EmPulse for Week of May 17, 2010
peripheral vision- God on the edges
Eye exams— read the 4th line down…, now read the lowest line that is clear to you. And you read “The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.” Seeing things clearly, seeing things as they are, is the function of eyes. Blurred vision misinterprets reality…, really; ask any Impressionist; ask any pharmacist who prescribes allergy relief medicine. Ask any Navy, Marine, or Air Force recruiter interviewing a potential recruit who says, “I want to be fighter pilot.” What’s the recruiter’s reply? How’s your vision? They want to know if you’re 20/20, but they also want to know what your peripheral vision is. If you are flying a fighter jet at Mach2, you need to be keenly aware of not only what lies directly in front of you, but also what lies just outside of the corners of your eyes. Yes, modern military aircraft are loaded with all sorts of sensor arrays that keep a pilot informed; but you still need to be aware of what lies on the edges of your vision.
Many of us are so focused in our lives that we miss God on the edges. We miss the little things, which, in the grand scheme of things, turn out to not be so little. We miss His work in people’s lives around us that bolster and underpin the focus He has commissioned us to fulfill. WE miss those subtle connections, serendipitous surprises, and gentle movements of His Spirit that cause all things to work together for good. Still, it is good to move through life with our focus on a goal to be achieved, on a mission to be accomplished, a purpose for which to be used up entirely. There are very many distractions in the rush of information-age life to keep us from fulfilling God’s design on our life. Who do you know who is not busy…, all the time!?! Work, family, school, seeking a mate, another grad-degree, the gym, sports, chauffeuring kids, church, working on the house, the lawn, fixing the car, etc.
Two things start to become clear—we are too focused, we are too busy. And we are all moving so fast, that it is a wonder we have any sensitivity to the movements of God anywhere, directly in front of us, let alone on the edges. It is true that some personalities naturally move f-a-s-t-e-r than others; however, others seem to be stuck, anchored in some kind of life-muck that not only keeps us from moving ahead, but blurs our peripheral vision at the same time. Either way, we miss the majesty of God all around us. We whoosh past Him just like cars on a freeway; we do that notice He is there, but not exactly. Or worse, we just stop and stare at Him…, and do nothing. “OMG, O yeah…, god; I forgot.” Whooshing by, or stuck staring…, doesn’t matter. If our peripheral vision is not conscious, we could be setting ourselves up for a crash— big time.
So…, what to do about it? For one, challenge your focus; is it inclusive enough, expansive enough to pick up on its own inferences? Reexamine your mission to include/exclude developing variables. Secondly, consider if God is trying to influence you at the edges of your life; commonplace coincidences, marginal insights, intuitions (gut feelings), could be more significant than a passing reflection might notice. Third, ponder more— reflect on the day’s encounters and accomplishments to sense any new movements of God’s Spirit from the edges of your life to its core. Finally (at least for this brief commentary) consider what changes might be well past due in your life that you missed because you were so singularly focused.
Maybe it’s time some of we all had our vision checked again. Get in line…, right behind me.
Have a nice week.