When Sidelined: Do You see Mud or Stars?

“Two men looked through prison bars, One saw mud, one saw stars” (Oscar Wilde). What do you do when you feel like your circumstances have created a prison like atmosphere in your life?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At 23 weeks into my recovery, I looked at my situation and even though physically I was coping with the pain and most recent surgery, my acceptance of the place I found myself in was extremely low.  It was true that my PICC line dressing (the place where the IV entered my body) was irritating and my right leg was tight and swollen but something else was going on.

 The deeper challenge I faced was the mental battle of feeling like my days were being lived with no purpose. I felt like I was wasting an opportunity as I was being forced to lay low longer than anticipated in order to heal, be repaired and eventually recover.  Words I used to describe this loss of purpose were:

  • Sidelined
  • Out of the game
  • Eliminated from the action
  • In prison

As I reflected on this, it dawned on me how my current perspective needed to change. I firmly believed that God had a purpose in all of this and makes no mistakes in what He allows or disallows.  Because of that core belief, I assumed to simply be missing my assignment for this season of my life. 

So I challenged my thinking.  I confronted what I perceived to be true (that I was sidelined and out of the game) with what was more likely true – God did have a purpose for me right now not just later!  I wasn’t going to have to wait until I “got through this” to find a reason to get up in the morning besides another day of sitting in my recliner and waiting.

With this new perspective, what did I notice to be true? Where did I see impact and purpose now that I was choosing to “look for stars” through my prison bars? 

  • My conversations were making a difference.
  • My positive attitude was encouraging others to see the good in their lives instead of the mud they were staring at.
  • I realized I could control what I chose to think about and dwell on.
  • I remembered the old saying “bloom where you are planted” and took it to heart.
  • I realized my writing (emails and newsletters) were reaching people in ways that surprised me

A spiritual insight came clear and anchored me to a new perspective and purpose for my life while in this prison: “This accident was God’s incident He was using for a greater purpose not yet fully realized. It was from Him, had been filtered through Him and was what I needed to daily surrender back to Him so He could use me as He saw fit.”

What perspective do you have that may be limiting your view of the stars and keeping you from finding God’s purpose for your life right now?

Note: If you haven’t had a chance, go to www.camtaylor.net and sign up to receive each new post by email. And I welcome your comments!


About Cam Taylor

I'm help people live inspired, focused and tenacious lives. I work as a coach, facilitator, author, and speaker.
This entry was posted in Adversity, Growth, learning, Opportunity, purpose, suffering and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to When Sidelined: Do You see Mud or Stars?

  1. Jean Greenshields says:

    Hi Cam. God has called you by name and chosen you, Cam Taylor, for a time such as this. You are precious in His sight and He enjoys being with you. He picked you up off the pavement, embraced you with his healing touch, and set you down where you couldn’t flee from Him. He longs to know you from the inside out and show you the depths of His love. Find a special place to meet with Him today; maybe a garden, a mountain top or a beach somewhere. Enjoy His presence and blessing today.
    Thanks for your new ministry. It’s very thought provoking and encouraging.
    Talk to you later,

  2. Mark Lawrence says:

    Thanks Cam, I too will be sidelined for the next weeks. As we agree God does have a purpose and a plan. Not my plan but his for me to discover.

  3. Jeff Irons says:

    Hi Cam I had to make a hard choice in my life at the end of 2008, to either move with my wife to Georgia to look after her aging parents or try to have a long distance marriage. The choice was not hard but the outcome was. Moving away from my family to a new country not being able to work in my trade or not being able to work at all. Looking after 2 people with dementia and a host of other problems became a full time job. I learned very quickly that I could get down or I could see it as a learning experience from God. He will never give us more than we can handle. I have learned to lean on Him every day for the strength to make it through the day, I could see mud or I could see the stars, I chose to see the stars. Jeff

    • Cam Taylor says:

      Thanks Jeff for sharing your journey of choosing stars over mud. I appreciate how you chose the needs of others over your own needs and in spite of the challenges, it was worth the sacrifice in the long run.

  4. Andrew says:

    thanks for your words and your spirit. I needed to be reminded about prisons, most of which are self-imposed.

    Keep looking for stars.


  5. Terry Clyne says:

    What I have found hard is not to envy what others are free to do and what you know you could do if only you were freer. But in doing that I miss the ministry and love right under my nose. It truly is not our to ask “why,” but to discover what we are missing that God intended right where we are. Though I have to admit there are still times when get longing for what I percieve to the freedom of others.

    • Cam Taylor says:

      Thanks Terry for your honest admission and continuing to grow in this area. It’s so true that if you focus on what you’re missing, the blessings that are there may pass you by. May you find a new freedom to “dance with the rest!”

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