We are bombarded with images to the point that we don’t even see certain things as we pass them by, they become a background with no form.
It shows up when we are driving and shift into that automatic mode while driving to the routine places of our daily life.
That glazed over habit of not attending to all that is in our field of vision may be a skill that can be handy possibly, but it also can become our default setting that causes us to miss key things. That is especially evident in our relationships.
Without even realizing it, we start only seeing the surface of the lives of those around us as we pass by them. We see through filters of the surface image and our ears become less keen in hearing. We hopefully hear words spoken, but not as often the heart, the spirit of the one speaking to us.
The consequence is often relationships that are also surface and never satisfy the depth of our soul.
I have heard the repeated story of hunger for relationship that a person is longing to have and the loneliness that has resulted from a barren landscape in this context.
The reasons are certainly many, but one common thread is often this lack of seeing and hearing into the soul of the person we most desire to be in relationship with. We miss the heart of that other person too often in our effort to have our own heart noticed. The result is predictable. No significant relationship develops.
I have a dear friend that I have been blessed to know for quite some time. She is passionate with a ministry the Lord led her to create. God has used her mightily and the ministry from her life and vision has produced much fruit. Everyone who knows her can see the fruit and rarely is she spoken of without comment about this work.
What most around her miss while in awe of what the Lord has done through her is the soul of this precious friend. This ministry is an expression of it, but to see into the soul from which it sprang one has to look more deeply and take time to see that there is more to her being, her heart, and her spirit than simply this tremendous ministry.
I am blessed to know her well and savor each new discovery of how the Lord is moving in her heart, what is burdening her, and how she is growing. I cherish the depth of what we can share.
I have been participating in a Bible study for some months now in the home of a woman I am just getting to know. It is a beautiful home and I could tell you about what things might make it so, but as I look more carefully what I see is something about the soul of this woman.
Her home is arranged in every room that speaks of her desire to make anyone who comes feel welcome. Chairs and couches are positioned to enhance conversation or sometimes to offer a quiet spot for solitude. Her choices of each detail in the rooms speak to what her heart loves whether in the photos of her children, fresh flowers she has chosen to add little colorful touches here or there, or the music playing in the background. This physical place invites me to not only relax, but has allowed me to get to know her beyond the words she might say.
To do that, I need to look beyond the first glance of the home to the person who has created the environment that reflects her heart.
This “focused seeing” is something I see in the winsome exploring by young children who notice so many small things we have long since lost sight of.
When we lose that somewhere along the way, we no longer discover the wonder of those around us nor the wonder we can have in our relationship with the Lord. We become driven, self-focused and absorbed and then wonder why we feel empty.
The Lord is painting a new canvas every day. We have seen it in the fall season as leaves change, in the sound of leaves crunching beneath our feet, and in the taste of fresh apples from the orchard. We have seen it in the people He has allowed to intersect with us.
He has created a bountiful feast for the senses, but my desire is to focus more closely on the heart of the One who created this bounty, to deepen that relationship so I don’t miss the best part.
When I do that with Him, the bonus is that it helps me to do it with my human relationships as well and my heart and soul become more deeply satisfied.