We are moving. Again. I have decided that moving must be my new hobby because Husband and I have lived in five places in our ten years together. But we are finally buying our first home together and putting down roots. The problem is that no matter how big or small, nothing fits exactly the same from one house to another. This move meant we needed a new dining room table. After spending a few weeks shopping, I decided that the table I have is actually the perfect size and shape. It just needed a facelift. Bonus was the mucho dinero it would save us. Now, let me assure you this was not my first furniture project. It wasn’t even my first project of the month. I have been making over pieces since I was a teenager. Partly because it feels good to breathe new life into something, but mostly because I’m cheap.
I did all the prep work. I didn’t skip any steps or cut any corners. This table was going to be a masterful repurpose and my vision for the end result was clear. It took me about ten days to sand and stain every piece. Sadly, I realized way too late in the game that the color stain I chose was reacting with the natural tones in the wood and what was supposed to be a beautiful, rich brown had turned out orange. Like rubber traffic cone orange. There were tears and gnashing of teeth. I called my DIY friends and, of course, my dad. HELP! After much research, pacing and an early morning trip to Lowe’s, I had a solution to turn my table from orange to brown.
The problem was that the final product was nothing like what I had envisioned. Friends and family all raved at how cool it had turned out. Even Husband said he really liked the result. But every time I looked at the table, I felt a disappointment in my heart. I saw what it wasn’t instead of what it was. Then it hit me. This wasn’t the only area of my life where this was a problem.
How often do I look at a situation or worse, a person, in my life and see them for what they aren’t instead of what they are? How many times do I look for what’s lacking instead of what’s provided? I’m a realist by nature. Not quite a pessimist but definitely not the optimist that Husband is. My first reaction to any given situation is not to stop and look at things from a heavenly perspective. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Serious mic drop. I cannot fathom what He is doing most of the time, but that doesn’t make it wrong. It’s more about what I CHOOSE to see in the situation that is the problem. Do I focus on what Husband doesn’t do well, or do I live in a heart of gratitude for who he is and what he DOES do for me and our family? Do I get frustrated with my kids for what they haven’t learned yet or focus on their hearts and how well they love people?
Here is what I’m learning: it is not that those other things aren’t important. It’s just that if I choose to focus on the good with a grateful heart, I create space for the Lord to work in the other areas that aren’t so good. I can’t make my spouse want to love me better, but God can. I can’t open my children’s eyes to a hurting world around them, but He can. I have my part to play, but some things are above my pay grade. So in that space, what I choose plays a huge part in not only the results I get but also my quality of life while walking through it.
Perspective. It can turn the tables on any situation. The results may not be what we desired or envisioned, but it doesn’t mean we can’t look for the good in it. Sometimes the detours in life are frustrating to say the least, but if you’re lucky, you just might find a pretty amazing view and a really good taco stand.
About Amy Patton
Amy Patton is a regular contributor for the blog. She is a business owner, mom of two, wife to JP and lover of Jesus. She has walked a journey of addiction and recovery for over 10 years and is passionate about helping others find healing, restoration and freedom in Christ. She has also been known to rock an adult onesie in public. Check out and give lots of love on her site www.liverightlovewell.com.