This article was written by Amanda Lawson and published by Faith Driven Entrepreneur
I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life and every year, even though by now I have circled the sun enough to understand seasons, the leaves changing hits like a beautiful surprise. I’ll look out my window at the tree line that serves as our back fence or at the mix of pines and brightly-colored maples and oaks that cover our little college town and be amazed at how this seemingly innocuous, literally natural process can have such a profound impact on my outlook. I recently realized the power of fixing my eyes on beautiful things when—on a particularly frustrating day—I hopped in my car, ready to tell God how annoyed I was by various situations, but caught a glimpse of a cluster of trees that were the perfect blend of fall colors. I stopped mid-lament and simply told the Lord, “Wow. You’re beautiful. Thank you for being beautiful even when life feels like it’s falling apart.”
It wasn’t a long prayer. It wasn’t sophisticated. I wasn’t—as far as I can tell—staring at the face of God but I caught a brief glimpse of His handiwork. And with Him, even brief glimpses are incredibly powerful. My mood shifted; my circumstances and frustrating situations did not.
Romans 1:19-20 tell us that what can be known about God is plain to see, that God has shown us; that “His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” We see His power and awe-inspiring beauty in the things He has made. I think fall leaves in the Midwest are a prime example.
It’s so easy in our world today to become distracted by our work, by political divisions, by tragedy at home and abroad. We get entrenched in our jobs—even if at first for noble reasons—and at some point down the line, look up to find ourselves in places (physically, mentally, spiritually) where we never thought we’d go.
This is not a case for ignoring deadlines or responsibilities; I’m not advocating playing make-believe. As stewards of our lives—including our work lives—we must steward our vision. We look with intention on financial statements, meeting agendas, and branding strategies. What if we also spent our gaze on the Lord? For many of us, the demands of work and life don’t always allow for extended time in the Word. But how kind of the Lord to give us evidence of Himself in the nature we drive through on our way to our jobs! In those moments, we get to refocus our vision and our hearts. On a walk between meetings, driving to and from the office, drinking that cup of coffee and simply staring out the window, if we are willing, we can gaze on the beauty and majesty of the King, even in the busiest and most hectic workdays.
In the middle of running for his life, king David pens what we know as Psalm 27. He writes of his deep desire to gaze on the Lord, even when being actively pursued by enemies. In a prayer found in Psalm 86, David asks the Lord to give him an “undivided heart” that was focused on the goodness and glory of God. What if our prayers matched David’s and we took seriously the reality that we were made to gaze on the beauty of God, regardless of our circumstances or stress level?
A few times since that drive, I have found myself sitting alone, staring at the nature surrounding me…in my backyard, on my drive to work, at the state park just outside of town, even sitting in our church parking lot. It doesn’t take an extravagant expense to find yourself somewhere beautiful. It does take you looking at something other than your own situations. And it is worth it every time.