Friday, March 25, 2016

Fresh Eyes

It started out as a routine Sunday morning.  I woke up slightly earlier than I wanted to because that’s just the way it is, I rolled out of bed, made coffee, read a bit, made breakfast and ate with my husband while our young adults still slept.  Grateful for a later church service time, I went upstairs to do my usual yoga and take a shower (it was a hair washing/blowout day, so I had to factor in a lot more time for this process.  Can I get an amen?), and as I was moving through my routine I remembered with some excitement that it was the day I could put in a new set of contact lenses.  We have to take joy in the little things, people. 

My contacts are monthly use multi-focal lenses, you see, and I love them.  They serve me well, but by the end of their 30-day life cycle, they start to become a little bit uncomfortable.  My eyes start to bother me.  The lenses don’t work as well as the month marches on, especially for reading, and I get annoyed on an unconscious level with the blurriness of my world. 

It occurred to me as I was putting in my exciting new lenses: it was almost like getting a fresh pair of eyes every month.  Fresh view of the world, fresh perspective, new clarity, lifting of the weariness and discomfort I was feeling. 

A fresh pair of eyes.  Oh, how I need this in my spirit as well as in my body.  What if there was a new way to see my world, see my people, see my ministry, see my place in this wonderful madness of life?  What if I look upon what is around me with fresh eyes, refracted through the lens of God’s work and Word in my life, His Spirit guiding me, Jesus’ love and grace as my example? 

Perhaps then I would feel the weight and weariness of carrying regret, or jealousy, or a grudge lift away.  New clarity for my path and in my relationships.  Fresh perspective on issues that challenge me.  A fresh view of the world and how I fit into it.  And how God can change it through me.  With fresh eyes, I could perhaps shed that layer of unconscious annoyance, with the blurriness in my world clarified by a better perspective.  Think of what it could mean, fresh eyes.  A new perspective. 

Where, though, can I get this?  It’s not like going to my optometrist and getting a new prescription, or going on the 1-800-CONTACTS website and ordering new boxes of lenses.  In truth t’s simple, though not easy:  I need to seek more time in God’s presence to see through His lens, more time in His word to bring my heart and my view in alignment with His heart, asking for His view, His focus. 

Speaking to Ezekiel the prophet, God tells His people, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."  (Ezekiel 36:26)  When I go to God and seek a new perspective, He will happily, lovingly grant it to me.
But just like changing my contacts, changing my perspective is a choice.  I could decide to keep right on wearing the same pair of lenses, month after month, increasing my discomfort and the distortion through which I view the world.  I could continue to wear them, risking infection and, potentially, lasting damage to my vision. 

By the same token, I could continue to view the world, the circumstances, and the people around me the same way, and become less and less satisfied with what I see.  I could choose that, thinking all the while, “Why should I change?  I’ve been fine with this way of seeing all along!  I’m comfortable.”  Even though I’m not.  

I have to intentionally take the contacts I’ve worn for a month out of my eyes, walk to the small waste basket in my bathroom, and throw them out. 

I have to surrender seeing things my way, the old way, through my tired lenses. And surrender is intentional.  I have to CHOOSE to take on God’s lens through which to view others, view hard situations, view His people, view circumstances.  I must deliberately throw those “lenses” in the trash.  And leave them there. 

I would NEVER pull old contacts out of the trash and put them back into my eyes just because I was more accustomed to them.  I don’t even want to think about the infection that would cause. 

Neither should I retrieve my old way of seeing someone or something, the way without God’s influence and grace, and put it back into my life, back to the familiar.  Think about how that would be toxic, damaging to my heart and my relationships.  Detrimental to my growth. 

But isn’t that easier said than done?  I know I have often drifted back into old habits, old ways of seeing the world, even though the new ways were better.  It takes deliberate choice to change, and it takes deliberate choice to NOT return to the old way of seeing things. 

Seeing through a new lens isn’t just intentional surrender, it’s ongoing surrender.

Fresh eyes.  And a renewed heart.  Thank God for contact lenses that help me see.  And thank God for His lenses that help me see His way..

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