You may have noticed semi-trucks with safety decals on the back of their trucks stating, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you,” or “The No Zone,” with blue highlights of unsafe areas around the truck. They are designed to warn you of well-known, possibly deadly areas around their truck that they cannot see. These blind spots can be fatal for whomever is in them and the truck driver as well.
I was driving home one day on a small two-lane road when traffic came to a standstill. Someone disregarded all of the warning signs on the truck and came alongside the truck as it was making a wide right-turn. Not seeing the car in its blind spot, the truck driver proceeded into the turn and the car slammed into the side gas tank, rupturing the tank, leaking diesel onto the street and into the drainage ditch. Thankfully, the diesel did not ignite , but there was still a mess to clean and we had to wait for the hazmat team to soak up all of the fuel. While we all may not drive trucks, we do have our own blind spots.
Do you know where yours are, these areas of our lives that something could be creeping up unexpectedly?
What’s in the blind spot is not always something bad, but it can be. It could be a beautiful view of a mountain range in your side mirror or a motorcyclist, a surprise promotion or a family illness, falling in love or a spousal affair, or one of an infinite number of situations. Why they happen varies from ignorance to distractedness, a busy life, to not knowing what clues to look for, and even literal blindness.
As a child, I had a freak accident where, floating in the middle of a lake on a tractor innertube, my brothers and I, as brothers often do, started wrestling and jumping on top of our tubes. As I came up over the edge of my tube, from under the water, my brother released his grip of the metal stem used to inflate the tube. The tip of the stem struck my eye and, with intense pain, I fell back into the water and struggled to get back to shore, wailing in pain.
Thirty-something years later, during a visit to my doctor’s office, we got on the topic of blind spots. I’d recently noticed that in that same spot where I got hit with the tractor tire stem, I now have a blind spot. I noticed one day as I pointed at something that I saw only the lower half of my finger. The tip of my finger disappeared as if it was stuck in a vortex of time and space. I pulled my hand down a little and I could see the whole thing again. I moved my finger up even further than before and I could see my hand and the tip of my finger, but the base of my finger was gone. It was the oddest thing I have seen.
Mr. Doctor said it was likely some sort of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, explaining how the human mind will fill in the blanks with random images or samples of the area around the blind spot, because it can’t make sense of the lack of information it is receiving.
In my case, my mind is likely filling in the void created by the injury to my eye, blending the surrounding area over the blind spot. It’s not a big portion of my vision, however it’s enough to make me conscious. My awareness of it allows for me to look around to ensure that my mind is not playing tricks on me.
The same principle applies to our spiritual lives. Many of us have been hurt or injured by someone or something in our lives. Our mind’s defense mechanisms put a wall around that pain so it isn’t injured anymore and so the pain will subside. We eventually become numb to it and just start looking past it. God didn’t want it to be this way though. We were created to bring everything to Him, to be able to see things from His point of view.
The belief that the hurt is too great to address and there is no hope of it stopping is often a symptom of the real issue, a belief that God doesn’t hear, doesn’t care, or isn’t there. Could it be that we just can’t see Him because we have become blind to His presence? What if our minds are just playing tricks on us, covering up His existence and all that He has done for us?
Psalm 147:3 says that God “…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” What if God is inside the walls of that pain waiting for you to peek in and allow Him to heal your broken heart and bind up that wound? What if that blind spot is just where we need to look for healing?
Jesus left the disciples, but He did not leave them alone, nor are you alone.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:25-27
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
Author of What Lies Beneath: From Lies to Love and’
We’d only been dating for three weeks, but Steve had already figured out he was going to marry me. I, on the other hand, was more practical than that. In a few months, I’d be moving to a new city in a new state, a thousand miles away from him. It would be too hard. It was doomed to fail before it began. I was so certain.
It was time to say goodbye. (Continue Reading)
Today, I’m over at Single Matters looking at the impact fear makes on our lives. I almost let fear ruin one of the best things in my life. Are you letting fear make the decisions in your life?
Sitting easy at a coffee shop, hugging the warmth of my cup, struggling to know where to begin when the hardness pounds me upon waking. Having opened my eyes to a message of desperation and despair, beginning a day with heartbreak where hope was anticipated, I could pray for so many answers, but the only true answer is Jesus. For my loved ones in the midst of messy custody battles, I hurt, I ache, I pray. I want smoothness and ease and resolution. I want safety and communication and forgiveness. But, most of all, I want Jesus to be on both sides of the wall that now separates. With wars and disease, genocide and slavery everywhere I look, everything I read; with marriages on the rocks and children caught in between; the walls stand tall, seeming to grow each day, between the sides and differing perspectives.
When I look around, I see heartache and very real, very intense pain. I see children abused, ripped from the only families they know, and oftentimes returned to the place where the abuse first occurred. I see little ones used as pawns in domestic disputes. I see the depth of pain when the color of skin divides. I see the hardened hearts, attempting to protect themselves from further attack. I see the disillusioned and the bitter.
Can we look just beyond? Can the eyes of our hearts – covered by the rubble left from a lifetime of battles – can they begin to see again?
There was a time when life and knowledge grew on trees and we could see them. There was a time when the sound of rustling leaves we heard was the swinging legs of the Almighty walking in the Garden – where physical and spiritual met, where our eyes could perceive with equal clarity the physical items before us as well as the spiritual. This time will come again.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations…And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-2, 5)
While the hurt and broken and disillusioned may feel stuck like a pawn in the middle of God’s twisted game, the truth is just beyond. God isn’t pushing us around on a giant chess board. He’s never wanted control of robotic, unfeeling, disconnected pawns. He longs for mutual love, which is a choice, which can never be forced. So the choices we make and the choices other imperfect humans make are what move us. Some of those humans listen to the truth of God, some listen to lies of the enemy, but each one directly intertwines with and affects others.
Those things we ask for – clarity, justification, revenge, the upholding of our cause – those things, themselves, aren’t the answers. The answer is freedom. “Freedom is when you engage the presence of God and become the person you are created and redeemed to be.” (Bob Hamp)
And freedom is found in truth.
And truth is found in Christ.
In a relationship, not a religion or a set of rules.
In intimate knowing, not intellectual ascent.
Adam and Eve looked upon life dangling from a tree branch. Jews and Romans alike stood looking up at the Source of life hanging on a tree. And all forsook life in favor of a lie. Their intentions weren’t to seek out death. The lie appeared to them to be wisdom.
What brokenness to do you face today? What heartache and uncertain thing? Without a doubt, the enemy will take that difficulty, that pain, and give you his interpretation, full of lies. Will you listen?
Or, will you choose to believe that God has a word about that very same situation? Will you step out and hear the truth He’s speaking? Will you choose His life over the lie?
The act of sinning is different than sin itself. Much like telling the truth is different than truth, living is different from life and dying is different from death.
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 NLT
The essence of sin, not just the result, is death. When Adam performed the act of sinning he opened himself and the world to the essence and root behind the act: death. The act of sinning is simply doing something outside or defiantly against the will of God. The root behind it, death, is simply the absence of God, the source of life itself.
If God is the source of all life, when we choose to reject God from even the smallest part of our life, we are replacing His life within us with death. Whether it is our will, our eyes, our finances, our time, or anything else, that aspect of our life becomes dead. Death, like cancer, can spread aggressively, influencing other choices and beliefs. And, before we know it, we have believed lie after lie after lie, kicking our God and Creator out of our life.
If the removal of life causes death to enter, the entry of life causes death to be no more. That’s what Christ came to take care of. He chose to come to this earth not only to bear the burden of our sins (the actions), but to replace the root, the essence of death we have welcomed into our lives. He breaks through, revealing lies through His truth, and restores the death within us with the life of the Creator.
Have you had your Jesus today? Have you had His Truth and Love poured over your life today?
God I yield myself to you; please replace the death in me. Please continue to point out what areas of my life do not reflect or honor You. Please infiltrate those areas with Your grace, love, mercy, and LIFE. Thank you for being The Source of Life and caring about me enough to share it with me.
Living is the process of letting life flow through you. Ask Him how you can share Him with someone today!
“Felling”: To cut or break down…
So let’s talk about feelings. Specifically about one great lie this world tells us: Following your heart is the key to living successfully.
In our vernacular, we consider that our thoughts originate in our minds and our feelings originate in our hearts. Some of us may try to be smart in making our decisions by thoughtfully processing the pros and cons. But there are those times, quite often, when our feelings direct our decisions rather than the other way around.
Okay…I’m a woman. I have feelings…lots of them. All the time. And, usually, I have no trouble expressing them. Neither does my daughter or my best friend or the members in my women’s Bible study. We feel things deeply. And that is wonderful! That is designed. That is as it should be. We are not machines made to live life in complete objectivity.
But, the problem comes when we believe the lie that our feelings are reliable guides, that they can be trusted. Feelings ebb and flow like the tide, varying with a change as drastically as a pendulum on a ticking clock.
When embarking on a dangerous journey, to unknown places, it is wise to follow a guide to ensure you arrive safely where you intended to go. But our feelings don’t always point us in the same direction, much less the right one. Feelings just aren’t reliable guides to help us get anywhere safely.
So, if feelings are so unpredictable and unstable, what could they be good for? Feelings are horrible guides, but they can be excellent indicators.
Feelings communicate that something is happening. They tell us something about how people or circumstances affect us. But they do a terrible job of guiding us to successfully respond.
When I feel angry or offended or saddened, there’s something going on that needs to be addressed. It’s so much easier, and definitely tempting, to try and escape those feelings…to grab that novel…to pick up the remote…to lose myself in a project. But denying the presence of those feelings doesn’t deny the presence of a problem. It merely postpones healing.
This season I’m in is full of feelings, many of them not so pleasant. But, I’ve been glossing over many of them for so long, that if I don’t hand them over to a trustworthy God, I may do permanent damage to my heart or the hearts of those around me.
So, when I feel offended, or hurt, or looked-over, I’m now seeing that perhaps it isn’t so much about what the other person should do to fix it, but that it’s more about me entrusting my heart and all its indicators over to God. I need to hear His plan, His truth, to be willing to open up areas I’ve closed off or hardened. I need to stop the escape and be willing to do the work, which may be hard and painful, but will certainly yield far better results than my tendency to “follow my heart.”
Are you following your feelings in some area of your life? If so, how’s that working out? Are you willing to take note of your feelings, while still choosing to trust God to provide your truth? Are you ready to “fell” the lie of following your feelings and, instead, follow His direction?