What have you chosen to magnify today? Right this second. What are you thinking about and how is it affecting your mood? Are you relaxed, anxious, worried, happy, calm, indifferent, stagnant?
I recently have been reading through a 30 day devotional, and yesterday’s topic really hit me. When we use a magnifying glass, we don’t actually change the physical size of an object. Instead, we are essentially tricking our eyes into seeing something larger than it actually is. The headlines in the newspaper suddenly didn’t grow three sizes in your face. No. The magnifying glass is just pretending for you.
Sometimes it feels like the headlines actually did grow three sizes, though, doesn’t it? Sometimes it feels like the world is imploding, the government is going to he** in a hand basket (I mean….), and your community is falling apart one broken law at a time. Life can be consuming on various levels. How are you handling all of this?
Our brains have built in magnifying glasses. Stick with me. Seriously! Think about it. In a metaphorical sense, we magnify situations to seem SO HUGE…However, that doesn’t mean that those things are actually sized to scale accurately. Has your brain been deceiving you? Do you have a dramatic mind space? I know I do. There is a 24 hour soap opera going on up there.
Very obvious instances in my life stick out to me when I think of my mind’s eye magnification blown out of proportion, and I believe many of our own personal problems stem from this. Let me give a personal example, and maybe you can relate.
In the past, I have dealt with many body image issues as some of you may already know from reading previous posts. I am so happy to say that through a lot of prayer and work, these issues have become smaller and smaller until I can barely see them anymore. BEFORE, however, these issues were becoming bigger and bigger and BIGGER because all I could think about were my flaws! I held that mental magnifying glass up to every single aspect of my body and character attribute that I didn’t like, and I became disillusioned that those things were actually that large. The fact of the matter is, I was just blowing them out of proportion. I often remind myself of this, now:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
This thought process has changed everything. I am breaking my Father’s heart when I hate myself! He created me beautifully, and these days, I am truly believing that.
Another example of this is very recent and something I am still working through. This is also a tougher example, because some situations are a big deal and need to be thought about. The difference lies in if you are thinking about them and preparing for them or if you are consumed by them and agonizing over them. Is it driving you or crippling you?
In a month, I am going back to school in a new city after being our of classes for about three years. I also chose to join the Peace Corps for two of those past years which means that I essentially was treated like a full time employee and was paid nothing. The worlds most pushed around VOLUNTEER. This is a topic for another day (#forgive #forgive #forgive…I am working on it, ok?) Anyway, as excited as I am, I also have this new crippling and all consuming worry about none other than….MONEY! As of last month, it has been something just plaguing me. I am going to be one of those people paying off loans until I am dead. I am going to have to donate some of my organs, my eggs, my blood plasma to keep up with this. I am never going to sleep. I can not do this.
Well, unfortunately, money is important, and I do need to make very conscious and informed decisions about loans and my finances. I can’t let this get blown out of proportion, though. I am magnifying it. All that I can really do is pray, work, utilize help when offered, and do my best.
It is so easy to magnify the negative. I do it all the time, even in small things. Sentences such as, “It is going to be a looonnnnggggg day” escape my mouth constantly. How is that helping anyone? It’s time to re frame our minds and SHATTER that negative and deceptive magnifying glass.
This is not to say that life isn’t tough. It can be. Loss, hurt, disappointment, anger, deceit, and the like are all feelings that we have. Have them, but then, move forward. Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean that life is going to be great all of the time. Seasons come and go. Some seasons will totally suck. Some seasons will be the most beautiful of all time. I look outside as the snow is melting and all of the dog crap is emerging and think to myself, yikes, I remember that season of life. But, next month, the roads will be clearer and the sun will shine more often.
Philippians 4:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
If you magnify anything, today, choose to magnify your blessings, the amazing things that are happening, one or two things that make you smile. You have them, I swear.
This is it, man. You decide how you are going to view your life. It wont always be sunshine and rainbows, but wallowing in the negative, holding on to the hurt, looking for revenge, and the like is not about to get you anywhere. Hard truth. So, today is as good as any to decide. What are you going to magnify?