If I don’t have my contacts or my glasses on I am almost blind. I am nearsighted and have perfect vision when things are up close, but from across a small room, I wouldn’t be able to recognize my own husband and kids. Most of the time this isn’t a problem because I am able to wear my contacts or substitute my glasses if my eyes need a break.
As I have gotten older I have noticed a new problem though. If I am wearing contacts then my perfect vision for seeing things up close isn’t so perfect. In fact, I recently had to get a pair of readers from the dollar store so I could see things up close and not strain my eyes. The solution would be to just not wear contacts anymore. My problem would be solved, unless I was to take off my glasses and set them down. I am so nearsighted that I can’t even find my glasses if they aren’t on my face.
Given the choice between having clarity for things up close or things in the distance, I would choose seeing things at far distances any day. Seeing things far away allows me to see where I am going, be alert to danger, and see the world around me with clarity. I can muddle through not being able to see things with clarity up close, and there are always readers when I am desperate to see small details.
Wearing glasses to correct nearsightedness of sight is much the same as correcting the nearsightedness of my faith as well. When I am able to only focus on the things closest to me, the world can become very disproportionate. I find myself focusing on me. I can’t see those around me who are reaching out their hands to walk next to me through anything the world is throwing at me. I also can’t seem to lift my head and see the pain and opportunities to be a light that are standing not too far in the distance. I begin to have a very distorted belief that my relationship with Christ is all about me.
The Lord doesn’t want us to become laser focused on the problems we are facing, the ones that are easy to see because they are right in front of our eyes. When we approach the Lord with this view we miss what He wants us to see. We need to simply put on our glasses to get the big picture of faith. The Lord will reveal Himself through the world around us, but if we can’t see it then we will miss His answers to prayer and his provision. The Lord will also reveal opportunities to serve and ways we can pour into others if we only focus on what is across the room, down the street, or on the other side of the world.
The more we focus on what lies before us, the less we need to see what is weighing us down and threatening to distract us from God’s plan. When we reach out to do life with other believers and in service to others we will grow in our faith and we’ll never want to take off the glasses. Yes, occasionally we need to put on the readers and do some self-reflection and self-care, but then the readers come off and we reengage with what the Lord is showing us.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”