The 90/10 Rule

It’s all a matter of perspective, really.

First, you must know that we run a stiff, proper, and appropriately civilized household.

Wait, nope. That’s not us.

Not the real one anyway. That’s the one I play out in my head each morning as I vow to better my family– while jabbing the snooze button one time too many.

The real one doesn’t even call my children by their painfully, perfectly selected names. Most often, in an attempt to avoid yelling roll call, we just refer to the boys by their birth order. Easy. You need 1, 2, or 3. (Press 4 for English.)

Number 2 is an absolute riot, especially in the way he interprets the world around him, trying to make sense of things from his preschool perspective.


My man sporting said tie during one of his games.

Case in point: Last year following a basketball game my husband had just coached, #2 sprints up to Brad who is still standing in front of his home bench. And the little one says in an over-the-top sweet voice that lets you know he’s overtly giving a compliment: “Daddy, I really like your scarf tonight.”

Coach (with an automatic roll of the eyes as he looks over at me with a glare. As if I’ve turned our totally boy-ish boy into a fashionista): “Son, men don’t wear scarves. They wear ties.”

However, true to his fashion, #2 has already lost interest in the conversation. So, with a sigh, and a turn of his head to let his dad know he’s been dismissed, Braden persistently throws out: “Okay, Dad, but you wear a scarf,” and he runs back to his abandoned hot wheel.

It’s really all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? To-MAY-to. To-MAH-to.

Tie. Scarf.

They both tie around your neck, purely for decorative purposes. We do live in Texas after all. The kid kind of has a point.

In the last few years, I think I’ve learned more about God’s grace and consistency than I had in all my previous years combined. Granted, some of them were painful lessons, no matter how necessary they were. Any way you turn it, some of those lessons were revealed in a time that I will never forget as being a very low, dark, and sorrowful time in my life. Naturally, it was then that I was the most ripe to hear a fresh word from the Almighty. Because isn’t it true that we rely most on God when we have nothing else to hold us up?

But like #2 demonstrated, I’ve learned that I really do have an incredibly limited perspective of life oftentimes. I think we tend to only focus on the present and what’s directly in front of us. When we behave in certain ways as a reaction to what is going on around us at that particular moment, we are acting situationally. They say life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

You know what I love about scripture? It’s that when I become aware of my shortcomings, I can always find someone in the Bible who’s already been there, done that. The precedent has already been set. Thank goodness for me the only personal blunders in print are the ones I’ve chosen to post myself! Ever read parts of the Bible and thought, “Oh man! How embarrassing for them!”

Think about Jesus’ good friends Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus. Jesus learns that his buddy Lazarus is seriously ill, and his reaction to his friend’s imminent death is one that has been studied by scholars and theologians ever since. Instead of rushing to Lazarus’ side in Bethany to heal him with divine authority, Jesus hangs out where he is for two more days before beginning the journey.

(This story is found in John 11, and on a side note this is one of my favorite chapters of all scripture. It’s basically oozing with divine sarcasm. It’s hilarious!)

Naturally, when he finally arrives, Jesus is greeted by the two frustrated sisters who expected him to come quickly and save their brother before he kicked the can. “Lord,” Martha says. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). To which Jesus firmly reminds her (I like to picture him rolling his eyes): “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11: 40).

And though Lazarus had been dead in the tomb for four days, Jesus called to him to come out. And out walks a living, breathing Lazarus, still wrapped in his grave cloths.

When Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, they were stuck focusing on the situation directly in front of them. Their brother was dying! They could easily justify the urgency to reach Jesus. Nonetheless, they made the mistake of acting situationally. They didn’t yet understand the big picture the Lord was trying to teach them, that in Christ death does not ultimately consume us. As Rick Warren wrote, “Jesus waited until the situation was humanly impossible and then He brought the miracle.”

How dare we forget that God sees the Big Picture! He is the God who Is, and Was, and Is To Come. Time isn’t really a thing with God; my dear mother-in-law has reminded me on occasion that He doesn’t follow a linear timeline. He’s in the past, holding up our present, and controlling the future all at once. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

Thank goodness God isn’t situational! He is constant and consistent. He never just sees us where we are. He sees how He made us and where we’re headed. We don’t have to be caught up in our present, creating unnecessary stress for ourselves. No matter how busy or jumbled or messed up we feel like we’ve made things, our God still sees the Big Picture for us.


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