In the World, Not of the World

May 18, 2020

When we are in the world, of the world,[1] we see through our personal lenses, through the suffering we’ve borne, through our culture’s lens, through our own subjective self-image. But when we view everything through Christ’s eyes, then we begin to see the truth, to see what is real and true, not our own personal assumptions about life or this person. Jesus helped everyone He met: the socially outcast, the crippled, the leper, the stranger, the centurion’s child and more. He talked to a Samaritan woman at the well; He ate with Pharisees and tax collectors. He saw them all as children of God.

 

That is what happens with us when we are healed of enough stuff in our lives to clear our personal lenses that judge and deny and cast out others that we don’t like. The love that Christ showed everyone is the same love we are to give to everyone, no matter how we would have personally felt about them.

 

If we take off our personal lenses and see as God sees, we are then freed from our limited minds and the lens through which we see the world and can see, really see, what Christ is saying to us about this person or that person. We can see with love, not with judgment. We can see the truth, not the superficial stuff of the person. We can see all that there is, warts and all, and still see him or her as a child made in the image of God and loved and forgiven by Him. That is what we are called to do: to not just believe in Jesus Christ, but to be transformed by Him so that we resemble Him more and more each day and each year that we follow him.

 

That transformation is not something that we can accomplish on our own. Usually we have no idea of how to even begin to do it. But the Lord can. In fact, through His Indwelling Spirit, through the events of our lives, through the people who accompany us on this journey through life, family and friends, all loved ones—if we are at all open to what He is saying to us—He changes how we think, He heals us of our sorrows and hurts, He transforms us until we really do have the mind of Christ and can see everything with His own eyes. And by this transformation we are to called to love everyone with Christ’s love and forgiveness, including ourselves.

 

What, then, is our part in this transformation?  It is our willingness to follow Him wherever He leads us. It is to look at what He highlights in our lives–through what happens to us, through what He says to us, through dreams and friends and books that challenge us–and to acknowledge the truth about ourselves and then to lay it on His altar. Interestingly, He is always looking for our consent, to partner with us in this transformation, all “so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.”[2] He calls us through our free will and asks that we willingly go along with Him.

 

Take the Coronavirus, for example. It is an event that affects everyone in the world. We have to ask ourselves what is this period of dislocation and exposure and isolation asking of me; what is God asking of me right now?  After two months of isolation, even in the midst of my daughter and her family, I am getting bored with the sameness of every day. I have to ask myself, “What is the boredom saying to me? Is there something else, something energizing and enlivening that I am being called to along with the book I am researching on slavery and the scarves I am dyeing and the walks I am taking and the dinners I’m having with the family. What is God saying to me now? I don’t have the answer yet, but I have told the Lord of my boredom and asked “what am I to do?” And I am waiting for the answer. I am sure there will be a new “normal” out there for each of us when we return to the lives we had before this virus.

 

There have been so many times in my life when things didn’t go as I planned. My husband and I had to wait 10 years before our first child was born—definitely not part of our plan. Next we had twin sons! Definitely not on our radar! Every recession affected his earnings because he worked on commission. Not our plan! My husband’s 10-year depression was inconceivable to me. And his death at 61! Halfway through our lives together, I had accepted the Lord as my savior and began to look at what happened to me, to us, as God’s plan and I learned to not resist what came into my life, even my husband’s death. And God helped me through that so beautifully that I never did resent his passing, although I missed him mightily.

 

Now when anything new comes into my life, like the coronavirus or something less disruptive, I just look at it as an invitation to adapt to a new reality and to see what gifts it brings. That’s a long way from my acute resistance to anything I hadn’t planned in my first two decades of adulthood. And I found that I suffer is much less when I don’t resist, until now I look at what is new, make whatever adjustment is needed and I’m on the program.

 

I can do this, because I totally trust God with my life. My faith is boundless. Oh, there is always a period of adjustment—it took me a week to settle into the isolation in mid-March—then it is over.

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Questions to ponder over the week: What is God saying to me through this isolation period? Am I willing to listen? What would I have to change, to give up, to engage with His suggestion(s)? What is He affirming in me? What are the blessings for me and my family in this period of isolation?  Am I open to hear His voice at all?

 

Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who embrace what God is saying to us, who depend on His grace and input, who trust Him implicitly in everything. May we be at peace.

 

If you’d like to receive my blog five days a week in your email, go to patsaidadams.com/by-the-waters-blog/. There is a gift waiting for you.

Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 5.11.20s is entitled, “God in my mind.”

 

I do want to apologize to those who are seeking to befriend me, I just don’t have time to answer your comments. I am so sorry.

 

[1] John 17:14-16, John 15:19

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:16

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