Putting it All in Place and Perspective

Putting it All in Place and PerspectiveLast Sunday we decided to stay home and have home church.  I felt a strong leading to do a family assessment, individually and as a whole, and with that came a couple of pieces of insight that I believe will help others, too.

We all have a nature that, when put in a passive mode, slips back into places that are like quick sand or even thick, muddy clay. Sometimes, we wake up and realize we are stuck or even worse, sinking!  So whether it is a new year or a new day, we need to take stock of where we are and make some steps in an active and intentional way.

First of all, we need to think about where we are, where we have been and where we are going.

Knowing that our times are in God’s hands, we may lazily think que sera sera and let things happen as they may.  But I believe that is not what God wants.  He has given us a life to steward and steward it well.

There are opportunities and life events that only God knows are coming our way, and He holds us accountable to trust Him in each and every one.  However, I believe we are a foolish lot, if we do not take time periodically to look at our lives with purpose and intent. (On the other side of this coin, we could look so introspectively and often that we actually miss life going on around us. Then we miss the point, I think.)

Second, we need perspective. Psalm 90 gives some insight here.

Moses writes, “You make mankind return to the dust, and say, ‘Return, O people!’ Yes, in your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday that quickly passes, or like one of the divisions of the nighttime. You bring their lives to an end and they ‘fall asleep.’ In the morning they are like the grass that sprouts up; in the morning it glistens and sprouts up; at evening time it withers and dries up.” (v. 3-6 NET)

Our time is short–so very short! So let’s make it count.

I like to think about it all in this way–ask yourself, “In ten years, will I be happy and satisfied that I chose to spend time, attention or money in this way?” Oh, now THAT is perspective.  And with that kind of perspective, we can put it all into its proper place.

Third, we need to know where to rank the importance of everything into which we are investing, giving it all its proper place.  Psalm 90 again gives us the words to the mission.

Moses adds, “May your servants see your work! May their sons see your majesty! May our sovereign God extend his favor to us! Make our endeavors successful! Yes, make them successful!” (v. 16-17 NET)

The NIV says it this way: “May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”

As we release the desire to control our every moment into the hands of our faithful God, He gives us favor and shows us His ways, as He Himself establishes the work of our hands.  He puts it all into place.

For instance, we made the decision back in August to let our oldest son lay out of boy scouts for awhile.  He was getting tired of it, and we determined to let him make this call.  It is a hard balance sometimes as a parent to make them do something or let them make the decision–sometimes we need to let them make the decision, even if it is a bad one.  It allows them to fail in a safe environment, I think. So what did our son do during the past five months?  He did really well in his studies, grew in his spiritual life and in friendships and he played a lot of XBox. Yep. XBox.

So I asked him a question, knowing the answer, “Noah what are your goals before you finish high school?”  He replied that he’d like to make eagle scout, would like to have a 4.0 average in school for at least one semester and he’d like to try out for Lacrosse this spring (meaning he needs to work out at the gym more and practice the game). So I continued, “How have you spent your time lately and did it contribute to your goals?”  He answered, well I played too much XBox and wasted a lot of time.

At that point, I stopped him and apologized for allowing it to go this far.  I knew that he was wasting time, but I didn’t stop him.  I asked for his forgiveness.  As parents, we cannot be passive, but we need to keep our hands on the pulse of our children.  And I’m afraid we were passive in this.  At the same time, it was a valuable lesson for us all. So I do not regret it.  We all failed in a safe environment.  

For in ten years, Noah won’t be glad for the ranking he made in an online game.  It won’t matter at all!  However, it is okay to have some fun and time wasting hobbies, too.  But it needs to be put in its proper place.  We have now set up some good boundaries for the XBox, actually moving it to our room.  And for the next two months, he can play once a week for an hour.  We are encouraging him to set up reachable marks for each goal, and we will show him how to grow in the process.

All of that is to show us how to look at it.  If our goal for the next six months is to raise support for a mission trip to India, we need to write out some steps we’d need to take in reaching that goal–shots, support, time off from work and even acquiring things we’d need for the trip.  That may mean calling the doctor, writing some letters, talking with our boss and saving for the supplies.  Once we break it down into do-able steps, we can reach the goal!

Also, if we are completely unhappy in our current work, then perhaps it is time to ask some hard questions…what do we love to do?  How can we go about changing course and making that our new occupation? What steps do we need to take to find a job–perhaps willingness to move or go back to college?

It is funny how we can fall into cultural habits and forget, it is the LORD who orders our times and establishes the work of our hands.  I believe sometimes we are building sand castles that will fall, and spending ourselves on those things–only to discover that there are lasting things we can build today.  We need only put it all into place and perspective.

Here is the homework I gave our family. Perhaps it will help you, too!

1) Write a family mission statement.  It helps you to look at it and see if what you are spending your time, talents and resources on is in its proper place.  If it is not, then say no.

2) Write a list of personal goals for the new year. We wrote in these categories: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Life and Family. These goals are important to keep out all year long, so you can measure the progress and watch for opportunities to step out in faith and reach those goals.

3) Finally, write out a list of wishes and dreams. If money and time were no object, I would like to… and let yourself really be honest. You may be surprised at what you come up with!  It may truly change the course of your life.  So dream.

Ultimately, many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purposes that prevail.  So we ask Him to lead, and we follow.  It is that simple.

With Such Love,


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About Holly

Holly loves her job as wife to Chris and mom to Noah, Kylie, Tabor and Sydney. God has gifted Holly with a love of all things creative ~ from painting and wall papering to scrapbooking and design work. In addition to co-founding and managing A Martha Heart, she designs web pages (www.crownlaiddowndesigns.com) and marketing pieces. She also authored a devotional blog, now closed, called Crown Laid Down. Holly and her family make their home within site of year 'round snow-capped mountains in Colorado. She can be reached by emailing Holly (AT) a martha heart (DOT) com or connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyGorinSmith


  1. Granma Fergie says:

    Holly, link to this blog had been lost on my computer and much time has gone by, but now that I have found it again, surely I will enjoy the inspirations you and your other contributors share with all of us. Looking forward to reconnecting here.
    <3 Granma Fergie

  2. Cynthia says:

    You inspire me!


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