Hi, everyone! Remember me? *Sigh* My last post was much too long ago.
My family was in a season of waiting, if you remember. While a little longer than my impatient self wildly embraces, it was graciously brief in retrospect. A few months feels so long. Eyeballing the last of “normal” becomes overwhelming, if we let it.
But our waiting wasn’t devastating. We know the “pressured in every way but not crushed” part of life, really (2 Corinthians 4:8, CSB). Even that is an overstatement, I suppose. I know families waiting for things—no end in sight, no relief from the stress that accompanies uncertainty, no solutions to the problems invading their daily lives, their minds constantly battling for sanity and rest. There’s always a little perspective available, if I’m open to taking a good look. Circumspection begins with families I know and wings out to my state, nation, and (if I’m really lucky) something global.
It’s only when I measure the wait after the fact that something comes to light: perspective in the waiting room matters. Why is that? It always concerns me that big picture point of view seems easy to grasp when everything is said and done. I have so much to learn when it comes to an eternal perspective in the waiting room. Things I want to remember for the next waiting opportunity I’ll face have been bubbling to the surface. It’s the difference between thriving and merely surviving, I think. Some of what I’ll share seems to be the grace I’ve been given to embrace next time. And there will be a next time.
I want to remember….
I’m Being Watched
Okay, so that sounds a little strange, maybe even creepy, but listen to what I’m really conveying. We all have eyes on us all the time, and I’m not referring to “Big Brother.” If the Bible contains pure truth (and my biased opinion is that it does), then I’ll run there for some perspective. That’s when I encounter things I have to contend with in my heart and mind while I’m waiting.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9a
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help. Psalm 34:15
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good. Proverbs 15:3
because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:12
Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, Hebrews 12:1
Scripture suggests life is not lived unobserved. Maybe social media plays into the cultural perspective. Any one of us could promote the best and worst of moments in a status or tweet. It’s easy to exist in virtual, carefully managed reality, isn’t it? We’ve bought a lie. When I remember my life choices are casually (or scrupulously) watched, I begin to think about the audience.
God is not fooled. He is not judgmental by the culture’s broad brushstroke definition, but He is watching and aware of every detail. When the stress of waiting caused me to reduce to a salty puddle, He was aware. When I allowed the circumstances to become an excuse for my angry, sharp attitude, He was there. My pain was never too much for Him to handle, but I suppose I wish I’d managed a quicker attitude adjustment in my weak moments. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have more trust to fight the emotional battle next time.
I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend—you get the picture. My home, the neighborhood, a store, the doctor’s office, and the church lobby are filled with people. If I believe no one sees me, I’m probably delusional. If I’m a “people watcher” in almost all of those scenarios, who else around me is doing the same thing? The “great cloud of witnesses” is often connected to the Christians before us who have passed into eternity (see “The Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11), so I’m aware of the context of the verse I’ve selected. I ask your permission to break a bit of a Bible study rule. Can we say there are two realities (the here-and-now and the hereafter) that fit the bill? Our lives are observed, or we would not be referred to as “witnesses” so frequently in Scripture.
What Does It Mean?
If our lives are genuinely closely watched, I want to think carefully about my waiting room experiences. The God who loves and sees me is more than the culture’s benevolent, omniscient Santa Claus. Holy God, who cannot coexist with sin, sent Jesus (John 3:16) for me. If that’s true, and I advocate that it is, then how I handle waiting in front of the “eyes of the Lord” is a more precious thing than what I’m waiting for. What do you think?
If people are watching my choices in life, listening through thin walls, or observing a snapshot of my day is that important? I may be tempted to think it’s only critical if observers have made a connection between me and the Christian faith, but is that the truth of it? That’s when behavioral management becomes a danger. I might even be tempted to be on my best behavior when I’m “on” in front of certain friends, family members, or public audiences. (That triggers thoughts about key differences between spiritual formation and transformation, but I’ll save that for another time.)
I’m not certain of what all this means to me right now, but I know I’m walking down the road kicking the can, as it were, thinking about it as I plod along. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, if you have some. I’m aware this is a tricky place to land, and it could end up leaning toward freedom or legalism. Friends who know me are aware this very thing troubles me more often than I can say.
I have more thoughts to ponder on this topic, so it looks like a series may be in the making. These are the other things rambling around in my mind when I think about the path to the “Big Reveal” in the waiting room:
What will be…
He is Good!
Let’s see if I get to these…. 😉
Thanks for reading along! Be blessed as you live your “very closely observed life” today!
Questions to Think About:
Have you considered the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God?
What does it mean to you when you hear “God is watching every moment”? Does that have a positive or negative emotion associated with it?
Have you wrestled with the observed life, too? If so, where do you rest when it comes to God and others watching your life?
Knowing that God and others are watching, do you feel a particular pull in any area of your life? It might be a call to change, but it could easily be conversation with God or others.
What might look very different in your life if you considered the observed life more frequently?
How might you walk the line between awareness of others and the warped “chameleon behavior” that results from “fear of man” (Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 51:12)?