what you choose to see

The popular child’s game “I Spy” has been around since (at least) the 18th century. My family plays a variation on road trips where you have to find objects based on the order of the alphabet. And when you’re going through the middle of nowhere and can’t find anything that starts with a “V” or a “Z,” it can get very competitive!

What’s interesting about that game is that your brain tells you what to focus on, what you’re looking for, so that you can find it quicker. And if your detective skills are sharper than most, it becomes easier and easier to win.

See, you are what you choose to see.

Your brain is a muscle. And like all muscles, it forms a memory (pun not intended). Negativity feeds negativity. Bad habits feed bad habits. Interests feed other interests. And if that’s the case — which I believe it is — then you can logically assume that you become what you choose to focus on. If you’re like me and believe that your eyes are a window to your soul, we should be way more concerned with what our eyes are seeing!

So, let’s explore three things that we tend to focus on that determines who we are:

1. Who’s At Fault
We all know those people that when something happens, their finger comes a waggin’, waiting to point the blame somewhere other than themselves. Finding fault in others is a horrible habit to form because it shows that we’re not willing to humble ourselves into submission.

“But I don’t want to submit, Lindsay! Submission is weakness!” My friend, I understand how you think that’s true because there were moments that I was taught the same, but Jesus had a different teaching than what you expect…

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. – Romans 13:1

The first one is pretty unanimous if we’re all reading the same Book: following God means you must set aside your pride and your humanity in order to serve him and his will.

Submission in the second verse is the equivalent of loving your neighbor. As we see in 1 Corinthians, love and selfishness cannot coexist and therefore love should win through — wait for it — submission.

And according to my Facebook feed, it seems the world currently has the most trouble with the third expression of submission: governing authorities. I know all too well how touchy this is so I will just say, “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid” and digress… 🙂

The bottom line of choosing to see fault is this: When you opt to focus on who is at fault in a scenario, it’s best to go with the playground rules of “If you’re pointing a finger at me, there’s three fingers pointing back at you.”

2. What’s Easy
Dust off your Madonna cassette and sing “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” with me! (I had to, sorry.) What I mean is that no good person intends to land in a bad position. Unless you’re Lord Voldemort, you usually don’t wake up planning to murder someone and create a more pure race. (Okay, unless you’re Hitler. Hitler and Lord Voldemort… moving on!!)

Whether it’s your diet, your dating choices, what you look at online, or another cultural expectation, you know the right thing to do.

Hopefully your conscience is a little more helpful than Marlin was to Dory, but you know when you do something wrong because it goes against what you know to be right.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”

Matthew 7:13

Seems like Madonna knew what she was talking about! See, there are specific moments where you get the choice to choose what is holy, what is good.

If you’ve created a pattern of choosing what is easy so that you don’t have to choose what may be harder but better, you are choosing to see convenience over opportunity.

Like my pal Dumbledore said, “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon, we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

3. The Worst
If you live each moment like a Doomsday prepper, your day is probably laden with anxiety, doubt, and despair. Unless your name is Murphy and you have a law named after you, you don’t have to live life according to the worst case scenario!

Can I admit something to you? I have to work really hard to not judge people by their inactions. I’m sure you’re confused and think that’s a typo, but I know first hand that I can’t determine who a person is by their actions; my issue is that when someone says they’ll do something and they don’t, I struggle to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

It’s hard to believe the best in people, but that is what we — as believers in Jesus Christ — are called to do! It is not the easy thing and it is easy to assign blame, but we know that God is good. And if we believe that God is good, we have to believe that what he has created is good, too.

That doesn’t mean people won’t let us down, but it does mean that we shouldn’t use those moments of disappointment to lose faith in humans or in that individual in particular. We can choose to see the goodness in them despite their mistakes.

There is grace for you and there should be grace for them, too.

Matthew 6 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

Light is required to see what is good. Don’t let your eyes be strained and forced to work in the shadows. Choose to see what is good — what’s in the light. Life is just one big game of “I Spy”.

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