Today is a warm sunny day abounding with all the glory of spring. A soft warm breeze is whispering across the green hills dotted with golden dandelions. It sounds like hundreds of finches are celebrating the budding of the Dogwoods and the blossoming of the Redbuds that stand out starkly in the still-bare forest with the faintest tips of the gentlest green.
This is the kind of day I have longed for for three months, since moving to the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in the dead of winter.
I am one of those people deeply affected by the amount of sunlight I get. Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a made-up diagnosis. I need the sun!
I rallied all the strength and resolve I had, weeks before the move, knowing what deficit I would encounter. I resolved to be strong and embrace the cold dark days. I can do this! I lasted about 8 days and three hours before melting into a defeated depression. Nope, I still need sunshine…
But on one of those cold rainy days God brought me, in my daily reading, to Phillipians 4:11, “I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound.” The verse twinkled in the darkness like a spitting spark in the last dying embers of a fire. I followed the flicker and investigated this glimmer of hope. I am not much of a scholar, but I love to explore the Word; and I found that the word for “brought low” also can mean “to depress.” What if I could know how to “be depressed” and know how “to abound”? What if I could do both well?
God showed me that I needed to shift my perspective; look a little closer and look in a new way.
When the sun comes out, like today, I can feel the heaping glory of all God’s goodness shining on me. I come alive. But now I also know how to access that lavish goodness on the cloudy days as well. I shift my perspective.
I look closer until I can see Him in the cold dreary fog. Sure enough, I find Him in the shimmering drops of rain from the bare branches that just looked sad and gloomy a few minutes earlier. I feel Him wafting through my being like the mist that creeps through the forest. It looked eerie and bleak before. Now it looks curious and compelling, almost serene, as it drifts about changing shapes, spreading mystery as it floats through the trees. As I shiver in the cold, I feel an invitation to the warmth of God’s presence.
I acknowledge my weariness, my longing for warmth and the sun, also my depression if I can even call it that now.
I invite Him into it.
And He brings me back from pining for some certain future reality (the sun will come out someday) to the present moment, which is surprisingly packed with His glory.
I shift my perspective. I see Him in the present, not just in some awaiting future glory. I no longer see the winter trees (Have you noticed I have a thing for the trees here?) as barren, which implies empty, sad, lonely, unfruitful. As I bring God into my present, I shift my perspective from barren… to dormant… to resting… to peaceful. Now they seem unhurried and unworried, resting peacefully before they display God’s glory in a few short weeks.
I did it! I made it through three whole months of winter. I didn’t just survive it either; I learned how to do winter! I know how to be brought low. And now, as a robin hops by me and the sun dapples through those rested trees, I know how to abound.
Perspective shifting reflection:
- Where are you stuck in a negative? Invite God into it.
- What does He want you to see instead? Wait until He moves you at least two notches up the scale.
- Enjoy God’s presence in the new perspective, in the now.