Tunnel Vision

Tunnel VisionI tasted failure at a very young age. As my mom recalls the memory, I was 4 years old and she had taken me to get registered for kindergarten, which in our neck of the woods was called, “Kindergarten Round-Up.” I wonder if it ever crossed her mind that her daughter might not pass kindergarten round-up? I don’t know, but that was the harsh reality of the day…”failed.” You may be curious about what I was so inept at compared to the kindergarten expectation and requirement list. Well, it turns out that passing an eye exam was not going to be something that I would excel at no matter how much I studied.

 

This began my journey of differing doctor opinions about putting children in glasses versus not putting children in glasses. The doctor at the time said it was a waste of time, because I would never wear them. Later we learned had he put me in glasses at that young age, it would have corrected my vision. However, I really can’t blame my doctor, because he had me pegged right…”strong-willed child.” I wouldn’t have worn them. In fact, I was quite particular about what I would and would not wear. The entire family gets quite a kick out of the old photos that show my style and personality…. let’s just say I was not headed for a career in fashion! Around 5th or 6th grade we gave the glasses a try, but I was not a fan and it was pretty short-lived. Then came a critical motivator! That 16th birthday and the long awaited drivers license…yet another test I would fail if my vision were not corrected. Thankfully, I was now deemed “responsible enough” to wear contact lenses, a much better solution for my blurry eyes, in my opinion. So, year after year, I’ve been on the contact lens train, with glasses on stand-by for emergencies such as, not enough sleep or…not enough sleep.

 

Then, something remarkable happened not long after my 40th birthday. I had heard of this phenomenon, but until I experienced it myself I didn’t quite grasp the continual change of vision that was going to be my new normal. One of my visual predicaments is that I have the pleasure of being near-sighted in one eye, and far-sighted in the other. Does that make me indecisive? For those of you over 40, you will attest to the change of  near-sightedness improving, and far-sightedness getting worse. So now my challenge is…with my contacts in, I can see distance great, but everything is blurry close up, so I have to wear reading glasses. Or, if I don’t wear any contact lenses, I can see perfectly close up, but distance is blurry and I have to change to my “stand-by” glasses.” Whew….that’s a lot of switching back and forth you know?

 

So, that brings me to a very recent morning. My husband and I get up quite early and after being properly caffeinated and spending time together with the Lord, we head out the door to the gym. I have begun not wearing my contacts to the gym because, a) it’s early…that whole tired eyes thing, and b) the video I watch on my phone while exercising is blurry if I put them in, and I really don’t think wearing reading glasses at the gym is a good idea! It kind of says…I’m really not here to work out. So, back to the recent morning, it was a toss up of who was going to drive because my husband has equally bad eyesight. However, since I had grabbed my glasses so I could see distance, I drove. The problem was, they weren’t working! I kept putting them on and taking them back off, because it seemed I could see better with them off than on…even with distance. I was astounded…it was like an early morning science experiment as I attempted to read the upcoming street signs with and without my glasses, and I couldn’t tell much difference. I looked at my husband and proclaimed how my eyes must have progressed to a level that I would no longer need my contact lenses! It was like a miracle, a healing…I was so excited…freedom at last!

 

We got back home and as I proceeded to get ready for the day and I went to put my
contacts in there was a problem. My contact case was empty! What??? I stepped up to the mirror and took a good look at my eyeballs. Yup….there were the little circles! I had slept with my contacts in all night, and therefore, the only proper conclusion, is that instead of being “miraculously healed” I had to admit I was “miraculously spacey.” Sigh. Unfortunately, that was not the last incident like that for the day.

 

Extremely famished….(I like to call it “angry hungry,” which means you want to watch your step around me until I get some nourishment.) I quickly threw open the fridge and grabbed some turkey and cheese. I rolled it up and took it to my desk in my office to munch on while I got some work accomplished. Suddenly, the turkey seemed a little chewy…perhaps slightly tough. What in the world? I looked down to see the thin paper that separates the cheese slices with teeth marks in it as I was attempting to eat a turkey, cheese, parchment paper roll up…yum!

 

Then, of course, the day ended with discovering that a certain undergarment had been worn inside out all day long, which I wish I could say was a first time occurrence, but unfortunately…I don’t know, I must get dressed in the dark a lot.

 

So, where is all of this taking us? I once summarized my “awareness” issues as, “My vision needs a bigger tunnel!” Isn’t that really true of all of us at times? We go through life with such tunnel vision….and our tunnel’s can be pretty tiny. Maybe we only see what we want to see, or perhaps our tunnels are so filled with ourselves that we can’t see what’s going on around us. Our brains are so bombarded with information all day long that it can be our instant default to just try to block everything out, which again leaves us standing in a pretty small, narrow tunnel.

 

What did Jesus have to say about our tunnel vision? In John Chapter 1, an account is given of the first disciples who followed Jesus. John the Baptist had just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, and two of his disciples (probably Andrew and John) started to follow Jesus. He turned around and asked them, “What do you want?” They answered, “Teacher, where are you staying?” Notice, He doesn’t give them a cut and dry answer, He gives them an invitation. “Come,” He replied, “and you will see.” Hmmm…see…vision. Let’s keep going.
“So they went and SAW where He was staying and they spent that day with him.”

 

Andrew went and found his brother, Simon Peter, and told him they had found the Messiah, and he brought him to Jesus. The next day Jesus sought out Philip and told him, “Follow Me.” Philip went and found his buddy Nathanial, and told him about their discovery, however, Nathanial didn’t just pick up and go. He had an opinion about Jesus’ background. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Still, Phillip urged him, “Come and SEE.”

 

When Jesus saw Nathanial approaching, He said, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” Nathanial was puzzled, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “I SAW you while you were still under the fig tree BEFORE Philip called you.” Whoa! How’s that for vision? Nathanial was equally astounded, and declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.”

 

Jesus then said, “You believe because I told you I SAW you under the fig tree. You will SEE greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will SEE the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” My bible explains this verse as not a literal “seeing” but spiritual vision or insight into Jesus’ true nature and purpose for coming…to be the ladder, the Way for man to be reconciled to God.

 

I know without a doubt that I should work on my tunnel vision. I need to slow down, focus a little more, and be a little more aware of my surroundings. But my deepest desire is to see what Jesus wants me to see. My vision needs a bigger tunnel and one way to make my tunnel bigger is to try to SEE like Jesus. What did He pay attention to? What did He see in people and circumstances? He saw their pain, their need, their hearts and minds. As mere humans we don’t have all of those skills, but as Jesus’ followers we do have the super-natural power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. As we pray and ask Him to reveal to us what He wants us to see in people and circumstances, He will show us. The Bible says “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened.” This is my prayer, that God will burn a huge hole into my tunnel with the laser-beam brightness of His truth and vision, that I may see what He wants me to, so that I may respond the way that He wants me to. How’s your vision today?

 

 

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Beat A Bad Day

There are days when the alarm clock sounds at 5 am and I awake refreshed and ready to start my day…after my first cup of bold coffee, of course!

Then there are days that a bottomless carafe might not be enough to get my brain and body in gear. Those days are SO frustrating, because I really do want to have a good day, but I can feel a bad one beating its fists on the doorway of my day, trying to break through and take over. I have a feeling you may be able to relate to this predicament.

Recently I had just such a day. It was a challenge from the moment my feet hit the floor. I pushed through my morning routine hoping that it would remind my groggy brain to get with the program. When that didn’t work, I knew I was going to need some divine intervention if things were going to turn around.

My communication with God went something like this: “Lord, this is the only November 4, 2015 I am ever going to have. I don’t want it to be a loss…a bad day. I know I can’t get a do-over. Please help me! Speak your truth to my heart, help me to accept it and show me what to do with it.” God immediately impressed upon my heart in the most gentle and kind tone, “All you have to do today is receive and experience my love, and then share it with others.” Hmmm…now that sounds like a day I can do…I think that would make a good day!

I believe this lines right up with what Jesus said in Mathew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” It’s so easy for us think of God as some sort of slave driver because we are so good at burying ourselves under mountains of stressful or overwhelming thoughts. If we will focus on this one truth, to receive, experience, and then give away God’s love, we will find that everything else will properly fall into place.

So that morning I decided to act upon what He told me, because hearing without doing is of no use at all. I asked myself, “What does receiving and experiencing God’s love look like?” That led me to the next question, “What has God done to show me His love…even just today?” Then I started naming the blessing He has poured into me and the world around me that show me His very personal love for me. Something started to happen inside my heart. It began to lighten, as I felt a surge of gratitude well up from deep within my soul. As I thought about going through the day seeking to recognize and experience God’s amazing love for me, and then looking for opportunities to share it, I began to feel excited about the day. Joy began to trickle through my veins, kickstarting my potentially bad day into the beginnings of a very good day.

As I now reflect back on that day, I can say with a smile on my face that it was not a loss! God lightened my load, refocused my mind, and changed my attitude. Our emotions trigger our actions, and our thoughts trigger our emotions. If you’re struggling to overcome “bad day” emotions, remember what your Savior says, “All you have to do is receive and experience My love, and then share it with others.” Don’t overthink it. Don’t make it harder than it is. Take the gift He offers you. Receive it. Embrace it. Cherish it. Step into it. Walk in it. Roll around in it. Stand on it, and then Share it!

“Thank you Lord for your gentle, loving care and concern for your children, and for answering our prayers when we cry out to you.”

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”