The Crop…nope, not a farming post. Nor is this a post about the popular cut off shirts girls wear these days. You know the top I’m referring to – the cropped tee that offers questionable coverage and causes every onlooker to cross their fingers and hope a strong wind doesn’t blow through. Not that crop.
In olden times, long, long ago, every homemade collage, scrapbook, photo album, locker door, and bedroom mirror was adorned with a smattering of oddly-shaped, 1 inch squares of faces and skinny strips of people. These were crops – ‘otherwise great pictures’ made even better by the cropping tool of ancient times: scissors.
There were cosmetic reasons for cropping (eliminating bothersome objects and ‘visual noise’), there were practical reasons (locker doors have only so much space, you know), and there were frustrating reasons (random tourists walking through your shots at Niagra Falls – because that’s what tourists do.) But the number one reason for dicing up 4×6 glossies was removing people you knew. Or more specifically, a person you knew. Who was this person? The Ex.
We chopped the pesky Ex right out of our pictures, (and we ripped their number from our phone books, erased their answering machine messages, and pawned their gifts at the skanky shop downtown). Yes, back in the day it was a rite of passage to sit with stacks of once-favorite photos for a session of slicing and dicing. Cropping was a very labor-intensive process before the digital age, but it was the only effective way to salvage those otherwise great pictures.
But cropping wasn’t so effective for eliminating memories, or pain, because cropping always left half a picture – small, incomplete, and unable to fill a frame. The absent, unseen half no longer stared you in the face, but invisible as it was, it still commanded a lot of attention. It seemed to silently whisper, “I am incomplete. You are incomplete.” Focus on incomplete images and you’re going to feel pretty empty.
If the images in your mental gallery provoke you to feel empty, then it’s time for new pictures.
We were designed to need Jesus and without Him, the empty spaces in our lives are impossible to fill. The painful holes are impossible to ignore. When we choose to trust Jesus with everything we are and everything we have (and everything we aren’t and everything we haven’t), He comes into our invisible spaces. He transforms our minds, our hearts, and our lives by opening them to His goodness. He is love, joy, peace. He is patient, kind, trustworthy, and gentle. Turning our eyes toward His goodness fills us with gratitude. Even when our life picture doesn’t seem complete, we can be grateful for a completely perfect Savior who fills our emptiness with good things. Focusing on His goodness changes things.
So ditch those crops, already! Don’t focus on what’s missing in your life. Turn your eyes to the complete, larger than life images that only Jesus can display. Allow Him to change your focus and suddenly, you won’t just discover joy, peace, and gratitude – you’ll be filled with them.