Outside of the Box

A few days ago a young man visited with me in my gallery.  He declared that he was an atheist and that God could not exist because of all the ugliness in the world.  He had experienced a hard life and was filled with anger.  “Why should I believe in God?’ he exclaimed.  

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He had mentioned that he was a movie enthusiast, so I thought to remind him of the movie Gladiator. (One of my favorites)  Remember the beginning scene, just as he is about to go to war, Maximus smiles as he sees the bird singing on a branch near him.  He managed to find beauty in the midst of ugliness.  He then rubs his hands in the dirt and smells it to remind him of his home and family as he is about to go to battle.  In a world of chaos it is important to find the beauty and remember what is truly important. 

In my life I have chosen to view the world around me as if I’m outside of the box looking in.  This means that I don’t allow “the world” to decide who I will become.  I have chosen to create a world which is centered in God, family, country and all the things that are beautiful.  Although I recognize that there is chaos and ugliness in the world, I choose to FOCUS on the beauty which is around me.  And having room for God in your life opens the door to all things beautiful!

Remembering to stay “outside the box” is helpful in many ways.  If I receive praise or if I receive ridicule it is unimportant unless there is something to learn from it.  I don’t worry about what people think of me.  Only what the Lord thinks of me is important.  If I can make a difference, I will do it.  

Perhaps this perspective has helped to develop my sensitivity as an artist, but it also has helped me to draw closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I believe that God loves all of us and that there is a purpose that guides the affairs of men.  I believe that when we put our faith and trust in God, it elevates our spirits and we find ourselves capable to go beyond our physical efforts.  You might say we lay the foundation for miracles!   But God never forces us; it is a matter of choice. 

Although life is hard and sometimes cruel, if you view your experiences from “outside the box” looking in, I believe you will be able to see the divine purpose in your life.  You will find the world is more beautiful than you can imagine.


  1. I think that this sums up the perspective the Gospel gives you on temporal life. We know that this life is short and fleeting compared to what stretches in front of us in the form of eternity. We realize that there are obligations in this life but if we are meeting them then everything else is simply experience and educational opportunity.

  2. Very well said, you have given me yet another way to view my life. Thank you

  3. Very well said! I love this response. If only more people viewed the world in the manner in which you have described here. It is a reminder to me that life is just what we make it. Our proverbial glass is either half full or it is half empty. Either we believe that we can do some good in the world to make a difference and do so, or we believe that all is vanity and don't even try because we feel what's the difference. I, like you, choose to accent the positives in life. Thank you for this wonderful insight.

  4. Thank you Jon, I think you responded very well. Those are key things to remember...look at the beauty in the simple things and not worry about what others think of you. And making a difference if you can. Good counsel.
    I like the "outside the box" perspective. It is all about Heavenly Father's Plan and he is very mindful about each of us.
    This young man must be searching or he would not have even said anything, then again maybe he just wanted to cause a scene. I will keep him and so many others like him in prayer none the less.
    Thanks again Jon for all you do to build the kingdom!!

  5. That is a beautiful way to look at life. I am going to apply that philosophy to my life. God bless you and your work for our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. May all glory go to Him.

  6. I like your thoughts on this.
    My first reaction or thoughts on "there can't be a God with all of this ugliness" is that the person (any person) is only looking at or believing in God.
    I don't just believe in God (and His Son, and Holy Spirit), I believe in satan as well. I worship, follow, adore God, but I believe in them both (all).

    Jesus came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly.
    The adversary comes not but for to steal, kill, and destroy.
    It is not God that makes or provokes the ugliness - it is the evil one.

  7. In this life we have the right to choose what we will do. Mankind makes wars and does things to hurt and cause pain in the lives of people and nations or to bring love, faith, joy and peace to others and to nations. God never makes our choices for us. He allows us to make our own choices and to suffer the result of those choices. There needs be opposition in all things that we may know the good from the evil.

  8. Thanks Jon for living your life in such a way that you receive the influence of the spirit of God and developing and sharing your talent sufficient to inspire us with the beauty that you have found. You truly are blessed in many ways for the efforts you have invested and we too are blessed with your statement as we display on our walls. Thanks again from a customer and fan.