Have you ever noticed how the smallest things in our lives, what so often doesn’t really matter, can irritate us to the point of losing our joy? Many years ago I was having lunch with a friend who had just picked up her photos from their family vacation and was so excited to look at them for the first time and share them with me. We began to look at these beautiful pictures of blue skies, sandy beaches, and cute little shops. I was having so much fun looking through them, but all of a sudden she burst out, “I look terrible in that picture…and this one! I’ll never wear that outfit again.” She began to pick herself apart in photo after photo. She went from enjoying reflections of her wonderful vacation to focusing on negative things that no one else would ever imagine.
Sometimes we forget the big picture. So often we want everything to be perfect. We want everything to go our way, to look just right, to feel just right. We forget to enjoy the blue skies, the smiling faces, our children, our home. When we see the flaws in our life picture, especially when they fall short of our personal expectations, that’s all we focus on, and suddenly everything turns negative, and the joy is gone.
Think about Adam and Eve. They were in a perfect garden–beautiful, lush, flowers of every kind, fruit everywhere they went. They could eat all they wanted and not gain weight! There was no laundry to do! All they had to do was care for this amazing God-given garden. Then one day Eve focused her eye on a single tree, the one tree in the garden from which God had told them they could not eat. On that day, that tree became the most important thing that she saw and distorted her view of the whole garden. All she could see was what she didn’t have.
We can’t let what we think are flaws in our lives to distort the whole picture. We can’t let one forbidden tree distort the amazing life God has given us. We have to focus on the whole picture, what we do have–the loving relationships, the abundant provisions, the gifts and talents, the grace and love of God. In the long run, the flaws don’t matter at all.
Don’t live in regret by focusing on what you think is less-than. Don’t be like the man who asked, “Why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” (Ecclesiastes 4:8). Enjoy what God has given you right now. Soak in the beauty of the moment.