Are you overwhelmed? Anxious? Are there too many pending deadlines weighing on you?

I went on vacation this summer intending to work several hours each afternoon. We arrived at the beach Saturday afternoon. I planned to begin writing on Monday. For years, I’ve been reading and meditating on rhythms of work and rest. Sometimes I even practice what I’m learning. It took me a full day and a half, however, to recognize the humor of my plan. I put away my computer, silenced my phone and started listening and observing.

I watched sanderlings running in and out with the waves as they fed off small crustaceans while never once getting caught by the water. I dove into multiple hues of changing blues one day and into gray consistency the next. I gazed at the night sky at first delighting in the app that names the constellations then realizing all I really wanted was to just stare at real stars. God tells us in Jeremiah that he counts all the stars and gives each one a name. We had clear crisp evenings and the stars were shining in all their glory. To the chagrin of others, during the day I fed the seagulls precisely so I could hear their loud screeches and watch up close as nearly full-grown birds try to feed off their mothers. Pods of dolphins gave us a delightful show just yards away from where we were swimming.

Slowly the list of important tasks I had to accomplish took a different perspective. Gnawing worries began to loosen their grip. Jesus tells us in Luke 12 to consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Observing creation reminds me that God not only cares about me but cares about the details of my life. I slow down. I remember to whom I belong and whom I serve. It’s not that my greatest fears won’t come to pass. They might. But I regain perspective on those fears. Jesus says in verse 34, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”

I consider what I treasure. And that’s why I worry. When I’m directed back to valuing what God values, that weighty load is lifted. I remember that he gave up his son so that he could win the treasure of me. At first I even wrote us in that sentence because it sounded so full of self to be that specific. But it’s true. We are his treasure! The question is, do we really believe it? For when we do, the mountain of worries we carry begin to crumble like sand castles. And even the most painful of circumstances are lightened when we remember how much God values us (vs23) and knows what we need (vs31).

I returned to the city with a renewed commitment to stop and observe nature on a regular basis. To turn off my phone and go for a walk especially on my busiest days. It’s my quickest path to prayer, worship and discerning a holy perspective. I need to be reminded though for I’m like a sieve. The truth of the gospel leaks out of me so very quickly.

What about you? What gives you a holy perspective?

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.