I’ve lived in an apartment for the last 2 years. It has certainly been way different than living in my home with a beautiful garden. One of the biggest changes has been in the view: from attractive to ugly.
If I look down I see a large ugly parking lot and a stinky dumpster.
But if I look up and straight out, I see people’s homes and trees. That’s better, but then there are these unsightly telephone poles and wires ruining my view.
Yuk! But what do I expect for a city view?
Then, of course, there’s all that noise from motorbikes and beeping vehicles.
In a lot of ways, my setting reminds me of what a broken world I live in.
To help offset the distracting unsightliness I’ve placed several (well many) plants and bird feeders on my patio. Now I can sit on my patio with at least a little appeal. (See the collage below.)
I’m so glad that our minds can tune stuff out. However, that takes effort—and a lot of it for easily distracted types like me. The good news is that we can train ourselves if we choose.
I am the one who chooses where I will fix my gaze.
I can focus on the sinful trash of this world
On the fact that my Savior has conquered sin and that I am no longer in that dumpster!
I can look out and complain about the ever-present troublesome power lines and looming poles of trials in this life.
I can look to Jesus to help me endure as I look forward to that spectacular un-marred view in the future.
I can stare at all the negative around me, and be consumed with it all.
I can zoom in on my pretty flowers—the good things the Lord has done and will do. The closer I look at the flower (good things), the more the ugliness is blocked out.
I can stop and smile at the amusing chirping activity at the bird feeder, and be reminded that God is taking care of all of their needs just like He will take care of all of mine (Mat 10:29); comforted with the knowledge that God values me way more than them (Lk 12:6-7).
As I sit on my patio, I can look closely and admire the beauty of the individual flowers nearby and reflect on His beauty. I can smell the fragrance of a nearby sweet alyssum and be stimulated to offer my life as a sweet fragrance of sacrifice to my Redeemer, instead of stinking up the joint with complaints.
And as I sit in my comfortable patio chair, I can recall the many times God has comforted me.
God is up there somewhere, the full enjoyment of His presence is out of my reach right now. But He is also with me as I sit on my balcony thinking about Him, reading His word, and looking forward with great anticipation to the fulfillment of His promises.
Yes, there is much ugliness in this fallen world marring our view. But if we choose to open our eyes and look through God’s Son-glasses and get His perspective, all of that ugliness will fade away as we gaze upon Jesus. I’m choosing to gaze upon Him.
What will you choose to focus on?
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:2-3)
Title photo by Ansley Ventura on Unsplash
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.