Did you ever play the game ‘telephone’ when you were younger? That was a favorite of mine. The game worked best with a large group and the results were usually very comical! Everyone sat in a circle. One person started the game by whispering a phrase or story to the person next to them who would repeat what they heard (or what they thought they heard) to the person next to them. This process would continue until the story got back to the person who originally started the game. The original story would be revealed as well as the story that had made it’s way around the circle and through many ears and translations. The two stories never matched and really took on a life of it’s own. One of the reasons that the story did not remain intact is that people hear what they want to hear. Perhaps one of the translators was distracted and only heard half of the story and then made up the part they missed. Perhaps, and this is the reason I tend to place most weight on, people anticipate what the story might be and as their focus is on their own anticipated outcome, they miss the actual information being passed to them. This game taught many lessons to my group of friends and I: Don’t believe everything you hear; Gossip can be painful and untrue; Lies spread like wildfire and never end the way you intend…..the lessons that can be drawn from this game are innumerable.
I was thinking about this game today as I heard about a young lady whose feelings were crushed as a result of a conversation that she didn’t hear. She saw people whispering and immediately imagined that they could only be talking about her. This propelled her to criticize herself as she pinpointed the root of the imagined conversation. ‘Her outfit must be out of style, although she had recently purchased it and thought it looked alright when she got dressed this morning.’ ‘She must look ugly today. She was definitely having a bad hair day so that must be the topic.’ ‘Her work production was down and she is probably about to be called into her bosses’ office for discipline.” On an on these thoughts ran through her mind until she had worked herself into a migraine and overwhelming sadness. In reality, her co-workers were talking about a picnic they were planning for the following weekend. The conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and yet, she had made herself sick as a result of her runaway imagination. Has this ever happened to you? I can raise my hand to admit that I am guilty of presuming myself the topic of secret conversations. Why do we do this to ourselves? How silly! We have enough trouble to deal with that we know about without creating trouble where there is none. If we would only keep our eyes on Him, we could avoid so much hurt and suffering!
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4 (New Living Translation)
I love this verse! I am making a concerted effort to keep my focus on Jesus, where my thoughts and focus should be rather than down in the weeds of imagination. Please join me in this effort. Leave comments of encouragement or suggestions to help myself and others as we endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus!
One thing that has become very obvious to me, even though I am fighting it to the end, is that my eyes just can’t see well anymore. It started with a gradual loss of distance sight and now I have to squint to see without my glasses, and I hate my glasses. I feel old, they are uncomfortable and give me a headache. I can find a good dozen reasons why I don’t want to wear them but the reality is that I need them and without them I cannot see.
If only it was as evident to me when I am blind in my spiritual eyesight. This happens when I don’t use the “glasses” of God’s Word to assist my sight. It is so obvious to me on the days that I fail to arm myself with my Spiritual glasses, albeit in hindsight, that I flounder and spend most of those days getting not much accomplished, lacking joy and generally feeling defeated. Usually it is a result of my laziness. I want to sleep longer so I tell myself that I will make up this missed time with God at my first opportunity and, like a broken record that repeats the same section when the crack hits the needle, I play this scenario out again and again without learning my lesson. When I make time for God, the time that I miss out on sleep or computer time is given back to me with a double helping of additional free time to do other things that give me pleasure and enjoyment. Tasks get accomplished faster, traffic moves freely and, in general, everything just flows much smoother. This is God’s promise to me. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!”, Isaiah 38:3 (NASB). My day is destined to fail if I try to see with my own eyes. The wisdom that I need to prosper and find favor only comes from the Source of sight! My endeavor is to allow God to open my eyes and let me not use my own sight each morning.
You would think that Tuesday traffic would be better than Monday traffic, but you would be wrong. My take on this theory is that drivers save their Monday frustration for Tuesday in hopes that other drivers used their road rage on Monday thus giving them the home court advantage. Whatever the reason, Tuesday traffic is like the terrible twos. It’s loud, annoying and frustrating. There is some good take away from this unavoidable time slot though and for me it is the “me” time. I have almost uninterrupted time to pick my own radio stations or to, my kids would be mortified, just listen to silence. This morning I was distracted and ended up sitting through the same traffic light for two cycles so it gave me time to observe the pedestrians and other drivers adjacent to me. Maybe fate orchestrated this opportunity. I recognized my own irritation mirrored in the expression of most of the people I saw but I caught the eye of one particular man on a bicycle. He was not like me. His clothes were dirty, his hair uncombed, greasy and long. He looked tired and sad and completely like someone that I would not want to sit next for any extended period of time. This was a complete chance encounter and I doubt I will ever see him again but I believe that God allowed this scene to act out in front of me. The radio was playing Casting Crowns and I happened to catch the lyrics to this new and unfamiliar song just at this moment. “No one knows what we’re for only against when we judge the wounded.” In that quick space of time, I felt as if God had singled me out to tell me that I was not like Him. It was a needed reminder that I am no better than anyone else and have no more rights than anyone else. I need to be reaching out instead of closing myself off. I see a lot of smiling Christians in church but, yet, the same Christians shield their eyes and guard their hearts in a different setting. I am ashamed to say that I frequently do the same. My intentions are always to be reaching out but I typically fall short of those goals and stay to myself instead.
As I continue on my journey to “know” Jesus, it occurs to me that the best way to know Him is to be a friend to sinners in the same way He was – and they are everyone. “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God,” Romans 3:23.
This was my Tuesday traffic adventure. Share yours!
I love Monday mornings! That may sound weird and maybe even masochistic, but I really LOVE my Monday mornings, that is, after the kids are off to school and my husband has left for work. Then I can breathe. Breathe in and take in everything around me. I settle into a nice comfy and overstuffed chair that just happens to be by the window overlooking my flower covered back deck. Freshly brewed cup of coffee nestled in my hand, I curl up under a blanket, next to the window and just “be”. Most mornings, my little chipmunk neighbor crawls next to the window and chirps a good morning and then, if I am really blessed, a family of birds will start their chorus of greeting. The sun is bright but shaded from the many trees that line our yard, sending a variety of shapes and hues across the deck and yard. Recently, I have been visited by a white-tailed bunny, and he makes his appearance this morning as well. My world stops and becomes still in these moments. These rare glimpses into nature fill me with such a calming peace that can be felt but not really described. Hopefully, you have had the occasion to feel this envelope of warmth. I’m reminded of Psalm 19 where David writes that the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1-3). Lately, I have had a deep aching desire to know Jesus. I don’t want to just know the things that He did and said 2000 years ago, although it is important to know these things. I want to know Him, really KNOW Him. This kind of knowing can only be obtained through letting Him become ingrained in every aspect of my heart, thoughts and life. I sometimes let my mind wander and transport me to the dusty streets of Nazareth. I find myself being pushed and moved by the bustling crowd lining the narrow street as they move like an ocean wave lapping the shore all the while trying to get close to the One whose voice has captured the attention of every passerby. I long for just one glance from the Master. I have heard that He can see into your soul with eyes so full of knowledge and compassion that you are overwhelmed. This is the Jesus I want to know. If I can know Him then perhaps I can be a little like Him. So, I take this time in the morning to let Him fill my heart and mind in a few moments of peaceful silence before I start the day. When I miss this time, I feel like the creature in the picture above.
Hopefully, you have a morning routine that takes you to that special feeling of peace. Please share your successful mornings with me!
2 Corinthians 5:7
“for we walk by faith, not by sight” NASB
It seems as if most of my moments for deep thinking come while I am driving in the morning. Today was no exception. I rounded the corner adjacent to the subdivision I live in to see a blind person, using a white cane and crossing the walkway in the intersection. My first thought placed me in my son’s bedroom a while back, where we spent a great deal of time studying for his drivers license test. I had been quizzing him relentlessly so that he had a better chance of passing the dreaded written test that had a track record of claiming previous classmates and forcing humiliating retakes. We came to a section that pertained to right of way for the blind. In all my years of driving, I have never seen this played out to where it would become necessary to know this rule. I told him that his odds for ever encountering this situation were probably 1000:1. We breezed over that question and, as the luck of the unprepared would have it, this question was on the test. Fortunately, my son had prepared well in all other areas and scored high enough to pass. (No thanks to his mother….)
The traffic light was long this morning, maybe by Divine design, giving me the ability to watch this woman make her away across the street. She seemingly was not upset that she had to travel in this manner, she actually looked content and quite happy. This brought the second thought that swished around my mind in to play. Am I like this woman? I have eyes to see here in the natural but clearly have no seeing capability into the supernatural. Therefore, I am handicapped in a similar manner. Is it better to have sight in the here and now of everyday or is it more beneficial to have strong Spiritual eyesight? Obviously, if I can, I would like to have both and feel truly blessed and thankful to say that, indeed, I do. In the same manner as my everyday walks that find me sadly lacking in perceptive eyesight (and coordination) where I frequently trip, fall or run into furniture (it would be funny if it was not so painful), I find myself in the same Spiritual situation. Just as I make a discovery that brings me closer to my Savior, I often trip over my own pride or fall into a pit of superiority. Only then am I able to see that I tried to walk on my own rather than use the assistance of the One who guides and guards my steps. I am quick to speak (red head syndrome) but often I do not choose to”fix His words in my heart and mind” (Deut 11:18, NIV) which only causes me to be a source of pain for someone else. I am definitely speedy Gonzalez running to share advice or or be the first to share bad news (I do so dislike this trait in others) but fail to seek the wisdom of the One who holds the future and can turn all things to good for his children. What is wrong with me??? These are the times that show how blindly I walk in this world where all is not what we see. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Ephesians 6:12.
I made a resolution to purposely put on the Armor of God each morning as I venture out into the crosswalks of life. I may still have limited eyesight but by holding His hand, watching where I walk and staying close to His side I will have a much better walk than I do on my own.