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A Good View

Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1–2

I grew up in the plains of western Kansas. Western Kansas, where the crisp blue lakes can be viewed from stunning limestone bluffs and you can watch the sun settle down for a nap at the end of the earth from a white gravel road. I have heard many say it is boring and flat with nothing to see. I say they are not looking hard enough.

They are missing the moments when the sunlight glimmers across a wheat field ready for harvest as it gently waves. They are missing the freedom that accompanies a view that takes their vision as far as the curve of the horizon. They are missing the surprise of a sky full of lightning so wide it cannot be captured in one glance, as billowing clouds bring a cleansing wind across the expanse. And the snow. They are missing the magnificence of miles of crisp white snow, untouched by man or machine, blanketing everything in the equality of nature.

Obviously, I am a fan.

If you read or listened carefully, you likely caught that most of my adoration had to do with the view. You would be right. It is the ability to see so much and so far ahead that captures my spirit and takes my breath away. I am in love with Kansas because in Kansas you can see everything ahead of you.

Well, most of the time.

Remember that beautiful snow? I squealed with delight when those plump snowflakes started falling and covering all the eye could see. The excitement was not because school was canceled or work was closed since snow did not tend to shut down much there. Unless . . .

Wind.

When those glorious snowflakes met the uninhibited wind, things changed quickly. Interstates closed, events were canceled, and people huddled inside waiting for a way to see where they needed to go. Suddenly, this beauty was dangerous. It piled high in corners, blocking entrance and exit. What was meant to be outside now tried to drift inside warm spaces it was not meant for. It blew furiously across roadways until the only thing you could see was the hood of your car, making moving forward almost impossible. It became disorienting, making it easy for me to lose track of where I was, as the flakes melded together in every direction, leaving nothing discernible to guide me home.

What was such a thing of beauty started moving faster and faster in the blowing wind until that view that I loved so much had disappeared among a wall of swirling white. This amazing gift now blocked my view completely, leaving me frozen where I was, unable to move forward. What had been such a good thing was now hindering my ability to see.

Has this ever happened to you? Has your view ever been obstructed by something good?

I have worked in the social work and nonprofit realm now for almost twenty-four years. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have been caught in a whiteout. I love what I do. I love helping others and putting good out into the world. I cherish the moments when I can look out and see a blanket of good covering everything. It is a stunning thing to see.

Until the wind blows.

It is so easy when things start going fast, when good things start happening left and right, to lose my view of why I am here doing good things in the first place. People often forget that it does not have to be a bad thing that can throw you off track. Good things can too. I can get lost in light as easily as I can in the dark.

I can spend so much time serving others that I leave my family out in the cold. I can leave the door of my boundaries open until the cold drifts in and leaves me frozen, taking steps forward blindly in the name of good things, while the warmth in me fades away. I can become disoriented, not even realizing that while I was staring at this beautiful thing, I lost the view of what mattered in a blizzard of good. No longer able to see individual snowflakes, no longer able to see so far forward, it becomes clear that I forgot to fix my eyes on what could guide me.

If you are like me, out there trying to do good things, you have to be blizzard-proof. We all have to keep our focus on what points us toward the why—especially when wonderful things go fast. It may be the most beautiful snowfall, but that fast-moving wind can change everything quickly. The view is stunning, but it can disappear at any moment, and when it does, we will need His grace to lead us home.

Lord, I know that my life is full of so many good things. Things I am thankful for and blessed by. Clear my vision so I do not forget that those same good things are a gift from you. When the good things in my life start to change my course away from you and block my sight of my why, steer me home.

VP GRAVATAR TWO 500

Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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