The Sunflower Festival in Springfield, Tennessee, was a magical experience for me. Maybe it was the fragrant scent of rain in the air from the approaching storm. Or it could have been the sight of acres and acres of sunflowers gently swaying in the breeze. But, as I climbed into the chariot disguised as a hayride, my heart filled with anticipation. My perspective shifted from the mundane to the extraordinary.
As I strolled amongst the magnificent giants, I was reminded of a fun fact about
sunflowers. Did you know the beautiful faces of sunflowers always follow the sun? As the sun travels across the sky, sunflowers constantly turn their faces toward it. Sunflower's perspective is always correct. They were not worried that day about the visitors walking in their midst carrying scissors and jars that would try to catch a bit of their beauty to take home with them. They just followed the sun.
We can learn a lesson from the sunflowers about perspective. Perspective is gauged by where our focus lies. Are we consumed with thoughts of what we lack or believe is missing from our lives? All the while ignoring what we do have.
In Andy Andrew's book The Noticer, he writes:
"Remember, whatever you focus upon, increases. . . . When you focus on the things you need, you'll find those needs increasing. If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don't have, you will soon be concentrating on other things that you had forgotten you don't have--and feel worse! If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose. But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person's life."
A grateful perspective doesn't deny painful circumstances that threaten to devastate your life or family. Sometimes, it is beneficial to face and walk into pain, not knowing the outcome, and grapple with what you've lost. That is an essential part of the journey that will ultimately bring healing.
Then, as you emerge from that time, you can lift your eyes to the sun with a grateful perspective. Grateful for how God carried you in the depth of your pain, thankful for the time you had or what you have now. Or even what you learned on your journey.
As I stood in the middle of the seemingly endless field of sunflowers, I couldn't help but think of our daughter Nicole who now lives in Heaven. I wondered if Heaven had fields of sunflowers and if she was standing in the middle of one. And though my heart is still tender at the thought of her, I was grateful.
I want to have a Sunflower Perspective - a Grateful Perspective. The perspective that acknowledges the storms, the drought, and the pain of life but continually seeks out the sun. Keeping my eyes focused on the good.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.