Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Lens for Life

At Benjamin's recent eye check-up appointment, his optometrist recommended that we give glasses another try. Our son's eyes have been crossing some in recent months, and at first I was concerned he would need another surgery. Thankfully though, the eye-crossing is not muscle related this time and is instead an indication of some mild far-sightedness. Benjamin's glasses came in a few weeks ago, and we have been trying to convince him that it's a good idea for him to wear them. His teachers and aids at school have been doing a wonderful job of keeping the glasses on while he's at school, but our little stinker is putting up a bigger fight at home. At the end of the school day, he's tired, and he doesn't want to do ANYTHING that feels like work. After a few moments of wearing them, he grabs the frames and throws them on the floor. They are still unfamiliar and probably feel a bit intrusive. We'll keep trying...

Today I've been contemplating the importance and power of perspective and focus. My perspective on any given aspect of life creates my definition of reality, and my focus determines how I live in the present and how I approach the future. Naturally speaking, my son is able to see things from a distance, but he has trouble focusing on things up close. The glasses aid in his ability to perceive what is right in front of him, but he has to be willing to move out of what's familiar and look through a new lens. I happen to be near-sighted and have been in glasses or contacts since age 12. I have no trouble seeing what's right in front of me, but without the right lens, everything far away is a blur.

I am a very allegorical thinker (if you haven't perceived that already!), and I am discovering a life lesson through this new experiment with Benjamin's glasses. There are pros and cons for being "near-sighted" and "far-sighted," which makes having the right perspective and focus so crucial. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law," (NASB). When we are "near-sighted" we are so consumed with what is right in front of us. All we can see is what's happening now, and as a result we are often slaves to our circumstances and the tyranny of the urgent. When we are "far-sighted" though, we can often be so focused on the future and trying to get to the "next thing" that we neglect the present. We need clarity to focus on both the present and the future.

Without life vision, we will likely waste much time and simply exist day to day, caught up in the ever-moving current of daily life. With life vision, though, we must have a keen eye on the future while living an intentional present. The decisions made today and the habits cultivated either purposefully or by neglect are shaping the future outcome of our lives. Without vision, "anything goes" (i.e. "the people are unrestrained"). Where should our vision come from, though? "But happy is he who keep the law." This is where perspective comes in to play. If we perceive reality through the lens of emotions and circumstances that are always subject to change, we have no real foundation. If we make God's Word and His eternal plan our lens for reality, we will have a healthy perspective for every shifting season of life, and we will have focus and vision for our lives that is much bigger than ourselves. The best part is, God's perspective is always full of hope, joy, and purpose!

"But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it--not forgetting what they heard, but doing it--they will be blessed in what they do," (James 1:25, NIV).

Our perspective is everything.