Do you see what I see?

Do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see?

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” Galatians 6:2-5 ESV

Lens, Filter, view, disposition, brokenness, trauma, whatever we want to call it, there is a way we filter information, specifically information that rubs up against wounds or against the places of woundedness that we might not even see yet. This year has held a lot of heartache and pain for me, and one of the things I’m becoming ever more mindful of is that when I am listening to information I am paying attention to what it’s doing inside me.

I have had ample opportunities this year to watch my orphan spirit rise up and try to rule the roost to convince me that I’m not, loved, accepted, wanted, good enough, insert any other phrase of rejection that you can here. In the past I’d cling to this as truth. I’d slowly fade away until I left a situation, or depending on how long I had toiled internally, I’d start treating people as if what I had convinced myself of was what they actually meant or said. But I don’t have to live that way anymore. I have a choice.

We have a choice. We do not have to live in assumption land. You see the truth of the matter is where we choose to live is based on what we recognize as foundational truth. So here is typically my biggest fight. Will I choose to accept and believe the greatest truth that I should cling to?  That Christ paid a debt on the cross that meant for me that I never again will be rejected, unloved, cast out, forgotten, not in the “in crowd”. Or will I choose to believe that since my selfish wants and desires weren’t met and I didn’t get what I wanted, that now all of a sudden the cross is undone and the power unto salvation is no more? Because I didn’t get the accolades, acknowledgment, recognition, title, the invite to the party, love the way I want to receive it, expectations (said or unsaid) that weren’t met? These are real scenarios that I have been faced with this year. Maybe you have to. But here is what I have learned, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 ESV

There are a lot of things that seem right to me when I view them through the wrong lens, but every hard situation and instance is an opportunity to do 2 things. Hold up the things I think and hear against scripture and the second is to involve my brothers and sisters in the process to help me see and hear.

I think one of the hardest yet most humbling things is when you invite someone in to your broken places to let them give insight, correction, and direction. Vulnerability is required in the kingdom of God, if not why would we need the recognition and confession of sin? Vulnerability does 2 things, it softens your heart to consider that you may not have the best vantage point, and secondly it endears others to you if it is the right people that God has placed in your life.

It would be foolish for me to call up someone from high school that I haven’t talked to in 20+ years, yet it makes perfect sense to talk to my wife and my best friends that God is building me together with, but we must give ourselves over to the process. The absolute roadblock to healing is acting as if you have it all together or acting as if the information you have is unequivocally right. The greatest place that I can get to when I’m processing information is the statement “I could be wrong”. “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24 ESV

If I believe and deal based on absolutes that don’t line up with scripture, then I’ve already set myself up to fail the test. If I believe the assumption that someone did something to me out of spite, malice, anger, or whatever but I never get vulnerable and ask, then I’m not testing anything, I’m assuming, and for me, my assumptions, sometimes while they may be correct, often times even when they are right there is still and “Anti-Adam” slant to them. Vulnerability and honesty puts all of those things against scripture and also includes my brothers and sisters to help me see MYSELF and to see RIGHTLY.

Most of the time offense for me has nothing to do with someone else but is more about God exposing what is in my heart, whether it be selfishness, pride, anger, whatever the case may be. But my lens of rejection desperately desires to make it an offense that was perpetrated against me. My lens of rejection desires so deeply to make me the victim. But the truth is that everything, good or bad, passes through or comes from the Lord. I can’t explain it. I can’t explain why. But I know this, the bleakest of situations, is an opportunity to see Gods grace and mercy. I can’t tell you why my dad is gone, but I can tell you that God is good and even though I miss my dad every day and don’t understand why God chose what He chose, I still have an opportunity to grow deeper into him. I have an opportunity to choose what I’ll believe as truth in spite of my feelings, emotions, and understandings.

Sometimes the places and lies we find ourselves believing are more to try to bring revelation about where we are rather than what others are doing to us, but our wounds, rejection, and elevation of self, tries to convince us and others that the problem is external.

My encouragement today is to take inventory of where you find yourself. What are the prevalent thoughts that rule your mind? Do you find yourself dissatisfied and offended with others and how they treat you or exclude you? Do you find yourself feeling let down because you weren’t picked or chosen? Do you find yourself feeling all alone and forgotten? My encouragement is to confront those feelings. Confront them with truth. Confront them with scripture. Confront them with your brothers and sisters. Because even if any of those “what ifs” are true, if you do not deal with you first, it makes for a very messy situation trying to deal with someone else through the lens of unreconciled and unaddressed feelings and emotions.

Something I’ve been telling myself as of late, feelings and emotions are feelings and emotions. They have no power to dictate what I do unless I allow them to. Feel the things, but hold them up against something that can clear out the gunk so that you can see clearly.

I’ll close with this: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17 ESV Love all of you with my whole heart.

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