There I was, braced in-between that big leather chair and the scary metal contraption used to tell all of my eyeball’s secrets. The eye doctor has a fantastic way of asking you obscure questions and causing you to second guess every answer you give him.
“Can you see this?”
On and on he goes, until our beloved optometrist has squeezed as much truth and letter identification from me as possible. His conclusion? “Olivia, your eyes work too well!”
As strange as this may seem, he explained that my eyes were “overactive”, and the reason for my headaches and trouble focusing was directly related to the amount of information my eyes were taking in and the trouble they were having narrowing it down. His solution was fitting this girl with reading glasses. These magical glasses would relax my eyes so I could do important things like read a book or write this article without losing my mind.
Why am I telling you this story? I’ll tell you eventually, but let me finish. I’m driving down the road, glasses on, sporting a headache. In a moment of frustration, I take my glasses off and what I saw shocked me. I saw a whole new world. I saw the sun reflecting on the river I was passing over. I saw the vivid colors of the old rustic buildings, and I saw the birds flying in the skyline. I had been wearing these glasses thinking they would be the answer to my struggle.
My glasses were there for my benefit and were extremely helpful when they were used for the purpose they were designed. My problem came when I tried to see beyond my immediate surroundings—when I used them out of context. Here we are, arriving at the point of my story.
We can often find ourselves getting caught up seeing life through a certain lens. We will live life day to day, seeing the same struggles over and over again until we know every detail of the situation. We will study our options and size up our opportunities until we are confident, comfortable, and self-dependent. We don’t truly have to trust God when we know what’s going on, right?
As long as we have our reading glasses on, the headaches of uncertainty and blurred confusion are comfortably safe at arms length. However, one thing you will never find in the Bible is a call for God’s people to be comfortable. The Bible is filled with stories and moments where trusting God was the key to understanding the big picture.
Peter stepped out onto a sea of churning waves; he looked past the waves and threat of drowning to the figure of protection and promise beyond that. If Peter had been wearing “reading glasses” at that moment, he never would have seen Jesus in the distance and would have completely missed his moment to step out and be a part of something incredible.
As I’m sure you’ve realized, this isn’t really about glasses and prescriptions, but rather about the mindset in which we’re so often stuck. We strain for the details and reasons until we are so focused on our immediate surroundings, and we miss the big picture that surrounds our bubble. We overwork our eyes and hearts with questions like “Who am I?” or “What is my calling?” We search for peace in certainty.
But, what if we were able to set aside the lens and trust the words of Jeremiah 29:11 to ring true. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” If we truly believed these words, our need to control our environment would start to fade.
The moment you realize God is God and in control whether you see it or not, is the moment you’ll lose the need for your “reading glasses” of control.
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Scott Smith is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.