Looking Out My Window

I have always loved having a window at my kitchen sink. Even if the view was the side of the church, I like looking out the window when I have to do the dishes.

In our present house the window looks out over the front yard at the street. I have lots of entertainment: Amish buggies taking pies to the nearby restaurant; groups of moms out with strollers and adult conversation; gangs of teenagers flying by on skateboards; and various dogs being walked or walking their owners.

Today the weather has gone from heavy rain to blustery snow. As I walked to the sink full of dishes, I wasn’t sure I really liked my window. It was snowing so hard I could barely see across the street. But since the dishes weren’t going to wash themselves, I dove into washing.

I realized I don’t always like looking at the things before me. Sometimes I don’t want to see what I have to look at…but not looking doesn’t make it go away.

As I pondered this thought, a FedEx truck pulled up and stopped in front of my house. Because I was looking out the window and saw him, I was able to go to the garage and open the door. Our garage is much easier to get to for delivery people than traipsing all the way to the front door. The delivery man plodded up through the snow. He was so pleasant and witty–really positive in spite of the lousy weather.

Walking back to my sink of dishes, I noticed I felt lighter, less discouraged by the weather and the tasks of the day. The view hadn’t changed, but my perception definitely had. How? Why? One man’s positive outlook and laughter seemed to make all the difference.

That’s what I want to do. That’s how I want to be. And I’ll never achieve that goal by refusing to see what’s there, what’s outside (and inside) my window.

So what’s the answer when we don’t want to see what’s before us?

Here’s what I do?

Psalms. I love the Psalms because they’re a glimpse into the heart and struggle of the writers. Not all of them, since they are written with different purposes in mind. Some begin with the writer expressing his heartache, hurt, or confusion and then then once it’s all out there he turns the corner. You’ll know he’s there when you come to the “BUT.”

Consider David in Psalm 13:
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Or Psalm 42. It’s a little longer, but worth the read. Go ahead, I’ll wait till you get back…

Did you catch it? Or them? Bottom line: life could go you know where in a hand basket, but I will put and keep my trust in God.

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I started writing this post yesterday. Today I am sitting in our Starbucks. I’m surrounded by windows. The sky is a perfect shade of blue. The sun is high and bright. I haven’t heard one word about yesterday’s storm. Those who are talking about the weather are hopeful for spring’s return.

Listening to them and looking out the windows, I feel full of hope, too. The sunshine today doesn’t erase the reality of yesterday’s storm–not any more than hoping for sunshine or denying the snow would have stopped the storm.

The window that will make a difference is the window of my heart. What will matter is what people see when they look there.

Jesus has a word for us on that: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45, NIV)

At my house it’s time for spring cleaning. It’s also time to clean the window of my heart and be sure I’m putting in good stuff so good stuff will be shining forth.

Needing any spiritual Windex?

Lent Day Four: Here’s Looking At You

When I worked at Curves, one of the first things we would do with new members (after we orient them to the whole program) is complete a figure analysis. Basically, we would have them mount the dreaded weight determiner and grab the tape measure to find out the sum total of their girth. Did that sound ominous? It was supposed to. The dread that most of those women feel in that moment is colossal. They had spent so much time and energy avoiding the truth, that it was a very scary and humbling task to meet it—and in the presence of another person, yet!

Perhaps you’ve never thought of it this way, but it’s very easy to not see what you don’t look at. How many of you read your food labels? Before you sign off on something, do you read all the fine print? The list could go on and on of things external, but what about things within? On the one hand, we could consider all the health signals that we’ve ignored, the doctor’s visits we’ve postponed because we didn’t want to hear what they had to say. Then there’s the stuff of spirit and emotions that we’ve opted not look at either. The AA people understand the importance of that honest self-inventory. What about relationships that we’ve ignored?

James invites us to the mirror: 22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22-25)

So here’s your homework. Yes, homework. Carve out a few minutes from your very hectic schedule—that busyness is part of the problem. We stay busy to avoid having to give ourselves—and God more than a passing glance. You could sit at a table with pen and paper or you could stand in front of a full-length mirror. Do what works for you. But do this: ask God what you need to see. Ask for his forgiveness at avoiding, denying, and running. Stay long enough to hear his answers. Let him tell you how wonderful you are and how much he loves you. Then commit to giving him more than a passing glance.

Take that kind of time and you won’t forget it—or regret it.