By Andy Wade –
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8
It’s morel mushroom season across the USA. I love wandering through the wilderness looking for these delicacies (which I hear go for as much as $50/pound in some places!). Hopping off my motorcycle and grabbing my knife and bag I venture off under the canopy of trees.
Even though my mind and eyes are set for the hunt, somehow I can’t see them at first. Eyes fixed on the forest floor, slowly scanning side to side, with great anticipation I anxiously wait to spot the first shroom. “Where are they?” I wonder, all the while knowing that I’ve surely passed by many already, even trampling on a few.
I think we get this way in life. With all the madness around us our eyes can grow dim to seeing all the goodness that is there, often right in front of us. After I spot my first mushroom, before I cut it, I like to look at it there in the ground. Perhaps partially covered in leaves or poking up under some sticks, I stare at it, really take it in. I’m training my eyes to “see”.
It seems every outing is like this – I’ve even parked my bike almost right on top of them! But once I see my first morel I start to notice them everywhere. It’s amazing how just seeing one and really noticing it changes my perspective and makes me much more able to see another, and another, and another.
Could this be part of what the Apostle Paul is getting at in the passage above? There’s a lot going on in our world and it often feels overwhelming. It can be easy to get discouraged, frustrated, and negative. Effortlessly, it seems, we begin to see ugliness in life everywhere. And with constant assaults on our senses from the Internet, TV, and radio, you can almost taste the negativity, the fear, and hopelessness. When swept up in it I can feel my body tense. Today’s “Thriving Thursday” is an invitation to relax, to chill out and breathe deeply of God.
Yes, there are things that need changing. This is not an invitation to ignore those things. Rather this is a call to stop for a minute, refocus, recalibrate, and renew. “Rejoice!” the Apostle Paul exhorts not once, but twice. Yes we have anxieties, but we have a God who is bigger than our fears and concerns. A call to activism may well flow from the heart of God, but if we engage in it from our anxiety and anger we’re more likely to make matters worse.
To find that place of peace even in the vacuum of uncertainty, we have to see in a new way. Paul challenges us to do this by looking at the positive, the “praiseworthy”. While this could be seen as trite, or worse, outright denial, Paul is actually calling us to something deeper and very profound. At the core of every story, every crisis, every fear, God is present, ready to act. But we will not see it unless we have eyes to see.
How do you train your eyes to see the new things happening in your area?
How do you train you eyes to see “old things” with fresh perspective?