20 Sep Believing is Seeing
Certain quotes stick to your ribs like biscuits and gravy on a summer Sunday:
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin
I can’t remember the first time I read it — a LONG time ago — but the idea lodged somewhere deep inside and undoubtedly prompted doses of anxious self-reflection over the years. “Do I know that I know what I know I know? Or is it possible that my knower is broken? Who’s to know?” And phew! Now I am parenting two precious little lives? Raise the stakes and multiply that vexing introspection by a zillion.
But God has been disrupting and discarding (quite humorously, at times) pieces of the heavy-handed religiosity overpacked in my soul suitcase. And now I find a lot of secure hope sparking all around that unsettling adage:
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
What secure hope, you ask? (Okay, you didn’t ask. But you’re reading, so same difference!)
The (Di)Vine Lens
Jesus is the Vine: I know it’s like saying the grass is green, but seriously this is just the best news. Like my toddler at bedtime, I am all snuggled up in El Roi, The God Who Sees: sees me, sees you, sees it all. While growing deeper in loving, mature, joyful community, I can confidently rest secure in uncertainty, knowing He knows, and trusting He is active on my behalf. In communion with Him, I get to see in ways I never would on my own.
Jesus is the Door: He said so Himself! Anything that distresses me (even if it’s been years of languish waiting for change), can shift in a moment. This is proven in my life: when God moves and everything changes (including the way we see it), that’s redemption. And it doesn’t just happen once; He keeps on redeeming every part of us bit by bit. The shift we need may be in people, problems, provision, perception, or our own personhood. To ALL those things that keep us in a loop and looking for the door, God says: “Do not be afraid of them; I Myself will fight for you” (Deuteronomy 3:22). And He does.
The Parenting Lens
Buoyed by the Divine Lens, the Parenthood lens is especially sweet. Sometimes a scripture will jump off the page in a new way, all because I’m suddenly viewing it through my embodied mama lens.
Just before we moved into our current home, I sat at our dining table with pen, paper, and actual room dimensions scaled down to the centimeters on my ruler. A designer I am not, but I meticulously poured over those room dimensions, measured our existing furniture, and considered our boys, their needs, personalities, and growing interests. From there I constructed the best plan I could, a plan to prepare a place for them; a place for them to enjoy being themselves together. The awesome bit is I happened to be reading through John 14 during the same period, and that night the beginning verses lit up like a Christmas tree with personal meaning:
“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live.” (John 14:1-4)
The Eternal Lens
My eyes welled up with connection: “It’s relational!” The same passage had seemed obscure and transactional at times, but it came alive with loving imagination and expectant intimacy. So much reassurance and tenderness in His words.
Our three year old just started preschool yesterday and the one thing he keeps reiterating to me cheerfully is: “Mommy will come back and get me!” Oh my sweet boy. I will always come back and get you.
If I sat at my table brooding over plans for my littles in their new space, what does it mean that my Abba God is actively preparing a place for me? And why is He doing it? So I can be with Him?! If my heart aches and swells with my son’s trusting confidence that I will never leave him or forsake him, what empathetic joy does Papa God experience when I rest and anticipate His all-knowing, attentive care?
Heaven grew warmer and sweeter in the imagining, and I found my heart leaning with longing toward my now and forever home in Him. In my eternal home I will finally see it all as clearly as God sees me (1 Corinthians 13:12).