One of the benefits of this stage in life is scrambling around inside “the big picture” more easily than when I was younger. Because I’ve lived this many decades, I’m fairly certain that a narrow view of life just doesn’t cut it. I know that I have a better chance of living well—even prospering—when I expand the framework of my thoughts and actions into a larger way of thinking.
“Inside the big picture” is how I name the sensation of being encased in something much more important than my circumstances. When I’m thinking big picture thoughts, I bind myself to ideals that have endured. I don’t fret endlessly about only my own welfare. I admit that I’m a small player on life’s stage. I rely on God’s providence, love and inspiration.
How does it feel to live inside a larger view of time and space? When I get anxious about life now, I revisit the long arc of my life, collect together those memories and distill them into useful maxims. I construct scenarios of possible futures—not just the dystopian ones. In prayer, I often imagine the physical sensation of soaring far above here-and-now. I recognize what’s happening below, understanding how my personal existence fits inside that wider view of life. I remember that I’m surrounded—by the “cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1. I pry my thoughts away from futile hand-wringing about present circumstances. I find wisdom in others’ lives.
Inside big-picture thinking—and the actions it makes possible—I find comfort and hope. I can push aside the feelings of smallness that eventually defeat my sense of vocation. And I can see all around me the multitude of opportunities God makes possible.
Inside a big picture, I can seek the greater good.