Stop where you are for a moment, look up from your smartphone or computer, and look around you.
OK. Now, back to this screen.
What did you see?
Did you notice something you hadn’t before? A scene with hidden beauty, a friend or family member, or maybe just a snapshot of your ordinary day?
No matter where we are or what we do, we all need to have more of those moments. We all need to spend a little more time intentionally off-screen, offline — because that is the place where the best parts of our lives happen.
This is why Matt Knisely wrote his new book, “Framing Faith: From Camera to Pen, An Award-Winning Photojournalist Captures God in a Hurried World.”
[By the way, you can get a free copy of “Framing Faith” — just check out the details at the end of this post!]
As an award-winning photojournalist, storyteller, and creative director with an honest, passionate faith, Knisely explores what a life following Jesus looks like from moment to moment. He brings his professional artistic perspective to bear on faith by looking at it through the functions of photography: focusing on what matters most, capturing moments of the greatest importance, and developing a growing faith in Jesus that enables us to live a life of meaning.
“In a world moving too fast, this is a book for people seeking to focus their lives, to find a deeper knowledge of God and a more authentic Christian faith. In this modern age, many of us fill every spare moment we have rather than taking an intermission to see the true works of God and realize that he is present in every moment.”
From the first paragraph of the book, when Matt wrote he’s a hoarder of moments, I identified with him. I compulsively write in a journal every day, morning and night. I keep organized folders of my music and photos, layers upon layers of digital bits that make up my life.
Sometimes, I get lost in photos I’ve taken because they take me back to that specific time and place. And sometimes I don’t want to return to my present. But to really live a full, good life, we’ve got to let the past be what it is so we can live here, now.
“I want to remember to let myself be intoxicated in the present – the here and the now – so I can see the beauty right in front of me.”
Detaching From Distractions
“We are busying ourselves to death.”
Knisely explains that now, more than ever, we’re more likely to get distracted than dig deeper into things that matter. Even good things can pull our focus away from the best things.
“Technology has created a culture of distraction, keeping us stimulated by things that don’t really matter… When we start to fill our minds and hearts with voices that don’t really matter, over time we’ll drown out the voice of the only One who does.”
We often realize we’re disconnected from God when we need Him most. When we’re in trouble, need help, and we’ve tried everything to fix things on our own — those are the times we know something isn’t right and needs to be changed.
Refocusing Our Attention
“God wants our attention in the midst of this hurried and busy world. He wants us to frame our lives around him and the moments he has created for us.”
Maybe if we slowed down a bit here and there, we’d notice details and hear the wisdom being shared with us. When we stop becoming so obsessed with doing that we’re simply being, we’re better able to hear what God is saying. Listening to Jesus and doing what He says are what we really need to refocus our lives on what’s most important.
“Like a photographer or storyteller, Jesus exhibited time and again how easy it is to capture moments of profound importance simply by noticing, stopping, and responding to his surroundings.”
Telling (and Living) Great Stories
“There is something about a person’s raw, honest story that connects with us on a deeper level and gets us out of our head and into our heart.”
The personal stories each of us live, the people we’re becoming and the events of our lives, make more sense when they’re connected to other stories. Being open to share parts of our lives with other people enriches all our stories, because we’re all connected in the big story of God. We find our purpose in the position of relationships.
“Sharing our stories is really sharing our faith in what God is doing in our lives.”
We actually learn to live better when we get out of the spotlight and let others come into focus. By helping others, putting their needs ahead of our own, and going out of our way to give someone else a great moment, we tell a better story about our lives because we’re living out the script God’s written for us.
Dealing With Darkness
If you’ve lived for very long, you know life isn’t all bright, happy, and easy. Faith helps us see something better on the horizon, but we’ve still got to face the ominous struggles blocking out the light in our current situations.
Yes, there are dark, ugly moments we go through. Months or years of pain, frustration, and fear threaten our hope. It’s hardest to believe that God is good when there’s more darkness than light. But it’s in those times when we most need to trust He’s not done with our story. The best story our lives will ever be is not a perfect story, but a true one.
“If we share only the parts of our story that shine and are bright, our story has far less of an impact. Perfection is much more difficult to relate to. The best stories are those of ordinary people who have found truth in their imperfection.”
God cares more about our transformation than our comfort. And it’s through facing the darkness, not running from it, that we make the most progress in our story.
“Darkness is not something to fear, but rather to master.”
I hope you get to read “Framing Faith” so you can begin a shift in your perspective. I hope it helps you see God more clearly and live your life more meaningfully, because our lives are changed when we frame our faith around Him.
Want a free copy of “Framing Faith”?
Matt’s graciously given me 3 copies to give away to readers of this blog, and here’s how we’ll decide who gets one: the first 3 emails I receive from different people who complete each of these things wins a copy of Matt Knisely’s book!
- Follow Matt Knisely on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (or all 3!).
- Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (or all 3!).
- Take screenshots of your social media accounts “Liked” or “following” Matt’s and my accounts.
- Share why you need to read “Framing Faith.”
- Email screenshots and your answer to #4 to me at john [at] johnweirick.com!
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