we get ourselves into trouble. everything gets clouded and starts to swirl. the waves on the ocean that looked like they would have made great surfing, suddenly are monsters trying to devour us with one gulp. when our hearts begin to rage and cry out we start grasping like a drowning man for whatever is stable around us. we begin, like Peter, to sink under the waves.
he had just been walking on the water. ON. THE. WATER. all the circumstances around him were the same from one minute to the next, with one exception – his perspective had changed. for better or worse this is the plight and glory of every person who walks the earth. our perspective is everything. it rules the day, or night as it were, it determines what it is we are facing – monster or defeated foe.
i lived a life of fear. i cowered and hid and shook under my covers at night, drenched with fright and sweat, but too afraid to poke my head out from the safety of the heavy blanket. this was literal for me pretty much up until i got married and wasn’t alone in the dark anymore. it was also figurative – i hid and cowered inside the shell of who i was, not daring to peek out into the much-too-bright-light of scrutiny. i was afraid of what “they” would say about me, of who “they” would say i was – and that it wouldn’t be a good thing. It was the ambiguous “they” because everyone around me had a chance to chime in – i looked to whoever was around to tell me who i was, to give me value – and while you might read this and think, yeah i don’t do that, i know better – it turns out it’s something most of us do all the time without even being aware of it. i have been especially vulnerable to this with people i’ve looked up to. i thought, they should know – they’re strong, they’re leaders – they should know what i’m capable of and be able to see what’s really in me and tell me where i belong. and while those strong leaders around us might have some insight into who we are, it isn’t their job to define us which puts a value on us.
when we are children it’s up to our parents to begin this affirmation of who we really are, but they don’t just pull it out of the air or make it up. it’s our job as parents to listen – we ask the Father from the time our baby is in the womb who this child is, what is his/her name? what are they like? what gifts do they carry? because from the time they are conceived, this child carries all the qualities and gifts that they will ever carry – it is who they are, it is intrinsic in who they were created to be. which points back to the Creator. He is the One that knows us, down to the most hidden detail, buried in the most secret places inside our hearts, and only He can tell us what He made. So when we begin to ask who we are, He is the only one who can tell us. He is the only one who knows.
I was thinking about this yesterday and i saw it like lenses. Everyone views the world through a lens of their given perspective. Everyone has a lens there is no exception to this. It might be emotional, logical, pessimistic, hopeful – the adjectives can go on for as many people as there are on the earth to describe all the potential ways we see things. we all look through some sort of filter that defines us and the way we see the world and the way the world sees us. The only perspective however that is the True North for us – that points us in the right direction, is what the Father says about us. He made us, He’s the only one who really knows, and when we accept what He says about us, our hearts/perspectives line up with His and we see the world around us through his lens which is free of distortion and glare. His lens enables us to not only see ourselves the way He created us to be, but also to see the world around us as He sees it. But what we often do is exchange His lens for another.
I realize that this is what I’ve often done. I’ve gone into situations where i am less sure of myself and in my insecurity I throw off the Father’s perfect lens and begin asking those around me to give me another one. I’m asking them to tell me who I am, what I’m capable of and where I belong. But they can’t tell me, they can’t give me a place and establish me and if they do, it can never satisfy me. I will always be looking for more affirmation, tell me again who i am, tell me again where my place is – tell me again… and I get caught in this desperate need of constantly being affirmed. Affirmation is wonderful. Hearing a confirming word about who the Father says you are is always life giving, but when we begin to look outside of Him and what He has spoken to us, the waves begin to overtake and crush us and we begin to sink. We forget we are capable of walking on those waves.
and then we blame and the anger and the hurt crash over us. we blame those people around us who were “supposed to” tell us we belong, who were “supposed to” see all the wonderful gifts in us and put us in a position to use those gifts – and we get angry and disappointed and hurt and cut off from each other – when it was never their job – or even their right to establish us. No one has the right to define your value except for your Creator. When we put aside His lens and defer to another, only heartbreak can follow.
We are beautifully and skillfully made with greater beauty and power than we have even been able to hope for. Innately we know this about ourselves and know there is more than we’re seeing. Yesterday I repented (changed my thinking) from looking through other – lesser – lenses to set my perspective. I choose to stop looking for other powerful people to tell me who i am and to keep agreeing with what the Father says about me and I know that when I do, I will just begin to BE who He says I am – Then all those things – all those dreams of my heart that I have mistakenly looked to others to release me into, will begin to unfold naturally in my life… and what a beautiful life it is.