I was stopped in my tracks as I was shopping last week when my eyes fell on a big wooden sign that stood before me. I was immediately captivated by its words; “Let your smile change the world; don’t let the world change your smile”. Wow. While I didn’t write it, my spirit sure did resonate with its every word.
Without realizing it, that is a choice we make every day…to influence or be influenced by our circumstances. Most of the time it’s not a conscious choice, but maybe it should be! We have been blessed with the power of choice. The ability to choose how we view our circumstances which then births either a smile or a frown is no small thing.
I did not get a choice in the way I was created: in how tall I stand, in my orthopedic issues that require many surgeries or in the many things that I cannot do as a result of my skeletal dysplasia; but I do have a choice about my attitude towards those things & how I allow them to shape how I see myself. Bottom line, I determine how much “life” my disability is going to rob from me. Whoever said, “Life is 20% what happens to us and 80% how we respond” was so right!!
One of my pastors made the point of how those who walk in joy tend to have a broader perspective because they view life through what God is doing in and through their difficult circumstances. They look for God’s provision and purposes in the midst of trying circumstances and find reason to smile. I’ve been reading “The Greatest Gift” by Ann Voskamp as an advent devotional and in yesterday’s reading she said, “Joy is a function of gratitude and gratitude is a function of perspective”.
Last summer a couple of my friends and I took an amazing photography class (www.heatherblairphotography.com ) and afterwards we had a “30 Day Challenge” where each day over the following month we had to photograph different subjects. One of those challenges was “A View From Above”. Approaching this shot was different for me because being short, my view is so often from below – but God’s view is always from above. He sees our circumstances very different than we see them, yet when we pause to view them from His perspective, we see that we are blessed.
Well, needless to say, that sign is no longer at the store, but in my room reminding me that I have the choice whether to shine or not. I had a speaking engagement last week (shout out to my new FTC friends!) where I made the point of how our circumstances do not need to change for us to radiate beauty and God’s glory; we just need to walk beside Jesus.
…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3