Pondering today on “seeing for the first time”.
Have you ever seen a “Where’s Waldo?” book, stared at a 3D image until your eyes adjusted, or sat down with one of the old school “Highlights” magazines and looked for hidden pictures? It’s fun to search for something until you find it or look at something until you see it.
One of my most favorite parts of this journey with God has been to awake to new truths (new to me), to discover beautiful treasures and to see things I never saw before!
I look back at my 50 years of life and I’m amazed. Amazed at how I’ve grown and how much I have yet to grow, amazed at what I used to believe was true and what I have found to be true, amazed at how the things I’ve looked at for so long are now being seen for the first time.
I don’t want to get into specific things because we could be here for days and it would probably lead to disagreements in ” views”. Instead, I’m pondering my overall experience.
I used to believe that when it comes to my journey with God, that I was on a journey upward, on a trajectory from earth to heaven, an endeavor to close the gap between my humanity and God. I was ever striving to get closer to God, to be more Christ-like, to shed my rotten,stinkin, humanness and be more “godly”. In truth, I really looked like a hamster on a wheel, running in circles but never arriving anywhere. I was always working on me, trying to become someone else, hoping I would be good enough. It was exhausting and hopeless.
But…just like with the Waldo books, the 3D images and the hidden pictures, it may take time…but eventually things become clear. You “see things for the first time”, things that were right there in front of your eyes but you overlook, you were focused on the wrong things, or you had looked at it the same way for so long that you weren’t actually seeing it anymore.
I began to see something about my journey that was brand new to me! I started to see God in everything and everyone. I began to see that God was WITH ME! God was IN ME! There was no gap between us! I didn’t need to get “closer” to God because we were one! I didn’t need to become less human because human was what God created me to be! I had been taught to “see” things that weren’t there. I had been taught to “see” things through a particular filter. I had been taught to “see” myself and my creator in ways that separated us instead of connecting us. No wonder I was spinning in circles and felt hopeless. I was seeing through other people’s eyes and not seeing the truth right in front of me.
The truth that I am loved, I am accepted, I am the recipient of a free gift and I don’t have to earn it. I am not becoming something…I am seeing who I have always been…seeing it for the first time.
When I look in the mirror now, I see the same reflection I’ve always seen but now I see her like I’ve never seen her before! I don’t see a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend who has fallen short. I see a human who is created in the image and likeness of a perfect creator. I see love and grace woven into every fiber of my being…long before I could have ever earned it. And I see you the very same way….PERFECTLY created!
Happy Sunday my friends and may you LOVE WELL…especially yourself.
Pondering today on perspective.
I went to see the movie “The Shack” last week. I had read the book twice several years ago and was moved in a powerful way. While I personally LOVED the movie and walked away from the book and the movie with such an overwhelming understanding of the pure love of God BUT…my social media has blown up with “Shack Haters” and “Shack Lovers” and all the opinions of both. This got me thinking, how in the world can people see the same movie in such completely different ways?!
And so I’m pondering on “perspective”. Perspective has a Latin root meaning “look through” or “perceive,” and all the meanings of perspective have something to do with looking.
Growing up in the Baptist denomination shaped my perspective of the scriptures and therefore the way I “perceived” or “looked” at God. As I journeyed from Baptist to Nondenominational to Charismatic Pentecostal to Mega church to church without walls…my perspective changed. I saw things at each stage of the journey that I couldn’t or wouldn’t see before.
And so it goes with “The Shack”. I will confess that the Wendy of 15 years ago would have probably been a “Shack Hater”. I was very protective of my religious theology and I was very passionate in my belief that I had all the right “biblical” answers. My “perspective” was very narrow and I refused to use my peripheral vision to see ideas outside of my version of truth.
But IF you are willing to go on the journey, IF you are willing to look at the bigger picture, IF you are willing to explore and ponder…your “perspective” will change in glorious ways! While it may be a little scary or unnerving, I know, it is so worth the risk!
I believe your opinion of “The Shack” is all about “perspective”.
Do you view scriptures through the lens of “heaven and hell”, “saved and unsaved”, “chosen and not chosen”, “right and wrong”, “insiders and outsiders”, “original sin doctrine”, “law”, “sin consciousness”, “the devil made me do it”, “fire is destructive”, “god was angry but Jesus put him in a better mood”???
Do you view scriptures through the lens of “unconditional love”, “pure grace”, “created in God’s image and likeness”, “EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess”, “full redemption”, “your true identity is IN Christ”, “saved is being made whole”, “fire is purifying”, “God is good”, “Jesus is the exact representation of the Father”???
Your “perspective” will determine how you see “The Shack”, the scriptures, your fellow man, and God. So the challenge for ALL of us is this…are you seeing the bigger picture? Are you looking at all the glorious miracles on every side of you? Are you brave enough to look at life, God, written words, movies, songs, people, and ideas with an open mind? Are you longing for a new “perspective”? Are you ready to see your creator as bigger, better and even more loving than you ever thought possible? I hope so! 🤔😎
Happy Sunday my friends!