What do you see when you look at the world today? What about your future? Is your cup filled with hope or brimming with uncertainty and despair?
There was a time when I would view the issues in my life and the world around me through an orphan mentality. For years, I refused to surrender these issues to God. I didn’t ask Him how He viewed them, so He became unsafe to me.
The day I experienced a baptism of love and turned towards God, finally realizing that He is full of compassion and fully embracing me, I began to see things differently.
I asked God, “How can I see through the eyes of love?” That question changed everything.
I’ve been to 98 countries and what I’ve seen is that there’s so many amazing people in this world. Yes, there is evil in the world. But when I changed how I saw God, my lens toward myself, others, and the world around me became clearer. I saw how much Jesus loves my Hindu and Muslim friends. Where other people may see trash, I could spot the treasure.
When you have 20/20 vision, we see a loving Father and become capable of loving people the way he does. Our future looks bright! But deception is quite deceiving… For years, I had viewed what was going on in my neighborhood, or even the Middle East, through a tainted lens. How can you know if you have the right lenses?
OBSTACLES TO A CLEAR VISION:
Let’s look at some common vision issues that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives:
• Tunnel Vision. This is the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited point of view. There is little room for diverse opinions, since we can’t see anything that contradicts our intentions and desires. With this vision, you are likely to believe anything you hear that confirms your beliefs without confirming facts. Peripheral vision is lacking as we suppress the question, “What’s going on around me?” Anais Nin, an influential thinker in the 19th century, put it this way: “We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.
• Color blindness. Perhaps you’re convinced that emerald green shirt is really gray. Objects and issues in life do not appear in full color. This can result in seeing issues in a polarized way—in black and white. When the beauty of color is absent and we see the world in neutral or gray tones, we can become depressed or jaded.
• Short-sightedness. You can see quite well! If the object is right in front of you… It may be harder to see the future, which looks blurry or even frightening. Whether you feel that you lack imagination and foresight or intentionally choose to live in the moment, the future seems blocked. This vision proliferates where a doctrine of fear is present—whether in the church (the “end times” are coming!) or on the news (beware economic collapse or school shootings). The prominent voice is fear.
• Far-sightedness. A few years ago, I started holding my books farther back since I didn’t realize I needed glasses. I had no problem seeing images that were far off (the future), but couldn’t see what was right in front of me. This vision longs for the future and has little appreciation for your present time.
The list could go on. Many people suffer from astigmatism. They may see God or themselves in a distorted or blurry way. Lies come in to tell us that God is unfair and confusing, or I’m worthless and everyone is out to get me (let’s laugh at that for a minute…).
UPGRADE YOUR VISION:
If you suffer from any of these vision maladies, then I have good news for you. You’re not alone, and there’s a way out.
When my spiritual vision changed, my worldview shift from “I do, and then I have, and then I become,” to “I become, then I have, and then I do.”
The first mindset is performance-oriented, while the second calls for my identity in God to then dictate what I have and do. What caused this change?
• Looking up. Ask yourself, “How do I see God? Is he in a good or a bad mood? Does He turn toward me or away from me when I’m struggling with an issue? Is he punitive or restorative?” and so on. For years, I had a God that didn’t look like Jesus. If I have the right view of God, then I can view everything through His loving eyes.
• Ask the Lord if there’s anything blocking your vision. Whether it’s fear, unforgiveness, bitterness, or anything else, God isn’t judging you. He’s looking at you with the most loving eyes, waiting to take those things from you and destroy them once and for all.
• Once I identified the issue, I repented from thinking in a way that didn’t glorify Him. We often spend time fearing a future that will never happen. Reflect on what God says. Start visualizing positive outcomes. Identify what’s causing the fear, and spend time discovering the truth. Perhaps you’ve had things spoken over you—by yourself or others—that have skewed your way of thinking. Identify and renounce the lie, and prophesy the truth about your vision.
• In my daily routine these days, I spend a short time watching the news, and focus my efforts on Kingdom realities and solutions. If your primary input is fear, it’s difficult to see things from a higher point of view. God’s lens is never fearful (2 Tim 1:7).
Many psychologists agree that fear is the leading cause of failing to see the whole picture. Whether we fear our own future, another culture that’s unfamiliar or stigmatized, the end of the world (or perhaps something less dramatic), God has something to say about it. If we can move through our contained ideas of what we think or want to know, we will find clarity and truth.
There’s a war against each one of us, but can we wake up each morning and put on different lenses? Which lenses are you wearing today? Post in the comments!