Strangely Dim and Strangely Bright

On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for men to lead with godly character, for women’s hearts to be softened by grace and trust, and for marriages to be created for those who desire them. 

If there were a Google image search history of your brain, what would be in it? Pretty sure mine would be a lot of food, wine, the cute boy on the metro’s face, my to-do lists, and expensive spring dresses.  Because, really, I’m that deep….(eeeh).  I’ve been thinking of this because a speaker recently made an off-hand comment about the danger of holding lies in front of our eyes…and it has spurred some thinking for me.

The importance of what we look at cannot be overstated. Paul talks about looking at Christ as the path to being transformed into Christ’s likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18) and one chapter later, he reminds us to set our eyes on the things that are unseen and eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).  The author of Hebrews tells us that the key to running the race in front of us is to keep looking to Jesus (Hebrew 12:1-2).  And there are several more passages in the same genre — look them up this week!

And so the obvious question: what are we looking at? 

With my actual eyeballs…am I looking at images of…

  • False intimacy: pornography, cheesy romcoms/sitcoms, explicit novels, etc
  • Unnatural beauty: major fashion magazines, Pinterest boards, ads with overperfect faces and bodies promising magical results, etc
  • Socially-valued status symbols: wedding/family photos on social media, engagement rings, picture-perfect Christmas cards, expensive possessions, degrees hanging on walls, etc

And on a deeper level, what am I looking at with my mind’s eye? Are the images mostly about me? Images of my “perfect” life — a different weight, a different outcome from dating, a different house with different friends in a different city and a different bank account balance? Images from the past that bring up unforgiveness or shame? Images of that friend who betrayed us? Images of our own personal triumph over someone? Images of giving the boss a piece of our mind? Images of remembered or imagined physical intimacy with people we’re not married to? (Yep, went there. #awkward).

I am not trying to suggest that anyone quit Pinterest or cancel their Vogue subscription or toss out your copy of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or stop liking our friends’ wedding pics on facebook. Seriously, I’m not. I’ve just been forced to ask myself: if there were a graph of what I looked at all day, how much of it would be taken up by these things that aren’t even really true? With a few clear exceptions, these items aren’t wrong in themselves.  But which images are really true? What has substance, beauty and life that points at Truth?

As believers, the most real, most true thing in our Mondays is Jesus Christ (even if we don’t notice it). All good things come from Him.  All of them.  Am I actually looking at Him and thanking Him for the life-giving beauty that I get to experience today, or do I take shortcuts to cram my eyes full of the poisonous substitutes this world has to offer? How much anxiety in my life would be avoided if I weren’t so fixated on lies? Who would I be if my eyes were captured more deeply and truly by the glory of Jesus Christ?

This world is our not our home.  The good things we have here are our Father’s gifts and should point us to our true home.  I want my eyes trained on Jesus, looking toward that eternal home, enjoying the gifts I’ve been given now, and throwing the lies in the trash!

In His Grace,


“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

(Hebrews 12:1-2) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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2 Responses to Strangely Dim and Strangely Bright

  1. Deb B says:

    I love the illustration of thinking of the things that fill your mind like a pinterest board or Google image search, it make the issue come to life. In fact I think I’ll steal that illustration for tonight’s Bible study class!

  2. smvernalis says:

    Oh, Amy, I needed this. I had to confess my “city envy” this weekend, like wouldn’t my life be great if I lived in a hipster ‘hood in the city and walked to my friends’ houses, etc. and then I would REALLY live in community?? (As if it doesn’t count if I run into friends at coffee shops and grocery stores and everywhere else if I DRIVE to those places.)

    You rock!

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