Where are you looking? Up or down?
A speaker I heard years ago recommended looking at the sky more. He said it helps give you perspective. Even when you are looking at a garbage dump, he suggested, if you frame it with your fingers, you will still be looking at 80% sky, 20% garbage dump. That image stuck with me. 20 years later, if I'm feeling stressed, sometimes I'll remember to simply look up at the sky. I always feel better. Sometimes I even actually hold up my hands and frame what I'm looking at by squaring my thumbs and my fingers. He was right. There's always more sky.
And of course, there's a spiritual corollary for church leaders. "I lift up my eyes to the hills-from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2, NRSV) Looking up is a way of remembering what is ultimate - not the challenges that are in front of us, but God's love, care and wider purposes for us. Just like the sky, God is always bigger.
I find that literally looking up helps me remember to look up spiritually. Whether I'm facing upsets at a church I'm working with (or my own), worries about my family, or a writing project that has stalled, a wider perspective always helps.
Here are six ways to use the sky to help you keep your perspective.
- Literally look up at the sky. Right now.
- If you're inside, walk to the window and look out.
- In a tense meeting, imagine the sky for a moment.
- Put the sky on your computer screen , or smartphone lock screen.
- U se a glimpse of the sky as a way to remind yourself to pray.
- Look up and recite the verses from Psalm 121 cited above.
What are ways you remind yourself to look up, to look beyond yourself and your church (or personal) problems?
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