The other day I met with the pastor of the church we've been attending lately. He seems like a super guy. He is very low-key, humble, yet also has a good sense of humor. It was a nice meeting and I left feeling fairly upbeat.
Before the meeting, though, I was not feeling that way. When Brian contacted me he said he just wanted to get together to "hear my story." While I appreciated the contact, I dreaded having to go through my story again. Because I assumed he wasn't talking about my story of how I came to be a follower of Jesus, but rather the story of why I'm not longer pastoring a church.
Even after we met I found myself wishing I had a different story. My story sucks. It's a sad story of heartache and betrayal and abandonment. But then it occurred to me - just this morning, actually - that it's not my story that is bad.... it's the way I've been looking at it.
Everyone has a sad story of some sort in their life. I have been letting my sad story (or at least THIS ONE) define me. I have also only been looking at it from one angle. I've only been seeing it from how it effected me; and how it effected me at that point in my life. There could be (and probably is) an entirely different angle, and the things that have happened so far could have ripples and repercussions far and wide across many lives. Maybe those things happened for a very good reason in the grand scheme of things. Who knows.
Perspective.... is rather important.
This morning I was reading through chapter 3 of the "Learning From Jesus" spiritual formation guide from Renovare. The chapter title is: 'Experiencing the Second Birth.' They discuss Nicodemus and Zacchaeus, and how they had very different experiences of coming to accept Jesus and learning to see their own lives through the lens of his story.
On p. 30 they quote from Malcom Muggeridge's book 'Jesus Rediscovered':
"The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth. As long as we are aliens, we cannot forget our true homeland, which is that other kingdom You proclaimed."
Ah yes... I am so often prone to forgetting that this is not my home. Granted, we pray and work for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, and we may get little glimpses of it here and there, but we should never find ourselves too content in this life.
It's funny... This is nothing earth-shattering; nothing I haven't heard before or didn't already know; but sometimes it can make all the difference in the world to just take a moment and look at things from another angle.