The beach is one of my absolute favourite places to go. I don’t even have to be in a holiday kind of mood, it’s the place where I can go and just soak up the sun, waves and the horizon. One of my favourite games was to imagine what I would see past the horizon. Of course, my logical brain would kick in and answer me straight away with nothing. But I quietly ignored that totally logical thought and instead, imagined myself floating across the water to the next closest tropical paradise.
Lately however, I’ve been thinking about why we love to spend time in places that are so much bigger than us, so much grander and beautiful. I went to the Grand Canyon in June 2019 and I’ve never been to a place that tested my fear of heights so much! Actually, I realised I have a fear of falling, not heights. I mean, there were so many new ways to fall that had never occurred to me. Once I got over that thought, I had to sit in silence and simply take it all in. The hollow space, the colours, the lines, the sounds, all of it. I read a quote recently that said “No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem!” That is so true! The grandeur of a place like the Grand Canyon is truly humbling, yet it is in this posture that something inside ourselves comes alive and we go home feeling like we have been changed forever.
We are wired to see the great, beautiful things of God and to feel wonder, joy, and passion for the awesome and inspiring. Our souls are fed knowing that there is something much better to witness. It clears our current vision and replaces it with an even bigger vision that has the power to move us and create change in any area of our lives. There’s a great bible verse that says “Without a vision the people perish…” How important it is to be able to have a big vision for where we want to go in life and what purpose drives us! Think about all the great changes that occurred in our world’s history because of people with big vision. Here are just a few examples:
Nelson Mandela fought for civil rights and freedom in an Apartheid divided country.
Abraham Lincoln fought to end slavery for the United States
Martin Luther King Jr believed in freedom and equality for all human beings.
And Jesus Christ saved the World.
It is the big plans, big dreams and big goals that have the power to move us and others. A wise person once said,”Make no small plans, for they have no power to stir men’s souls’. When we keep our focus on the things that inspire us, on the beautiful on the brave, we gain the courage and tap into the beautiful too and live a life of authenticity. What we focus on, is what we will draw to ourselves or what we will be drawn to. This is why it is so important to be aware of what we are focusing on! Have you ever tried hopping onto a carousel at a playground and spinning until nearly sick? That’s usually the effect that we all have if we spin too many times and yet ballerinas have complicated spins incorporated into their dance routines and they don’t miss a beat! It is because they focus on a single point as they spin and this helps them keep their balance. What a metaphor for life! When we find ourselves in a spin and it seems that everything is headed towards disaster and completely out of our control, we can choose to focus on the outcome we wanted in the first place and firmly look in that direction and slowly but surely we will come out of the spin. Again, realigning our focus on the big picture has a steadying influence on us.
We must feed our souls on the great and the grand, on the beautiful and majestic. We must create a bigger and more powerful vision than we ever have for ourselves. We need to take every opportunity to spend time in awe inspiring places or moments. So I have recently formed a theory, that even if we find ourselves at our office desk, in the middle of washing the dishes, at school maybe even underground, we can still look at the beautiful and grand in the words he speaks to us (the bible) and shoot up a prayer of gratitude and ask him to fill us with that sense of grandeur and a vision for the BIG plans he has for our lives!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.