I had quite a learning experience in the couple of hours just before writing this. Crazy (but sane) enough, it starts with an elliptical machine, a set of headphones and blank TV screen. It ends with a lesson that, in a potentially un-profound, yet profound way; it changed my outlook for the better.
My new definitions of "small" and "big"
The experience I'm about to share has strengthened my recent re-definition of what is small and what is big. That furthers my new vision of the world, where I can look at things like a large organization of people and it see it as small, or look at an individual child and see that child as big.
My new measuring stick is not about price tags, influence or physical size. It’s about a person's or a group's level of spiritual understanding, universal vision, Godly wisdom and the hardest kinds of self discipline anyone could gain. It’s about where the feet are planted and where the hands are reaching.
In other words; no matter how well funded, how much real estate they sit on, or how many resources are on their shelves; things that work against God’s system are small; small in understanding, small in true wisdom and lacking in eternal future. And then there’s the flip side; no matter how small in physical size or numbers something is; with enough spiritual strength, perseverance, love and respect for our Heavenly Father; anything and anyone can be big.
As I’ve said before; it’s the soul that fights, not the body. And when the soul is not fighting for what’s right; no matter how well backed with Earthly resources, the fight is relatively small and over before it ever begins. Bringing our bodies to the battle without putting God first is like bringing a super car to compete in a monster truck rally. The super car is expensive, incredibly well tuned and very powerful; but it can’t get traction in the mud, jump huge ramps and crush cars.
The moments when we learn can be the same way. We could buy ourselves a million tickets to just about any experience, but if we’re not open to how God is speaking to us, those things aren’t worth what they could be. So yes; a tiny gym, a few songs and a bit of exercise can amount to one, great big experience as long as God is guiding it and I am listening.
So back to the Elliptical and the headphones
In my article: "Cut to the Chase (Personal Peace in Spite of Turmoil)", I told how I love to get on an elliptical machine while listening to God centered music. It’s a very moving experience (pun sort of intended). That's what I did in the moments just prior to starting this article. Here’s exactly how I do it:
Say a short prayer, asking God to bring my body, mind, and all of my senses toward him. I ask Him to decide what I need to get out of this moment.
Start my playlist, Gathering the Holy Spirit,
Put on some nice headphones, not too loud,
Start moving on the elliptical and get to a nice, fairly easy pace. Close my eyes, and keep them closed,
Focus on keeping my movements in a rhythm with the music,
Keep going like this for around 20 minutes,
After just a small amount of time, I start getting drawn in. I begin to notice more and more of the music and what each voice and instrument are doing. The world outside melts away and my body, mind and the music become one symphony of movement. And by the time I’m done, the words about God that I’d just heard have been sunk deep into my existence.
When it all stops, I turn everything off and let the experience color everything I see. Everything feels different. Everything looks new. Creativity and Godly wisdom show up in every corner, layered over everything I see. I now have a refreshed ability to sense God in everything.
The moment before this article started
I’d finished the above process with the song “Awakening” by Amanda Lindsey Cook. The last line in that song:
“There’s color now in everything.”
As I'd finished my time on the elliptical, I opened my eyes. In front of me was a TV, turned off, seen below:
Not great photography, just a quick show of what I saw. This is the actual TV.
The screen was reflecting the bright lights in the tiny gym. It was altering the view; drawing a pattern of rainbow-like streaks from each light, outward. I just stared at it for a moment while thinking about the last part of the song I’d just heard, likely causing any potential passer-by to think about the crazy guy staring at a blank TV.
I felt so calm. Breath was slow and steady. Nothing negative from the outside world was affecting me. I could feel a sting connection to God and The Spirit. I felt like a painter who’d just been given a brand new, bright, clean, blank canvas.
As I walked away I felt renewed vision. I was seeing God in everything, seeing everything as a gift. Everything looked like something to be explored and used for spiritual growth. My creativity was bounding like a child at a sugar-infested birthday party. What are normally mundane, everyday objects started popping out of the background. Every line, every shape, every color that surrounded me had a purpose.
Just then I started longing for a slow walk in the night air. As my shoes met the ground outside I started praying in gratitude, requesting help and peace like this for everyone around me.
I kept hearing the line:
“There’s color now in everything.”
I was absorbing the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of everything I could sense. There were street lights reflecting on the nearby pond with a light breeze brushing over my face, arms and hands. I could see and feel the different looks on the faces of people nearby.
This moment followed my newer definition of big; and gratitude for it began to flow in and fill my heart. That night my prayer was stronger, I slept better and I felt much more calm. I was tingling with the Holy Spirit.
So what's the point?
This article has three purposes:
To encourage more frequent activities like prayer, meditating on the Gospel and making yourself look silly in a gym,
To help redefine our ideas of what is truly big and what is truly small,
To highlight and bring out the mundane, common elements of life that usually stay in our backgrounds.
The more time we spend locked into the world, the less we spend building our future outside these bodies. The more we misunderstand what defines size; like billboards, car brands and high-dollar projects; the less we notice the things that God intently puts in front of us every day.
A common object; a fruit bowl with just a bit of sunlight coming through. See/purchase image in writer's photography portfolio.
We can tune in to, and start to recognize, these potentially big moments. We can open up to the idea that every single step, every single detail in life is important. From the few seconds we take to bend down and tie our shoes to the moment when something obvious like a rainbow glares in our faces; every second, every minute, every day can be used to our benefit and the benefit of God and the rest of our family.
Examples of highlighting the mundane are found in my photography portfolio, "Abstract" gallery. I love to shoot using a macro lens (extreme closeup); making every day items look interesting.
Links mentioned above
Cut to the Chase (Personal Peace in Spite of Turmoil) (article) - For all of my own attempts to dodge and resend bullets in the battle, nothing ever worked as well as bringing God to the gunfight.
Gathering the Holy Spirit - The playlist It's taken us months to put this list together. And while some of it just barely passes, some of it is just plain "Wow!".
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