We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. –Anais Nin
As a preface for today, the Magic Mirror Exercise(seeing the world from God’s eyes ) was included in Day 4. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do. I realized that the first mirror is as I see myself everyday, the second mirror for me reflected a brilliance of light, and the reflection on the third mirror was a smaller brilliance of light—how wondrous that it’s how God sees each of us in the world, and me.
Warren asks: What image comes to your mind if I asked you how you picture life?
I let this question sit for awhile before giving the first answer that comes to mind. It’s your description of how life works and what you expect of it. If life is a race, you value speed & will be in a hurry; if it’s a battle/game, winning is important; if it’s a struggle, endurance is valued; if life’s a party, your primary value is having fun. The last one is the value system for many young adults in Athens, and it’s a struggle to get them to see further.
I picture Life as a balance, the weight contrivance the statue of Justice holds in the entrance of any criminal court building. Balancing & proportioning time/attention/love to my family on one hand and to all others on the other. This must be true for many of us. I also picture Life as relationships, and I do find myself automatically making connections for people whether I meet them personally or electronically. Each person I meet has a goal orientation, and I unconsciously rack up in my mind who should meet them to make them whole, then if I can, make the connections for them. I do it for projects as well. What I haven’t done I realize is make those connections for myself. I feel whole doing it for others, so perhaps that’s my life goal, being a connector? I’m not sure.
The Bible offers 3 metaphors that teach us God’s view:
Life is a test, life is a trust, life is a temporary assignment.
We are tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, senseless tragedies. We then realize nothing is insignificant in our lives. Warren believes these sometimes overwhelming tests reveal weaknesses which prepare for more responsibility. But as fellow blogger Kim says, some people are so overwhelmed by a series of tests that one wonders why a God would impose on one so many and on another so few or none. Is it random or is it the thinking, as Warren interpretes from the Bible, that God will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm? What do you think?
Here I give you a brief summary of the nonfiction tale of Deogratias from Tracy Kidder’s book, Strength in what Remains:
Raised in Burundi, Deo lives a nearly idyllic life until the outbreak of ethnic violence in his country replaces Wordsworth’s “of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower” with a living hell. Deo, a Tutsi third year medical student, flees Burundi, arriving at age 24 in New York City with $200 in his pocket, the clothes on his back, and his will to survive. Deo fights for survival in the U.S.–a precarious existence delivering groceries, living in Central Park, and learning English by reading dictionaries in bookstores. Then Deo begins to meet the strangers who will change his life. He emerges as a complex and rich personality, more a testament to human resilience than a hero.
Deogratias’ (his name means Thanks be to God) unattributed quote:
“Tell me God, should I thank you, or forgive you?”
Another life worth reading about: Juan Manuel Pineda endured many years of hardship and is now amazed at his life http://gimundo.com/news/article/el-salvadorean-orphan-comes-into-luck-after-tragedy/
Question to Consider: What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? What are the greatest matters God has entrusted to me?
The greatest matters God has entrusted to me are my children. My major test in life was when my father died suddenly when I was 16, and all responsibilities fell upon me, because my mother & brother were too overwhelmed. That was my zero level, and I am thankful for every day in my life since then.
* Weekly we will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, plse share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.