This whole week I have been painting. I love to create something out of nothing. There is nothing better than looking at a finished piece of work and knowing that I made that. It is a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Now when I decide to paint a picture, I set my canvas up on my easel, and I like to draw a basic outline on it. I draw it on lightly. Then I get my paints and I pick a section that I want to focus on first. I will paint and paint and paint. When I am working on the section, I tend to occasionally take a step back to look at it. When I take a step back I squint my eyes. If you squint your eyes everything else but that one section will become blurry. The only thing I am focusing on is what I have been painting. Sometimes it is only a small fraction of the entire picture.
I want to relate this to our lives. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing in the moment that we don't see the whole picture. We only see what is happening here and now. We squint and the drawn in outline seems to disappear. We cannot see them any longer. We have chosen to focus on the present and nothing else. We don't see the big picture. It has become blurry and out of focus. We need to have the faith that Heavenly Father has a bigger picture mapped out for us. What we are doing at the moment is just a small part of it. If we keep an eternal perspective then we are able to see what else is planned. We are able to see what Heavenly Father has in store for us. You would never take an unfinished painting and hang it on the wall and call it good. You want to finish it. You want to make sure that it looks perfect. The same is with us. God has so much planned for us. Most of the time we don't see it because we aren't opening our eyes and looking for it. We make mistakes, but through the atonement we are able to blot out those spots and make the picture beautiful again. At the end of our life we will look back and see the whole picture. If we are living in accordance with Heavenly Father's commandments then it is going to be beautiful. We are going to like what we see. We just need to keep an eternal perspective and use the atonement in our lives daily. That will help us to see more clearly.
When I was about 14 in Miamaids, we had a lesson about our future spouses. We were given a piece of paper and asked to write down all the qualities we wanted in our dream man. Well naturally my list started at... handsome, tall, athletic, muscly... and so on. Well as I got down about a third of the page I started to think a little deeper. I started listing things like a strong testimony, holds the priesthood, loves the Lord, smart, has high standards, etc. Well when we were done with our lists we were asked to share some of the things we had written. My mom, who was our teacher at the time, said... Girls those are all really nice things, now I want to ask you, what are you going to do to attract that kind of man? It made me think. She told us that a man who held the priesthood and loves the Lord isn't going to settle for a girl that isn't worthy to enter the temple. He isn't going to want a girl that doesn't hold strong to her standards. He is going to want someone who has worked as hard as he has. He is going to want someone who loves the Lord as much as he does. I thought that was very insightful. It reminds me of the scripture
D & C 88:40- "For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things."
For me it is nice to know that God has a bigger plan for me then I have for myself. I don't need to know all the details, I just need to live in a way that allows me to have the spirit with me. If I put all my faith in Heavenly Father then I know everything is going to work out. I just need to constantly be striving to be a little stronger, live a little better, and do a little more then I have been. Everything happens for a reason, I just need to focus on the bigger picture!