Step back from the ledge and enjoy the view.

Every year I ask God to give me a word for the year. Some years the word lasts a few weeks, others it may last a month or so. But this year it’s seem to be constantly before my eyes in this season of my life. It’s a word that challenges me daily but also encourages me.

On January 1st as I drove to my first day of my new job in Tulsa, OK, I began to ask the Lord to give me a word that he wanted me to use as my word of the year so that I could improve in my life. And as I hit about the midway point of my 25 minute drive towards First Methodist in downtown Tulsa, it became clear that God had pressed onto my heart the word perspective. I was sort of confused at first. But as I sat in church that morning and my friend Aaron Tiger led the service, God began to just move in my heart and say “Thad you need perspective in so much of your life. You live so passionately that sometimes it just blinds you from what else is going on around you.” And you know at that point you go, Okay I’m not gonna argue with the Creator of the World. So I just said “Okay God, 2017 is about perspective, let’s do this.”

As I began to examine my life I realized that not only was this a good word for me, it was a PERFECT word for me. There were so many areas of my life that I truly just needed perspective in. My walk with Jesus, my way of dealing with things that come up, my students, and many more. I needed to step back from my view so I could see a little more of the picture. My kids needed me to give them perspective when they made their problems bigger than anything else that was going on.

My problems and failures used to consume me and stress me out. I used to make them bigger than what I made God out to be. But this word that God has so perfectly placed on my heart for this year, has helped me to realize that we serve a big God. Big enough to create the universe. Majestic enough to make incredible sunsets, mountain ranges, a solar system that is remarkable. God created the big picture. But he also created us and worked our last details down to even the creases in our skin that no one sees. This perspective that God is working on me with is something that is a daily challenge and some days I don’t get it. But at the end of the day everyday as I drive home from downtown Tulsa, I turn left onto Boston Ave at 11th St and I look up. I look up into one of my absolute most favorite views of my city and God reminds me of the word, perspective. He reminds me that he’s got me. He reminds me that he is bigger than what is going on in the world and in my life. But He also reminds me in that drive from 11th to 8th on Boston Ave that even He the creator of the world, the giver of life, cares to know me. He cares to know my heart and walk with me through things in my life that can cause some stress

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My view as I drive down Boston Ave headed northbound. Taken 2-16-17 with my iPhone.

I used to get really worked up about things. Things would stress me out that in the grand scheme of things were not that great. They were minor things that really didn’t necessarily need me to get worked up over them. I pulled my problems that were the size of a penny so close to my face that they were all that I looked at. I couldn’t see anything but that penny. I couldn’t see the beauty and splendor that is all around us daily because I made the penny all I focused on. But this year God has worked on me to ask the question with more frequency of “Will this impact eternity?” That has almost become my mantra for this year. It’s helped me to give more priority to the Kingdom and to people rather than the minor things that used to make me stressed out. It helped me see the wonderful view that is driving northbound on Boston Ave from 11th St.

So when things become stressful in your world, the tension gets high, and you seem to be on the edge. Ask yourself “Is this going to impact eternity?” Is this stress I’m under going to shape my future that God has already claimed? Or am I just anxious because I’m trying to constantly be in control of my life? Are you scared to give up control to the Lord because you don’t know what’s gonna happen? Do you make your problems bigger than God sometimes? Let me tell you pretty clearly, God is bigger than anything that could stress you out. So take the penny back from your eye and hold it out in front of you and just rest in the fact that God, the Creator, has you right where he wants you to live the life he has called you to. All it takes sometime is to step back and have a little perspective. So start today stepping back from the ledge and enjoying the view.

Thad Ernst

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