Each of us sees life through our own personal lens. Our lenses can be shaped, colored, and fine tuned by many things. Personal experience. Our upbringing. Our political beliefs. Our religious beliefs. How much education we received. Where we live. How much money is in the bank. The friends we have. The list can go on and on..
Have you ever paused to consider the lens in which you view the world through – your personal lens? The first time anyone asked me to ponder such a question was 5 years ago. I was sitting on a hard, plastic chair in Soshanguve, South Africa. Up until that point I knew that we each viewed life differently, but the teaching that day sharpened my perspective on my own personal lens and caused me to think about other people’s lenses as well.
A lot has changed in the last 5 years. My lens has been colored differently by marriage, graduation, job loss, loved ones passing, new jobs, moves, and a deepening in my life with Christ. I see now how each event, experience, and truth effects my lens. All too often I see how it effects others as well.
Most recently I have been witnessing the experience of pain and the effect that has on the lens of others. Pain is such a real experience and it has real implications for how we view the world. The world can become sinister, unwelcoming, and cruel through the lens of pain. We can view the world as cold and eventually we view others the same as well. Even good intentions, through pain, can feel devastating and unwelcome.
There is a part of me that longs for total vulnerability on this subject and to just say it as I mean it. I fear that I have also contributed to a “perfect” view of life through social media, face book posts, and pinterest boards. I choose to keep a pretty, clean lens on social media; to only share the positive.
But isn’t life so much more than that? My lens is colored by much more. At times, my lens becomes smudged, cloudy, and grimy with the grunge of everyday life. Feelings of fear, anger, and shame are all to real to me. Life is by no means perfect. In fact, most times I feel exhausted just balancing all that lies before me. Keeping it all together is a full time job in itself! My lens is cracked, not perfect, and definitely in need of adjusting.
But that’s the beauty of it too. Life is not perfect. We go through constant change. We are always learning. Loving. Crying. Forgiving. Laughing. Dreaming. Losing. Failing. And trying all over again.
As I said before, our lens can be colored by many things. I believe one of the largest contributions to my lens is my faith. Without the lens of faith I believe I would continuously see the world through the lens of the “victim.” The pain of this world would cause me to feel that all hope was lost; too much to bear. But faith beckons me to believe in an everlasting hope that cannot be seen now. My lens has no frame of reference for what faith requires of me. I must believe without seeing that Jesus is the eternal hope.
That changes my lens entirely.
So, what lens do you see your world through? What will sharpen your view? What changes need to be made? Do some smudges need to come off? Just a little something to think about..