By Jenn Wallace
Now that I am in my forties, I am experiencing more and more phenomena related to aging; recently, I experienced yet another. I was reading the label on a pill container and had to move it further away from me than I am used to in order to read it: too close and the words were blurry. I was a little bit perturbed thinking, “Do I need bifocals already?!” I have since seen my optometrist who says for now I can lift my glasses but the time is coming. I’ve begun to commiserate with friends who are of the same vintage as me and they too have started to experience the same.
Things get blurry when they are too close. I have tinkered with Adobe Photoshop, a photo editing program, and I have zoomed in to change pixels. But seeing as I am no expert at this, I have concluded that it is so much better to take a good photo in the first place with all the correct settings than changing a photo later. Zooming in to fix a problem can get dicey and I only realized how tricky this is once I zoomed out. To be good at Photoshop, one must zoom out frequently.
I have zoomed in when looking in the mirror. Those troublesome chin hairs vex me. But if I get too worried and overzealous in plucking, my skin gets red, irritated, and looks worse than when I first started. Sometimes I only realize this when I back up and see the full picture. It is easy to get critical when looking too closely at something.
Sometimes though, I zoom in with my family. I nitpick at things that are not important. In the urgency and immediacy of life that needs to happen NOW, I forget to zoom out and focus on the important. Are my children practicing kindness in their daily interactions with each other and others? Am I modeling this to them? Am I too zoomed in looking at the wrong things to see the bigger picture of what really needs to be addressed in the world, in my community, in my family?
The need to focus on Godly priorities and see what is important is nothing new. The prophet Jeremiah (22:15-16) exhorted a king:
“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and he loved justice.
Then it was well with him.
“He defended the cause of the afflicted and needy;
then it was well.
Is not that what it means to know Me?”
Declares the LORD.
And the prophet Micah (6:8) also stated:
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Or in Jesus words*
“For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?”
When we see the big picture we are disturbed that people lack basic needs, heartbroken when refugee families and children are torn apart, and upset when treaty promises are not being recognized or honoured. And those emotions need to lead to motion—action. But sometimes seeing the big picture can feel overwhelming. We would rather go back to being zoomed in on the little things. We choose paralysis and distraction in the small because doing nothing seems easier. God’s will seems too big.
It really isn’t though. God’s will remains the same today. Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly. And don’t forget to zoom out: it’s the only way to see the world His way.
“Trust in the Lord, with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5
*(Matthew 7: 2-4, Luke 6:41-42)
About the Author
Jenn Wallace lives in Saskatoon in a green house with John, Imogen and Isaac and two dogs. Every weekday morning Jenn goes to kindergarten to learn and to teach. She still hasn’t graduated, but every year the kids change. Jenn loves to do other things like sing, teach judo, buy way too many children’s books, read, and watch her favourite shows with John. She still wants to learn to play her guitar. She loves her church family very much. She loves being a part of a faith community which is also why she loves Sister Triangle and the encouragement it gives her.