One of the challenges of driving a car is remembering the blind spots that can easily get you into trouble when you are out on the open road. The problem is that even if we know where they exist in our particular car, they are easily forgotten when we are on our way to a destination with the music jamming or our podcast rolling.
Thankfully car manufacturers knew the risks and ultimately developed a host of safety equipment on our new cars beginning just a year or so ago on most models. These include various cameras to see in our rearview mirror and catch a car or truck barreling up on either side of us. Those side mirrors have cameras that see what we may miss in blind spots and alert us with lights and sounds so we are not caught in a dangerous collision.
We are blessed to have two cars in our family. My car had been the newer of the two and had an excellent rear camera that I had come to appreciate, but last year when we moved to a new model for my husband it came with the side cameras to catch the blind spots (plus some other bells and whistles) and keep us safer on the highways. Mine did not have those and I could never have fully guessed their value until driving with my husband on longer road trips to see either of our married children who live a distance from us. More than a few times on an interstate or turnpike these side mirrors and lane departure alerts provided us with information we didn’t have or even always know we needed.
The car that is primarily for my use was the usual “trip car” because it is a bit larger to help stow luggage and various little things we take on trips to visit children and grandchildren. But the new car has now taken over that role due to all the safety features from which we benefit.
Being behind the wheel of a car is not the only place we can experience blind spots, however, and the ones we have within us do not come with handy cameras and GPS cues to help us navigate without incident or accident.
“This is the truth: We don’t see things as they really are – especially ourselves. We all think we have twenty-twenty vision in life, but we don’t. We don’t see things as they really are.”
Matthew Kelly in Rediscover Jesus
No matter what age or season of life we are in at present, each of us has more than a few things that influence us in the present and move on into the future. And these blind spots come from more than a few sources that can give rise to stumbling blocks like fear, rejection, anxiety, insecurity, and more. But some of our dreams, goals, and fervent hopes can create blind spots as well that prohibit us from seeing ourselves accurately.
But those last things are good things, aren’t they? Yes, but if our dream is to sing on Broadway and we don’t recognize we always sing off pitch, we have a major blind spot as we keep auditioning and singing and hoping the big chance will come.
Blind spots sometimes reveal themselves over time as we grow. Our hope to become an ace fighter pilot reveals a big boulder stands in the way when we recognize we struggle with being in confined closed spaces – like the cockpit of a jet fighter. Our insecurity and fear of rejection stops us from risking writing that book we always dreamed of despite the encouragement of others about our writing ability.
I think these examples give you a view of some of our many blind spots.
The bigger challenge is how we can identify the blind spots we do not see are there at all because it is only then that we can begin to work on them, so they become steppingstones instead of boulders getting in our path.
One thing we can count on as Chris Fabry so clearly notes:
“…God has this funny way of stretching and changing and pushing us toward things we don’t want to face. I don’t think the past is something we deal with as much as it deals with us.”
Matthew Kelly identifies three keys to dealing with blind spots in his book, Rediscover Jesus:
- Humility – You see humility is what makes us teachable and, in its absence, we are deluded into believing we see ourselves and situations as they really are.
- Docility – Every moment of the day if we are the Lord’s, the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do or avoid this or that, but only if we become docile (according to Matthew Kelly’s definition of the word) can we benefit from that prompting. Some might prefer the word yielded, but here is how Matthew Kelly defines docile: “to listen deeply and be coachable.” You choose the word that works for you, but the meaning is clear either way.
- Judging – We all are tempted to and often do judge others without recognizing that doing so puts us in the position of pretending to be God. We tend to believe our opinions are right and become the standards from which we make decisions and judgments.
Blind spots are common with us all and they tend to lead us toward biases and prejudices as well.
The love, grace, and mercy of Jesus is available for each of us to liberate us from these blind spots and know despite our flaws and failures that He chose us and loves us and gave us his name.
One of the tragic consequences of blind spots is that they get in the way of deep radical relationships.
The Lord invites us into the most radical of relationships with Himself so we can radically love others as He does.
Can we trust Him to show us and accept what we discover?