Out of place

DifferenceYesterday, while enjoying a pleasant breakfast with a dear friend, he described me as “analytical”.  This is an apt assessment.  I am very analytical.  I look at every problem or challenge from multiple sides – going over the possible outcomes – weighing and comparing the various options and influences – ad nauseam.

As a child, I enjoyed comparison puzzles, as depicted above.  Two pictures are displayed side-by-side.  The challenge is to identify the difference between the two images.  I could not rest until all the anomalies were listed.

I am quick to notice that which is out of place.

This is typical of my behavior.  I can readily notice the things that are out of place.  The outliers, the misshapen, the misplaced.  This trait is consistent with my ISTJ personality type – I am strong in the “J” – judgmental.

When I stroll through my yard, I easily spot the weeds that are poking up among the desired plants.  Do I take the time to admire the roses that are blooming adjacent?  I readily notice the negative without noticing the positive.  I believe that this is common with many of us.

What if we were to truly turn this around?  Can we focus our attention on those things that are “in place” rather than “out of place”? 

I believe that living a simple, mindful life can bring each of us closer to this positive mindset.

When we are mindful of the decisions we make and the words we speak, we become more sensitive to the positive things that happen around us.

We notice the beauty of a freshly bloomed flower.

We notice the sincerity of a neighbor’s concern over our situation.

We notice the joy in a child’s smile when they learn to ride a bicycle.

A mindful life is sensitive to the world around that life. 

Someone who is mindful takes time to see the beauty of small things, and put them together to see the mosaic of beauty in the whole.  When our lives are simplified and free from clutter and junk, we have more clarity and fewer distractions to see that which truly matters in our lives and in our world.

Even if one is faced with bad news or a negative event (which is part of living in our fallen world), by living a mindful, simple life, we have space, perspective and clarity to take these negative causes in stride.  Minor set-backs are just the glitches in the big scheme of life.  Yes, they may be traumatic at time, none of us are immune.  However, with the proper perspective, the bad can sometimes be the initiation of new and bigger opportunities.

Rather than focusing on the things that are out of place, I am resolved to focus on the positive – the things that are IN PLACE – the right, the good, the enduring.  The Apostle Paul encouraged his readers with the following:

Finally brothers, 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 THESE THINGS! — Philippians 4:8

How about you?  What can you do to notice the positive in life and think about it?


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About John Forrest