I have seen certain instances in my life change so dramatically that it leaves no doubt of the hand of God reaching in like a Master Potter, reshaping, refining, and remaking my vessel into something so profoundly different that it is like new. Reborn, lead onto an unexpected path, thoughts changed, hearts softened, fresh joy for the morning. It’s in these particular moments of my life that I know God can make all things new, and I realize He uses small changes to bring it to pass.
I have been a nurse for  years, an RN for . Although a rewarding job, it’s not an easy one. Not long after entering the field I was able to see the inherent difficulties. I would almost say they accosted me. It didn’t take long for my bitterness to grow, so unfair was the treatment nurses often received. I changed venues, fields of practice, and even jobs annually. I sought a workplace where I could be happy, but after about  years, maybe less, I realized they were all basically the same. Sure, some places of employment were harder than others, but overall they were the same. Hard was hard, no matter how you sliced it. The grass wasn’t really greener, not by much anyway. So I settled in a spot, staying put not just in the same job, but the same mindset. Nursing had problems. I hated that. It led to dissatisfaction in my work.
There’s a parable of sorts that I heard recently that resounded deeply within me regarding what I’m describing. It goes like this.
A man was on a walk when he came across a construction site. He asked the first gentleman, “what are you building?”
Obviously frustrated and perturbed, the worker sighed with fatigue and replied, “I’m building a wall.”
The man walked on. He came to a second worker and asked the same question. “What are you building?”
With a smile, the fella answered, “I’m building a church.”
He continued on and came to a third man. He asked again, “what are you building?”
With glee in his eyes and exuberantly the man answered, “I’m building a house of God. Many lives will be touched here.”
You see, each construction worker did the same task, but how they viewed that task made all the difference. For one it was simply a job. For another, it was a vocation (much like I had considered nursing). But for the third, it was a calling. In my own life, I didn’t start to enjoy my work again until the Lord showed me it was a calling. I realized that I could minister to the sick through my work. That didn’t magically make the hard parts or unfair aspects of nursing disappear, but it did change how I perceived it all. By focusing only on the negative, I became bitter with my work. But when I was able to see the privilege, the opportunity to serve my fellow man, to show God’s love during a difficult time in someone’s life, I was able to find fulfillment in my healthcare calling. How I viewed it changed everything.
The wonderful thing I’ve found is that change isn’t as bad or as difficult as we imagine. Change doesn’t always require big action, but rather just subtle shifts. I found as I read [S]cripture more and more I began to see life through the instruction it gave. Like the tiny correction a pilot would make or the slight navigational direction change by a captain of a sailing ship, so too did my outlook redirect over time. By looking at the positive aspects of my life, each day became more joy-filled. Again, the negative didn’t disappear, but it might as well have. The act of focusing less on the bad made it basically negligent. It held little concern to me when held against the good I encountered. I realized that even in bad circumstances the good given by God could prevail. I only needed to open my eyes to that.
I’ve heard that when people become lost in the woods they will frequently return to their original point. They are in essence walking in circles. They never get anywhere because they have no focal point. With nothing to gaze intently on and head towards our bodies have a natural tendency to veer off course towards our dominant side, hence the walking in circles. Survivalists will suggest focusing on a large tree in the distance and walking towards it. Much like a solid oak, keeping your eyes on Christ will lead you on a straight path. The wonderful news, though, is our strong Tower remains ahead of us, not requiring the necessity to pick a new tree to look at. Our guide only requires [a] continual focus on His face. In His never-changing truth, we are led home. We can let go of walking in circles. This is hope.
Hope that focuses on the truth of [S]cripture will allow us to see the blessings before us. We won’t look left or right at distractions such as the problems of this world. By focusing on the goodness of God, the truth that He works all things for our good, and the eternal purpose that we walk towards we can see more clearly. We can see the good, and not be blinded by the bad. We can focus on Heavenly things, not the nuisances of today that pass so quickly. We can walk straight, be joyful in the calling God has given us, and be that branch that produces much fruit!
Abiding in Him, the true vine, means seeing this world in His truth. The only way to bear fruit is to abide in His truth. Seeing in truth doesn’t dispel the negative things of this life, but it does help you to not overly focus on them and ruin your vision of each day He gives. Each day is an opportunity to love more, enjoy our life more, and draw closer to Jesus. Sadly, many of us waste a lifetime walking in bitter circles. We never focus on His truth, His goodness, and the blessing of where He places us. And in our discontent and negativity, we miss when He offers to change our course towards His blessing for us. We blindly veer off course towards our dominant, sin nature. We wither like a fruitless branch, without purpose. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Decide today to change your vision for tomorrow. See that your life is more than building a wall. You have the opportunity to build a Kingdom. You have the opportunity to change lives for the better, including your own, but extending far beyond that. Decide today to see the joy in your tasking, and realize we all hold a calling to love and build God’s church. It starts with reading the blueprint, then you’ll see the positive vision for the future in each stone you lay.