Caution: this is a long one. If your surroundings allow you twenty minutes, grab a quiet spot and struggle through this one with me.
I am as blind as a bat. Seriously, I sport glasses in bed to see if my husband is listening or sleeping. My mind is cloudy in the morning until that first burst of coffee hits my brain constricting the vessels curiously awakening logical reasoning capabilities. Bread absolutely darkens my mood. There is a direct link between a loaf filled with scrumptious, glutenous binders and my mind hurled head long into the depths of despair for days hating my blessed life and all it contains.
Fear fogs my vision. Presently, there are an estimated 40 ISIS soldiers on American soil whose actions are reportedly monitored by the FBI. This same ISIS who hate me for my nationality and my choice of God. (Radio broadcast with more information here.) The epidemic our nation reasoned would never infect us is here. (Map of updated outbreak here.) A mayor in Houston demands to see sermons, I mean “speeches”, of her subjective choosing. (Article found here.)
Image and materialism certainly deter my thoughts from God’s beauty for my life, or anyone else’s for that matter. First, I look at a face, clothing, demeanor before I check myself and consider THEIR SOUL. This really struck me today as I stood behind a woman in the coffee shop cuddling a Bible with the word PINK plastered across her butt. A pinnacle of God’s Creation holding a Book that breathes purity, holiness, love for character into a woman advertising her body and this company who hates women as shown by their exploitation of them. In no way am I judging her. Although, I do not personally own PINK butt signs, I most certainly have in my closet clothing that suggests I desire the double take of men whose eyes do not belong to me.
Another zinger bolted my eyes and heart open at a stoplight following the coffee conviction. The radio was airing a discussion of beheadings, torture, and war while I stared at a billboard telling me to love my neck-an advertisement for facial plastics. In my town, I have the opportunity to change my head to gain more shallow approval. In other towns, people’s heads are also cut-off.
Days like today, I feel the enemy is winning in America, in my town, in my own family. I have allowed him to affectively distract us, ME, by blurring our vision to the reality of the world. The reality of what is at stake. While I sip my Starbucks and correct papers, humans are brutally dying. In my own town, as I take my kids to music lessons, there are kids hiding in their closets from parents who only touch them to beat them. As I have dinner with my husband, there are marriages who are fighting boredom with lust for stuff and bodies of those not entrusted to them. And what am I doing to help clear other’s vision? Nothing. I am sipping lattes and googling fall fashion.
My heart hurts today because my vision has been cloudy for much too long. I find myself continually asking, “What should I do?” “What is my purpose for today?” “How much can I get done today?” Notice the common denominator? I.
I clouds my vision.
Jesus clears it.
What if Jesus came back on Thanksgiving this year? My sister made a statement to me recently that drove me to my knees (She often does this to me.). She said that she so wanted to draw nearer to Jesus so that when He does come, it doesn’t feel like meeting a distant uncle. I know that feeling.
The, “Hey, I’ve heard a lot about ya!” followed by awkward handshake or A-frame hug.
“I’m Johanna. Have you heard of me?” cringe while awaiting His answer.
He is my Brother, I want to race to hug Him.
I love old hymns. Nostalgia perhaps as these were the words I sung as a child surrounded by family in an old traditional church. Even though I didn’t understand what I was singing, the continual washing over has caused these verses to take up permanent residence in my heart, being the very lining of it at times. I do enjoy most contemporary Christian music as well. I sing these lyrics with just as much gusto, yet, when the old hymns are played, the hands go up. Maybe this is because there are less “I’s, Me’s, My Needs” listed in the classics. And most of the oldies are straight WORD.
While praying, this old hymn came to mind.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me save that Though art.
Though my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy Presence my Light.
Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my True Word;
I ever with Thee and Though with me, Lord;
Thou my Great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my Soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise thou me Heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance now and always:
Thou and Thou only first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
According to these lyrics, He is my:
Lord of my heart
Best thought by day or by night
Sword for the fight
First in my heart
High King of Heaven
Heart of my own Heart
Ruler of all
Concentration on who He is will clear my vision. Continually remembering He is Ruler of all will wash away the fog of fear. Reminding myself He desires to be first in my heart effectivley removes the blinders from my mind hung there by materialism and man’s opinion of me allowing me to see the souls of those around me.
I didn’t get the faith in Jesus thing until into my 20’s. I still don’t fully comprehend it. I do know I want more of it. This is where I want to be so greedy. Because, I think if I allow my greediness for Jesus to run rampant consuming my whole body, it just might CLEAR MY VISION.
Below is a link to a band singing the truth above. If you like, hit play, close your eyes, and pray with me that these words would ring true in our hearts starting today.
Stumbling along in this race of life beside you.