I was going to send it in a text to a couple of people in my life who, like me, can get caught up in it if not careful and vigilant. But it’s too much to text and my heart has more words and maybe it’s a problem that spans beyond just a handful of us.
It’s the matter of our looking and seeing. When a person only sees the likable traits in a mate and misses the blaring obnoxious ones, we call it rose-colored glasses. I’ve always likened my false-perception of my body-image to a pair of cerulean-colored glasses, because for whatever reason blue is the only color that comes to my mind when I try to come up with a body-image version of the same concept. Glasses that make us see that which comes easiest to us or produces the most comfortable/enjoyable response within us.
That response isn’t always one of joy and happiness, or hearts and rainbows. Sometimes it’s thoughts and feelings of anger or resentment. Thoughts that feed constant unmet expectations from others in our lives or the world in general. For some of us. it’s most comfortable to sit in the familiarity of negativity.
Whatever color you want to call them, if we’re not intentional and vigilant, we can throw these colored glasses on without even thinking twice. And this is where I want to talk about this thing that the Lord was so patient and purposeful in showing me, and in doing so reminding me that I have a choice in this.
“You need a light to see. Only an idiot would light a lamp and then put it beneath the floor or under a bucket. No, any intelligent person would put the lamp on a table so everyone who comes in the house can see. Listen, your eye, your outlook, the way you see is your lamp. If your way of seeing is functioning well, then your whole life will be enlightened. But if your way of seeing is darkened, then your life will be a dark, dark place. So be careful, people, because your light may be malfunctioning. If your outlook is good, then your whole life will be bright, with no shadowy corners, as when a radiant lamp brightens your home.” -Luke 11:33-36 | the Voice
Here is what I want to say to myself and to these people in my life, and maybe even to you:
1) Notice how the light has an affect on others. The outlook on life that you carry will influence those around you. So you get to choose to hide it and let darkness, or shadowy thinking, rule in your life, or you can let the light of Christ in you, that let’s you live a life that is in line with hope, love, and truth, radiate onto those God has placed around you.
It’s funny to me that Jesus says, “only an idiot would light a lamp and then put it beneath the floor or under a bucket.” It’s funny because, while I don’t have my lamps under the floor or a bucket, our living room is extremely dark, and instead of doing something about it, we’ve just adapted. I’ve got two lamps, one of which has a shade that dates back to the early 1900’s; I’ve made meager attempts to find a replacement that might let more light into the room, but on the whole I’ve learned how to live with darkness in our days. When I read these words from Jesus I laugh because I wonder, how much of an idiot can I be to learn to live with the frustration that comes with being able to see so little every. single. day. instead of going out and buying another lamp (or 5) or opening a new tab to Amazon and ordering a new shade? If this is true of my living room, how much more true is this of my heart and mind and the way I choose to see my life?
Instead of changing the things that keep us frustrated, we just learn how to adapt and live a little (or a lot) inconvenienced.
2) Figuring out if your way of seeing is enlightened or darkened is pretty simple: How do you respond to the things that happen in your life? When someone cuts you off while you’re driving, do you assume it was intentional because they don’t like you, and the person in the checkout line in front of you is going slow because they just want to spite you, and the neighbors drive right by without saying hi day after day because they’ve set out to decidedly be a jerk to you? When a family member makes a decision that you don’t agree with, or forgets (again) to buy birthday presents or call grandma, or plan a holiday gathering, are you quick to entertain all of the commentary about how you would do it differently and their negligence is offensive to you and you use that as just another check mark on the running tally of wrongs you keep on the walls of your mind? For all of these examples and so many more, this is the way of darkened thinking. These kinds of thoughts do not reflect the ones that God has for these people or scenarios, and what’s more, are not the way of life He has for you.
I think the lamp He has for us let’s us see through lenses of faith, hope, and love.
Faith in one another. Hope coming from Christ alone, not from what we can gain from others in our lives. Love always, no matter what, because we are unceasingly loved by Jesus Christ.
I don’t know about you, but this passage of Scripture is P O W E R F U L. It is releasing. It is life-giving. It is exciting. It’s like I’m running alongside a parade float, waving a pom-pom in the air with one hand, and holding my aching side with another, trying to cheer for and rally others in this living for Christ and loving each other, and Jesus is on the float, extending His hand, and telling me to just jump on with Him because when I keep my eyes clear and open and focused on Him and what He is doing and seeing and communicating in the world around me, it’s a smooth ride. I don’t need to run, skip, or stumble my way through. I just get to ride along to where He is already going.
*A special nod to my freshman year of cheerleading where we had the most killer float and I probably had a side-ache.
I am pleading with you and I’m pleading with me: we cannot continue to let our thinking be darkened by the negativity of the world, or the taunts of the enemy, or even the realities that we’ve known in our past. We’ve got one option in this life of faith and that is keeping our eyes on Jesus. If we are truly doing that, then our whole life will be bright with no shadowy corners, as when a radiant lamp brightens our home.
LET’S CHAT || What’s challenging to you about this? What would it take for you to realign your sight to be life-giving as Jesus describes it in Luke 11? Is there someone in your life who could be encouraged/benefitted from your efforts to do this?