It was in this moment I felt the Lord speak to my heart. He showed me that this entire splendor could change in an instant, and all that was necessary for me to do was to get closer to it. I was puzzled by this insight, so I began to play it out in my head.
I walked into the woods. There I would be in the midst of the beauty; I would be enveloped in this beauty that He had created; I could breathe in the freshness of the forested air. I could touch the leaves; I could listen to the birds sing.
This beauty, the Lord said, is easy to admire from afar. It is in a place where you can not really feel it, cannot honestly sense it, but you can admire it from a distance.
Essentially, when you put yourself in these woods, what is it you experience? I considered our recent camp trips. After all, how much closer to nature do I get other than when we camp? I love to camp, so this seemed a good place to began my pondering.
The first thought that came to mind was the insects; those nasty insects, especially the ones that bite. The mosquitoes, the black flies, the deer flies, and such, not to mention the frightening appearance of those spiders. We could do without all of them. Then, as I continued in my reality check, I thought of low hanging branches that I had ducked on many an occasion to keep from being hit in the head while on my bicycle. I quickly remembered the few that had hurt me. Ouch! Then I suddenly remembered the raccoons that came on our campsite time and time again, looking for food. Oh, and there are the bears; the ones I fear will see me as prey as I walk a lonely foot trail in the spring. And again, the lovely plant I once took hold of only to be pricked by the thorns I had not noticed. There were other thoughts I could add to this list, but you get the idea.
From a distance, all is beautiful and perfect; yes, perfect; picture perfect. It is only as one dares to go near that there begins to be cause for concern. Stuff to deal with; things to keep us on our guard; nasty stuff.
Just as I was meditating on this awareness; the Lord drew me close to Him. He reminded me of how this is no different in relationships. Now he really had my attention. All relationships, He said, appear beautiful from a distance. All relationships seem perfect. Some people have perfect relationships, I mused. But the Lord said this is merely my longing for this perfection in relationship, but the truth is simply this; no relationship is anywhere near perfect. They, just like mine experience thorns, bugs, branches, heat waves and icy chills. There are no perfect relationships on this earth.
As the Lord brought me once again to deal with my fear of intimacy, along with my lack of patience and appreciativeness for others, I started to accept a new outlook on those perfect relationships that I had so often believed in, and to now view them correctly as to see them with their many necessary flaws.
The Lord had helped me to see this beauty as a reflection of life. My life. Your life. Our lives. We are not perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. How then can we expect either to offer or to experience perfect satisfaction in our relationships? We are messy, self centered, offensive beings.
But we have a God who loves us. A God who is perfect. A God who we can trust in to lead us down the right path.
How I long to see more of Him in me. How I long to forgive and not be petty; love and not be condemning.
That day, the Lord spoke a newness into me. I breathed in His love and was grateful for His words to me. I am not alone. It is not only me, but the fallen nature of all mankind. While it is true that I have certain challenges, it is not too late for me. Through Him, I can find what I need to have relationships that will flourish and grow. The first change I must make is in the way I view myself.
Strange, I thought it would be in the way I view others. But the Lord had spoken to my heart and assured me that I must see in me, His creation. He had created me in love; He had created me in His image.
That day was the first day I remember the beginnings of looking at myself and others in a completely different light. That day I started to seriously focus on myself as a wonderful, marvelous, treasured creation of the Almighty God. One cannot focus on themselves in this manner and remain aloof and indifferent. I became conscious that I was special; I mattered. Maybe not to many people in my midst, maybe so. But, ideally I mattered to my creator, God. How on earth could I feel so down on myself when God Almighty valued me so?
What are your thoughts on this?