Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Glasses Required

For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then when perfection comes we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God. 
-1 Corinthians 13:12 (AMP)

I trudged down the hallway, listening to the cadence of my footfalls echo off the basement walls.  My head was deep in thought, actually deep in many thoughts.  I recall one of them simply being "I'm tired...".  It's been a rigorous week filled with meetings, much running to and fro, and a laundry list of to-dos that won't stop.  Work is hectic right now and morale is low.  The unappreciative statement "over-worked and underpaid" is almost a religious mindset amongst most of my co-workers as management continually seems to turn the blind eye towards the detrimental effects of the increasing demands they place upon their subordinates. Communication is poor between managers, and even poorer with subordinates and often one poses the question to themselves "how much further out on this limb do I climb before I hear the saw behind me?"  Yes, daily there is pressure.

To distract, I often allow my mind to roam my "other life".  To-do's from home.  Things I need to take care of.  Family commitments, obligations, upcoming events.  Today this has had the effect of creating a dull ache in my neck and shoulders as pressures mount.  My mood is darkening as I reach the stairwell to exit the building.  I make a slight mental note that it does not appear to be raining outside as I pass a window in this historic structure.  The closing of the door below echoes throughout the stairwell as I approach the exit door ahead.  I ponder the brass hardware discoloration briefly and step through.

I am caught off guard.  Before me is a horizon defined by the canyon of familiar brick buildings that characterizes my place of work, a sight familiar.  But the sky above is what captures my attention; the luminous nature of the deep blue depths of a cloudless sky on a spring day.  I proceed on my journey, continuing to take note of the azure beauty of the perfect dome above when my senses are sweetly lured by the fragrance of spring blossoms to a nearby flowering tree.  Magenta, white, and pale yellow blossoms adorn every tree around me as far as I can note.  Bright sunlight firmly defines classical architectural elements of nearby buildings and smaller blossoming trees add accent and highlight to man's endeavors. 

In further casting my gaze across the manicured lawns I note the most rich and luxurious greens in the carpets of turf grass - all of it offering a color balance to the hues above.  Uncharacteristically I found that I had miraculously forgotten every care, every burden and been able to simply enjoy the beauty around me.  It was as if a pair of dark, dirty, scratched bi-focals had been removed from my face and I could truly see reality.  It came to me that my children are healthy.  My bills are paid.  I have food.  God has repeatedly showered his goodness upon my family.  Similar to stepping out of a dark stairwell into a spring morning, my mind stepped out of darkness into the light that God had for me this day.

Then God spoke an important truth into my ear.  "Where are your responsibilities?  Where are the things you were weighted down with only moments ago?"  The answer, surprisingly, was not that they were gone.  They weren't- they had not disappeared.  I was still walking down the sidewalk on this terrestrial ball and I still had to contend with all of the above listed pressure-inducing issues.  While thinking on this I passed a flowering red bud and noted how the colors of this tree contrasted the rich greens perfectly.  Then I realized "the responsibilities are still present, but my excessive worry and cares regarding them is gone."  I was seeing them in a different light - in their true light!  The filthy and distorted lenses of worry, attitude, and frustration had been removed from my eyes and I was seeing the world around me in true perspective.

Then another truth came to my ear.  "Your reality is defined by your perceptions and your perceptions are altered by the lens you are looking through.  You were the one who put those filthy glasses on this morning, no one else." 

The world will always spin this way and that, with people doing things beyond our control, deadlines pressuring, kids fighting, spouses misunderstanding, people abusing.  But apart from God, we do not have the full picture, nor can we see the true nature of the forces around us.  Had my head stayed down and my thoughts remained in darkness, I would have missed out on a lesson learned, one that lasted only minutes but one that has eternal consequences.  By removing lens upon lens, I was able to perceive His reality - able to look upon that which is truly eternal and important in my day.  99.99% of my former concerns did not make that list.  The ability to do this is not a supernatural talent or gifting.  Rather, it is a daily admonition to each of us found in 1 Peter 5:6-7:

Therefore humble yourselves, demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,  casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.  (AMP)

In casting our cares on Him, we are taking off the glasses, the lenses, and the blinders that the world seeks to entangle around our necks.  This is done in meditating on Him, on His Word.  Note, the problems and circumstances are not gone, but our focus on them has altered and this will alter the outcome of their affect in our lives.  Focusing on what God's Word says about our circumstances instead of how our circumstances make us feel will bring us in line with His perfect sight.  When we do this, we'll see reality with clarity and even on cloudy days, the Son will always be shining - no glasses required.

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