When I was a child I was scared of the dark. Not because I thought there was a monster living under my bed but mostly because I was afraid of runaway prisoners breaking into my house. In the town I grew up there was a prison and I am not sure if it was maximum security or just a juvenile detention center, but in my 9 year old mind it was the worst of the worst. I think it is also because my grandmother would always mention to my mom every time someone escaped, which seemed like a daily occurrence to my imagination. So at night I would lay awake and hear every creak, groan or tree branch that moved outside my window. I thought for sure I would be stolen by the time I was ten and forced to sell old shoes on the side of the road. My eyes would be wide open as the shadows pasted over my walls and what I thought I saw in the shadows would lay route fear in my heart.
Eyes can be very deceiving. We think we see something that’s not there. We see someone’s facial expression and think they don’t like us. We look and see ourselves in the mirror and what we “think” we see is different then what others probably see. Eye’s can get us into trouble when it comes to looking at things we shouldn’t or even comparing ourselves to others. Eye’s can dissolution ourselves into being afraid of shadows or of possibilities.
The problem with my 9 year old eyes is that they spoke directly to my little heart. I wasn’t just taking in visual information from the shadows on my wall, I was letting those visuals speak to my heart. I have done this with other things in my life, letting my eyes speak to my heart louder than reality. I see something therefore I think I know.
I have even let my eyes dictate how my heart prays. I visualize the outcome of how I think God should do it and then I am disappointed in my heart when it doesn’t “look” the way I wanted it to.
“They eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:20-23
If my eyes are the illuminator then they are shedding light at what’s in my heart. What I am visually taking in, what I am paying attention to – shows where my heart is. It means that if I am looking at fear, doubt, sin, comparison or anything that isn’t of God then my entire life will reflect that. I may deceive some people, but eventually the facade fades and what everyone sees will be the real me.
I also need to look at things with spiritual eyes and not just my physical eyes. When I see the person homeless on the road, I need to “look” past what my eyes see and look at that person the way Jesus would. When I am scared of a situation, I need to see it with spiritual eyes and remember that God is greater then what I can visually see.
“Prayer is the difference between seeing with our physical eyes and seeing with our spiritual eyes.” Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle
When I see someone lash out in a situation, maybe I need to step back and see it with spiritual eyes. Maybe that person is really hurting inside and that’s why they are reacting that way. I always say to my kids, “with everything we say, even if its joking, there is always a little bit of truth in it.” It can go the same with my eyes… in everything I look at there is always a little bit of truth.
I want my eyes to reflect what I want to be on the inside. I want honesty and truth and I want to be a reflection of Jesus. I want my family and friends to see that what I am looking at truly reflects my real hearts desires. I don’t want anyone to see darkness, including me. I want to be seen as a new creation.
It really all comes down to this: I want the eyes of my heart to reflect Jesus. I want to “see” things the way He does and I want to then follow it up with a life that is a lamp to others. I won’t let the fear I see speak to my heart and rule me. I will let the eyes of my heart only look at what lights up my life and not bring me down. If I could go back and talk to my 9 year old self I would say, “what you see can control you – so only look at what is good, pleasing and sheds light into your whole life.”
“For you are my lamp, O Lord, and the Lord illuminates my darkness.” 2 Samuel 22:29