We need some space to get a better perspective

We need some space to get a better perspective

When you’re busy, you don’t tend to think very hard about your situation. You just have to get through that to-do list. You fall into a pattern with your life, doing the same things in the same way for a long time. That just feels normal and natural; it is what you do.

Until you have a break, that is. Sometimes stepping back for a while, even if it is a holiday for a few weeks, helps you to see things that were always there but you didn’t notice them. Sometimes it takes a longer break than that to notice that many of the patterns we had fallen into were destructive and unhelpful.

This is no surprise Biblically, of course. We are instructed to meditate on God’s word day and night (Psalm 1:2), filling our mind with Scripture to inform our lives. We are encouraged to consider the lilies (Matthew 6:28-29) and reflect on the wonder of the moon and the stars (Psalm 8:3-4). We should reflect on the fact that all flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field that will not last forever (Is 40:6). This reflecting and meditating time is something most of us have too little of.

I have noticed this myself. In my recent holiday, I hadn’t fully recognised how tired and run down I was until I stopped being busy. I realised that a busy and stressful year had taken a toll I didn’t notice as clearly while I was in it. I now have the opportunity to reflect on that and think about how to do things from here in a more sustainable way.

Likewise, I have seen this in people I know. When they have quit jobs or moved countries, they realised some unhealthy patterns in how they were living before. It was only when they noticed those things that they realised what was missing in their lives and what was unbalanced. For example, they might notice that work had dominated their lives to such a degree that all the other aspects of their life suffered. However much others might tell you this, it takes some space and time for that realisation to sink in.

Time away from your home church (while on holidays, for example) can also bring reflection and perspective we don’t have all the time. We can so easily see the problems in our own church. Yet when we are away from it for a while, we can see that there are also many good things and our God is kind in ways we hadn’t considered in our normal phase of life.

Busyness can become a badge of honour for us. Being busy means we think we are important. Yet that’s not true. We need times, extended times, when we are not busy. These times remind us of God’s goodness and work even when we are not working, and they give us the mental space to see and think about important things.

Seek out some peace and quiet. Maybe you cannot have an extended break at the moment, but even an hour walking in God’s creation is a good start. Bake in time to think and reflect and pray into your schedule. Blindly following the to-do list won’t bring the perspective on your life that you really need.