Looking at the Big Picture

Originally published Monday, 29 July 2013.

One of the most important people in my life–the Greek girl, who I refer to as my person–had to audition to become my best friend.

I should clarify.

She was auditioning for the a cappella group I was in during undergrad. Which is, essentially saying the same thing. Those girls were are some of the the best friends I've ever had.

But, I remember the specific moment I knew we would be friends. It was around 2 a.m. (these auditions tended to run very late into the night–lots of praying, and there were a lot of girls, so there was also some crying–but it was my person's turn to sit down in one of those blue plastic chairs in front. The rest of us were scattered about the room, in a semi-circle strung out with sweatshirts, junk food, backpacks, sheet music and loose leaf paper.

She had already passed the initial singing part of the audition. And now it was time for her interview. We asked her with a film of boredom clouding the room, the question we had already asked twenty other girls that night:

If you could have one superpower what would it be? 

She sat for a moment. Still. Smiling faintly. And then said,

The ability to look at the big picture.

We, the fifteen or so of us sitting in the semi-circle, became very quiet.

It was a pretty ballsy thing to say, really. She didn't want to fly, or to run really fast, or to see into the future–like all of the other girls had said that night. She was bold. Faithful. She didn't have to know the future. She just wanted to understand it.

I learned a lot from my person that night.

Because, this business of growing up and settling into the rigid routine of adulthood just isn't easy.

Especially when you factor in the heartbreak, car maintenance, the crazy schedules, that pesky Redbox DVD that's been sitting on your passenger's seat the last few days (why can't you just return the silly thing?), unreturned library books, paying your bills, taking out the trash that is overflowing past the point of ridiculous, and apartments with sewage problems that make your home seem as though someone is playing a pretty gross game of hide-and-seek.

(I won't tell you what it is that's hiding, but I will tell you it is not an Easter egg.)

And it's these times, when I get absorbed into the swell of the day-to-day, and I'm charged with the really daunting tasks, I tend to pray/beg Christ for wisdom and peace.

Perhaps it's something that we all need.

Because, if we focus on the mundane heartbreaks and aggravations of our daily lives, we're missing the big picture.

What would happen if we all had the ability to look at the big picture of our lives? What kind of precious, strong, and beautiful troopers would we all be if we could have a Heavenly perspective on our lives and talents–instead of such a jarring, immediate one?

I was speaking with a girlfriend, a nurse, the other day who was struggling with being honest in a relationship. The man wasn't quite treating her fairly, but she didn't quite know how to go about sticking up for herself.

She said,

I can literally breathe life into a baby to save it, but I have a panic attack over these little things.

I can't even imagine the big picture of her life. The long nights. The opposite sleeping schedule from the rest of the world. She literally has young lives depending on her.

Big picture? The woman's a complete rock star.

I recently had a conversation with another dear friend about the Proverbs 31 woman–you know, the passage that intimidates every woman, if she's being honest with herself–and how it makes her feel inadequate.

I listened to her talk about how hard it is for her to keep all of her irons–of which she has many–in the fire. And how she feels like she doesn't measure up.

Didn't she know? She is totally that woman! 

How does that verse go? Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all [?] (Proverbs 31:29).

Hello? Couldn't she see that she was maintaining that particular passage perfectly? I wanted to slam my cardboard cup of coffee on the sidewalk. I wasn't mad. I just wanted to make a point. How do you tell someone that they're all that you could ever hope to be in your life? And that their life as a dedicated loving wife, student, worker–all-the-while having the discipline to workout, be involved in her church, and being independent and all around lovely–is all that I could ever hope to become?

I didn't slam my coffee on the sidewalk. But I was mystified. I look up to this woman greatly–but she would never suspect. Because she's like me, sometimes, caught up in focusing on the mundane. Rather than the big picture.

So, sweet ladies. I'd like to encourage you all to pray this week to have the wisdom and the superpower to look at the big picture of your lives. Ask God to show you how He's using your unique gifts and skills–and how valuable you are to the Body of Christ in the story of our world.

It's a lesson I have been trying to learn.

Ever since one of the most important people in my life had to audition to become my best friend.

Where do you struggle with looking at the big picture? Do you have friends who are struggling to see their purpose or worth? Share this with them–tell them that they're a rock star at the end of the day.  And leave me a comment about it below!