The Bigger Picture

I am a creative being. 

I was going to say I was crafty, but that has a different ring to it!  I like to create things like cards and quilts and cross-stitches and scrapbooks and candles and jumpers and scarves and jewellery.  I try to have only one project on the go in any one field at a time and at the moment my cross stitch project is spelling out the word PARIS with images from that city.

Now, don’t get too excited … I don’t create the pattern or anything, I am not that clever.  I purchased this project as a kit and I have been working on it on and off for around eight months now.  I have completed three letters, and so I am glad to say I am past the halfway mark.

The images I create with little x’s of coloured thread are lovely, but sometimes quite frustrating, especially if the design has lots of detail.  At the moment I am finding that I am doing a couple of stitches in one colour and then needing to change thread to do a couple more stitches in an ever-so-slightly different coloured thread.  All of that changing of threads is time consuming and tiresome as I work out exactly where they need to go so at the end of a night’s stitching it feels like I haven’t made much progress.

What I also find frustrating is that as I’m working on the detail up close and personal I can’t always see what the picture is that is forming before me.  All I see is individual crosses in slightly different shades of similar colours.  It can be enough to deter me to continue, and to be honest, that can be why it has taken me so long to get this far.

When I find this happening, though, one of the more helpful things for me to do is to take a step back from my work and view it from a different perspective.  As I take in the broader view I begin to see the images take shape.  I am less bogged down in the individual squares and can see the importance of those subtle shade changes.  This action alone can be enough to spur me on to continue working on the project at hand.

It’s not hard to see how this realisation has a parallel in life also.  Sometimes we can get so bogged down in the minute detail of what lies before us that we can miss the beauty of the whole picture.  We can lose sight of the overall magnificence of the image that is being brought together because the demands of life we feel we need to focus intently on all the nitty gritty.

Sometimes that stuff can be boring and repetitive and not terribly awe-inspiring, and so it is good from time to time to take a step back and see how amazing the world around us is.  The effort we put in makes a big difference and is worth admiring on a different level.

This thought connects me to my favourite verse in the Psalms. Chapter 3 verse 3 tells me that God is “the one who lifts my head high.” It’s kind of the same as taking a step back to see the bigger picture as it speaks of changing my perspective. Taking in all I have accomplished rather than this small part I am focussing on is a great way to take a breath and appreciate the effort of hours, days, weeks, months, years gone by. It all comes together to make something amazing.

If it is true in my life, I know it is true in yours. What does your ‘bigger picture’ look like?

Be blessed.

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