The Big Picture

A reposted article
Jenny Harrison

To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.
Psalm 119:96 (NIV84)

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
Psalm 147:4-5 (NIV84)

The year was 1978 and I was a sophomore attending a small Christian college in central Texas. To fulfill a fine arts requirement, I eagerly signed up for a basic level drawing class. (Basic seemed appropriate considering my artistic ability consisted of drawing stick people). We studied art terminology and explored principals of shading, perspective, and proportion. With each technique learned, my awareness and appreciation for the wonderful world of art heightened. Halfway into the semester, the instructor announced that we would attempt our first still life drawing. With an easel, drawing pad, instruments, and more determination than ability, I began my project. All was flowing well until I stumbled upon a glitch. I could see the artistic blunder but was unable to pinpoint the root. I visually zoned into the area of concern and struggled to correct the issue–only perfection was acceptable. No luck! The harder I tried, the worse the problem became. I almost made a tear in the sketch pad from the force of repetitive erasing. How could one small section of my potential masterpiece be causing this much grief?

At that moment, I felt a comforting touch on my shoulders. I heard the soft, calm voice of the art instructor, “Let’s take a few steps back.” She gently guided me approximately five steps away from the drawing, then asked me to close my eyes, take several deep cleansing breaths, and clear my mind. Once relaxed, she instructed me to open my eyes and look closely at the entire still life display. “Next, take a close look at your art work, not only the section in question but the complete work.” I was asked to repeat this process three times. Amazingly, after this series of exercises, the solution was obvious. The issue was nowhere near the area of obsession. My tunnel vision prevented me from seeing the big picture. My efforts were not only frustrating but futile.

I have found that my instructors advice was beneficial in the art lab as well as in life. More times than I can count, I have blazed through my days armed with a master plan, agenda, and check list. I am a women on a mission! Once I become focused, it is like pulling a towel from the mouth of a pit bull. (I have been described as tenacious for a reason.) Unfortunately, these tendencies limit my vision and perception. I quickly become unaware of my surroundings. I am no longer capable of seeing God’s big picture, hearing his gentle voice, or focusing on his glorious masterpieces.

Precious Savior, I come to you this moment in humble recognition that your power, understanding, and ability are much bigger than my limited human self can imagine, yet I continuously attempt to take matters and situations into my own frail and insignificant hands. My illusions of perfection and order pale in comparison to the ultimate Master plan. I pray Heavenly Father that you will take my hand, and fill me with the ultimate life saving breath only You can provide. Open my eyes and clear my vision. Precious Lord, I desire to be awestruck by your glorious wonders and divine masterpieces. In your most Holy and precious name I pray. Amen

Copyright © 2012, Jenny Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Bible scripture taken from NIV84.

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