Do you worry where you’ll be a year from now? Are you frustrated with the same old way of doing things? Do you wonder if your future looks brighter than your current circumstances? Do you have unwanted heartache and pain? Are these intrusive questions unnervingly reminding you of an infomercial, yet you feel compelled and drawn closer to the screen to learn more about the offer of answering your relatable questions?
Well, I don’t have an invention guaranteed to rid you of unwanted body hair for life — restoring hours of productivity for tasks more important than shaving, waxing, or threading. I can’t offer you a cleverly curved nail-like gadget for hanging a thousand pound gorilla securely on your living room wall — ridding you of home decor frustration forever. And there is no magic potion to make your unrequited love fall head over heels for you tomorrow — or your money back. What I do have is a life altering proposition to end your hunger for more of the temporal, extinguish your need to medicate the pain, and replace it with a craving for eternal satisfaction. Open your mind to thinking outside of your current box — your current standing in life.
My two and a half year old is an out of the box thinker, as perhaps most two and a half years olds are. She loves going to the park, where she could go down the slide two hundred plus times and never grow tired. She loves the butterflies in her tummy, free-falling feeling, because a slide at the park is the greatest ride her young life has ever experienced. Her favorite snack is, quite simply, a pile of crackers. She stacks one on top of the other until she has created, at least in her mind, a castle.
“Yook, Mommy! I make a castle!” She gleams from her high chair, marveling at this cattywampus pile of salt covered carbs, she believes she has cleverly crafted into an architectural structure fit for royalty.
A few weeks ago we drove down the road from our home toward our church and the highway ahead of us curved uphill. As we smoothly cruised up and over this hill my daughter chirped on the way down, “Giant slide! Car go down slide!” What was just a hill on a highway to me was to her a giant, tummy tingling slide made for our car. During this very same car ride just moments later we passed a group of office buildings. A spark popped in my child’s mind as she gazed out the window at the buildings.
“WOWWW! Castles, Mommy! Pretty Castles!” These office buildings, for whatever reason, are shades of purple, yellow, and red, and even though to me they were nothing more than buildings full of people at work, in the brilliant mind of a two and half year old, they were the most intriguing and dazzling group of castles.
I am just shy of having lived twenty three years, and for a fleeting few years in my childhood I’m sure that I possessed the capability of looking at ordinary objects in an extraordinary way. But something happened along the path of life and growing older. I experienced, taste by taste, what this groaning earth and it’s weary people had to offer — a taste of the mundane; a taste of rejection; a taste of bullying and being bullied; a taste of shame; a taste of heartache; a taste of pain. Throughout my few years of adulthood I have watched as the tasks of every day life grew dull and even special events and celebrations became slightly lackluster. If you happened to live in the same house from the time you were a small child to your teen years, perhaps you have felt what I felt on some occasion, to some extent. As a small for my age five year old I thought my 1400 square foot house was very large, especially at Christmas time. The front room in which we placed our tree seemed enormous and the tree itself was of world record size. But it seems like one day in my hormonal preteen years I woke up and my house just didn’t seem as big, now that I was taller in stature and older in age. In fact, this house felt small, and the Christmas tree and it’s surroundings seemed to have dwarfed in size that holiday season. What had once been a magical Christmas room, full of unearthed treasures and imaginative songs of baby Jesus, looked like nothing more than a small room with a fake pine tree and a few gifts. Had the house and tree shrunk? Doubtful. But my ability to see the majesty, beauty, and intrigue in the decorated home had surely dulled, overshadowed by my lacking middle school social status and Christmas break studying.
Our perspective changes when we allow our circumstances to choose for us which eyes we see through — the eyes of this world or the eyes of God. Sometimes this decision seems voluntary and sometimes it does not, however, we always have a choice. I use to (and sometimes still) see myself as shy, timid, boring, not worthy of doing or saying anything great. Some of those beliefs I thought were engrained into my personality since birth — as in there was nothing I could do to change them. Others I chose to label myself after I encountered one of those putrid tastes of rejection, humiliation, bullying, etcetera. As I have learned to converse with and hear from God, He has yet to place me in any of those categories, rather he denounces each negative label I have allowed my life to collect. Each time He has shown me how He sees me I’ve had vivid visions of brilliantly colored tropical fish or encounters with iridescent dragonflies in loud shades of blue, pink, purple, and green.
Neither the dragonfly nor tropical fish was made to blend in with the rest of their surroundings. He has spoken liveliness and bravery into my heart, causing awareness of the way I view my life and current circumstances. He has lead me to change the lenses I am seeing through. He did not design me to settle for the hand this world dealt me, nor does He desire for you, another one of His ingenious works of art, to accept defeat or triviality as a way of life. When we refuse to indulge these tastes of labels and lies the enemy has fed us, sometimes since birth, and seek God with our questions, longings, and future desires, our dull, dirtied lenses are wiped clean by the creator of all things bright, bold, and beautiful. Our destiny comes into focus and our inner thoughts transform from, is this all there is to I know God has more than this for
John 10:10 (NKJV, emphasis added)
When we see with the eyes of God even the plain and boring or pain and heartache have abounding, glorious potential. You are not the “Bobby Bummer” your friends say you are. You are not the screw up your parents have spoken over you since birth. And you will accomplish more than you could imagine in your own mind. Your were not created to merely go through the motions of day to day monotony, struggling financially, emotionally, or physically. Jesus came and paid the ultimate price of death to save you from these strongholds. Collect your baggage and take it to the feet of the King. He is waiting to toss it all into oblivion and give you abundant life in its place.
To all who mourn in Israel (this applies to you, too), He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair…
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT, commentary added)
God is more like a two and a half year old than we might think. He is full of unconditional love for you. He is clever, creative, and imaginative. He is an out of the box thinker. His plans for your life are much wilder and more thrilling than you could ever begin to conjure when looking at life from your own jaded perspective. Choose to dream of where He could take you, what He wants to achieve through you, and who He says you are. Allow your dreams to fuel your imagination, clean your lenses, and view yourself and the world around you in an out of the box way. He longs with great ardor to restore your ability to see the ordinary as extraordinary. He desperately desires you to experience what long ago lost its excitement as a new and wholly captivating, butterflies in your tummy, free-falling, greatest ride of your life kind of experience. Search for the treasure beneath the facade of labels and lies, bitter tastes and sour smells. Reject another gadget, intimate encounter, friendship, or job that will only entertain you temporarily. Dare to be brave and embrace standing out in this great big world that encourages blending in. You have full-service, 24 hour access to a God whose offer, solution, plan, and answers heal and propel you into a life with more grandeur than any ephemeral hype could ever advertise. Seize every opportunity to expose camouflaged radiance in yourself and the world around you. Leap unabashedly into the adventure He has devised uniquely for you.
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree.