Polaroids, Panoramic’s, & Film

Pictures are a funny thing. We edit them, hang them, put them as our backgrounds, gift them – you get the picture (pun intended).

They capture happy moments, sad moments, troubling moments, incredible moments, historical moments; but always just that – moments. They are a snap shot of one event in a long and continuous succession of events in life. A picture is not everything. They never capture a beginning nor an end. There is always more to a picture. There’s a before and an after. A picture is never the finale.

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I like to think of the moments in our lives as pictures. Every situation, every occurrence, is but a blip in a long and ongoing timeline.


Unfortunately, as with physical pictures, we get fixated on the moment. We give all of our attention to the snap shot. It’s the Instagram effect.

I used to tell myself whenever I was facing an issue that as humans we only get to see the polaroid of life- while God sees the panoramic. Clever or cheesy? Either way, it used to bring me great comfort to know that God sees the “bigger picture”, and that whatever I’m facing is not the “end”. Recently though, I came to the conclusion that God doesn’t see the panoramic, because a panoramic….is still a picture. To say that God sees the panoramic is to say that to some degree God is just as limited as we are. I thought it would perhaps be more appropriate to say that God is the one taking the picture… but that still didn’t feel right.

I figured the more appropriate illustration of God is of Him as the director. He knows how the film starts, and he knows how it’ll end. He knows the high moments, the low ones, and all the rest in between. We just get the snap shots.

Here’s the funny part – it has to be that way.

We’re not allowed to know the film in its entirety; because well…where’s the suspense in that? We wouldn’t need to exercise our faith, we wouldn’t need to rely on Him, and we definitely wouldn’t absorb the life lessons if we knew them in advance. We need the polaroids. We need to be limited in what we can see, not for us to get fixated on the snap shots, but to remind us that there’s always more. The film is still playing.

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If we look back at the “album” of our lives I’m sure we can all agree that any snapshot doesn’t tell a full story. That’s encouraging because it reminds us that even the worst snapshots don’t capture an end. At the very least there was a lesson learned, a moment of growth.

Question, if you could take a polaroid of your life right now what would it be of? Would it capture hurt, discontentment, stress, maybe disappointment? Perhaps you’re on the other end of the spectrum and you’d capture happiness, excitement, or fulfillment. Whatever it is, remember it’s just a snapshot. A blip. A moment. And as long as you have breath in your lungs – there are more moments to have.

At the end of the day, the world is still spinning. Life is still going, and the film is still playing. So embrace the limited view, embrace the uncertainty, and enjoy the film- not the polaroid.

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