remind myself of that and encourage my friends and the kids I work with about God’s picture is so different than our own… his vision is bigger than ours and we must trust that plan! I am blessed… even when I am literally broken. I must remember that always. Thanks friend!

  13. says

    So beautiful and wise, Chris. I often am guilty of focusing the lens too tightly, and missing the bigger picture. I need this reminder – thank you.

    • says

      Thanks Dana! Gosh, it’s just how we operate, isn’t it? It really takes a lot of control and intention to really pull back that lens and see the bigger picture. I am forcing myself to do it constantly!

    • says

      Thank you so much Andrea! I am still praying for your precious niece and the tragic loss of her baby. Oh, how my heart aches for that family… and for you all with such a terrible loss. Just awful. *Sigh*

  14. says

    ouch my friend!! I think my first response would be to make a sailor blush too!!! I do hope recovery goes smoothly, quickly and you’re back to good soon!
    Most people are picking just One Word for the year, but I think I like your phrase: Expand the Lens. It just suits me so well; in all areas of my life. Wife, mother, friend, writer, photographer, Sunday School teacher (um, sorry about that curse thing.)
    yep, I’m stealing it. It’s the best compliment I can give 🙂

    • says

      OH Leslie!! That is just such a cool ‘phrase’ for YOU!! And what a great compliment it is, my friend!! (Um… I have to apologize regularly for the same reason!!! lol) Hey, it’s all good. 🙂

  15. says

    I love your perspective Chris and think it’s very um, understandable that you’d be swearing and crying and focused on the pain because it’s like you have a Frankenstein foot right now!
    BUT from the pain will come freedom and the way that you describe your community and your family and the perspective when pulling back the lens – beautiful. <3
    Speedy recovery, sweets.

  16. says

    This is just the most beautiful reminder that all is not always as it seems. I absolutely love your ability to shift perspective and see not only what is immediately before us, what is currently plaguing us, but the whole story – the things that came before, the things that surround. All of it. Because life is never about what is right before us, is it? I’ve learned a lot of that this last year. Life is always about all the things, to use that phrase, but it is often difficult to see them all at once. And so we don’t.
    Your foot looks positively gross, can’t lie. But I’m glad it will bring an end to your suffering. I continue to pray for your healing and peace of mind. Sitting on your butt waiting to heal is no picnic!
    XOXOXOXO

  17. says

    Very nice reminder of how to look at all aspects of your situation. It would be so easy to focus on the pain, but it’s the talking like a sailor and the support of those who surround you that matters.

    • says

      Thanks Jhanis! It is so easy to focus in on that *one* thing causing us great pain, but when we widen that lens- there are so many other elements in our life to hold on to, and that changes everything.

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