First thing this morning, leaving my driveway to take my son to school, I realized my visibility through my windshield was quite poor. My windshield had a dewy blanket left on it, and the problem was that my car is, let’s say, less than perfectly clean. I turned on my windshield wipers, they swiped back and forth only to smear more and more filth across my windshield, causing less visibility, defeating my need and purpose. Then I pressed the button to spray the washer fluid, only to smear even more and cause even less visibility. Have you experienced this before? Or, just me? 🙂
I’m in a class currently that is challenging me to think about the mindsets that I view my relationships, my ethics, my purpose, and my daily tasks through. What is my lens? How is my visibility? How often do we trudge through our day only viewing the moments we live in with an entitled, selfish, inward focus? To be honest, I believe that we do more than we realize. I do, sometimes automatically, and my emotions signal me.. feeling irritable, short fused, or even sorry for myself. Let’s look at a simple, little heart checklist:
- Am I defensive and immediately annoyed anytime someone disagrees with me, questions my viewpoint, or has criticism for me?
- Do I gossip? We all know when we do, and we justify as we do it.
- Do I dismiss my own weaknesses or sins with little justifications inside, only to look at others with more condemnation? (I was tired, lonely, sad, had a bad day, not treated right, etc.)
- Do I have a woe-is-me attitude? No one else understands me, and no one else tries as hard as me, and no one else appreciates me…
- Do I expect other people to be interested and enthralled with my pursuits, but don’t show similar interests for theirs?
It’s a start to cleaning our windshield!
There are many more reflective questions that we could add to this list, but intentional heart prodding helps us find a starting point. Selfishness and an entitled lens leads to losing our clear visibility directing our needs and purpose. We don’t see others, or ourselves in the light of who God created us to be when we allow only our self-gain to direct our pathways.
So, how did God create us to be?
Quite simply. . . To Love and Glorify Him. To Love Others.
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
Matthew 22:37-38, ESV.
Changing our visibility doesn’t just happen with only acknowledgment, it happens when we work on it; accepting responsibility and making changes.
What are some ways we can do this?
Give God each moment of our day. We are His creation, His children, and the display of His image on this earth. Choose to reflect His Character.
We must know His character; What He says about us, others. We must continually sink deeper and deeper in the knowledge of His love. How do we know? We begin by studying God’s word, and processing it out with others who seek and follow Him.
Be grateful. Notice the mass amounts of blessings and surprises of grace in each day. The sunrises, smiles, good meals, friendships, and so much more. Not only should we count them, but we should act. Say thank-you. Tell God and others about our appreciation. Cultivate a culture of gratitude in your soul.
Practice otherness. Tip your waiter or waitress. Be kind and attentive. Fill out the survey form for the store employee who asks you (literally takes 5 minutes, and you know you *have time* to spend that on Facebook) it may give them a raise eventually or needed kudos from their place of employment. Let someone into your lane. Volunteer. Spend time with others.
Our Creator said that it’s better to give than receive.. He also said that what we do for the least of these, we do for Him. He knows us! He made us. When we function this way, it not only benefits others, but it gives our soul true peace.
If we don’t check and change our lens for the way we view things, trying to fix things on the surface level will be difficult, tiring, and frustrating. This can lead to, “Look at all I do for everyone else!” And, that is not true gratefulness and loving others, right? That’s just more about ME. Just smearing the dirt more on my windshield. Checking the very motives and conditions of my heart and then acting on it, gives it all a good cleaning… giving me the visibility I need.
Hope you find this encouraging, it’s definitely all been working overtime on this old heart, and I wanted to share with you.
(By the way, I plan to wash my car tomorrow for those concerned!)