The picture of the rose in this blog post was taken by using my iPhone’s portrait feature. The portrait mode creates a depth-of-field effect that provides the ability to shoot a photo that keeps the subject sharp with a blurred background. After snapping the picture, I selected a lighting effect that would highlight my rose even more. Once I saved the settings, the rose became the center of attention, giving off a fluorescent glow. The pedals look like the delicate wings of many butterflies, pressed against each other for warmth.
As I created this picture, I noticed that choosing the darkest background made the rose shine the most because it created contrast. I have found this true in my own life. If I am to become a rose, then the world is the background. The world has been very dark these days, and people are saying a lot of mean and terrible things on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and news outlets. It has gotten so bad that the only news I watch is BBC because it is non-biased, global, and not sensational.
2020 is ending with a great surge of concern and difficulties. First-time situations are presenting themselves in our American politics and worldwide health. COVID is not only going away it is spreading like wildfire, and in Southwest Oregon, where I live, restrictions have our lives mostly confined within the walls of our homes again. This can create much irritation of the spirit. When I’m in the grocery store, I try to connect with people by smiling at them; however, I don’t think they notice my eyes are telling them I’m smiling. I do try to say a word of encouragement to the cashier behind the glass shield. Our masks and the glass do not necessarily have to keep us in silence.
Just as I adjusted the lighting effects on my rose photo to make the rose stand out and shine, God will adjust our lighting effects and make us shine when we look to his Word and do this life his way.
Philippians 2:14-16 tells me how we can become the fluorescent and brilliant rose in a dark and turbulent world. The Bible says by committing ourselves to avoid all complaining and arguing, we will shine because it is contrasting behavior to the world around us.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing. 15 Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God’s children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world. 16 You offer the teaching that gives life. NCV
Now I can see how obeying this passage would make my life stand out like a fluorescent rose. It says never to complain or argue. Wow!! Ok. I smile at others in the grocery store, but have I been doing everything without complaining or arguing? The answer is no. But if the Bible says I can do this, then I shall try.
Complain: whine, grumble, criticize, and moan.
Argue: disagree, contend, or fight
Here are some ways I can put this passage into practice.
Every time I am tempted to criticize or complain, I will:
- Offer a solution instead
- Say a prayer about it
- Keep a gratitude journal
Every time I am tempted to argue, I will:
- Ask questions to understand
- Keep my mouth shut, and think before I speak
- Stop focusing on the symptoms and the behavior and consider the deeper issue.
Ok. Today is a new day. Let us be the delicate rose – shining bright in a dark and turbulent world, offering beauty and light to others.