I used to love carnivals.
The kind where you get on those pop-up amusement park-like rides (that sometimes made me fear for my life), or you play a game and win a bag of water with a fish (that probably won’t make it through the week), or you walk around and talk with friends while listening to music play.
Growing up, my hometown put on a carnival every year.
When I was around twelve or thirteen years old, I decided to be a little adventurous. I was convinced by my sister to get on one of the rides that took you far up in the air and spun you around.
My mom tried to convince us that the rides really didn’t look that great. But how bad could it be? Besides the fact that heights made me panic.
We made it through the ride but at one point, my eye felt weird.
The rest of the evening, my eye kept burning, but I went home and went to sleep. I didn’t think that much of it, until…
When I woke up in the morning my eye was red and swollen and hurt a lot.
After seeing the eye doctor, she explained to me that a tiny piece of rusty metal from one of the carnival rides must have flew through the air and into my eye the night before.
The only way to remove it, she explained, was to “use a big needle to numb my eye and then drill it out.” It sounded and felt far more terrifying than it probably was. But being as dramatic as I was, I thought that was code for I was going to die.
After we made it through the procedure (with only a few panic attacks and tears), the doctor explained to me that if the metal had hit my eye even slightly more to the left, I would’ve gone blind in that eye. She also explained to me that if I had let it go and continued to ignore the pain like I had the night before, I could’ve gotten a serious infection.
Now, I really didn’t like having to go through the whole procedure and I didn’t like the pain that followed. And I especially did not enjoy the two weeks following that I had to put eye drops in my eyes every day to prevent infection. Definitely was not a fan of either of these things.
But the procedure and the eye drops were the only way to make sure that my vision wasn’t harmed.
Here’s my confession: sometimes my perspective is in the wrong place and sometimes I’m okay with that.
I can allow my perspective or my focus to shift to myself or my unpleasant circumstances often too easily. I can fix my eyes on what’s happening to me and how much I don’t enjoy whatever it is that I’m walking through. I can allow that perspective or focus to narrow in on all of the bad or painful things and I can block out all that God is doing.
When I make that my perspective or focus, it becomes a little bit like the metal in my eye. The wrong perspective can greatly harm my vision, my attitude, and my focus on what God is doing in my life, just like that metal would’ve ruined my physical vision if I had allowed it to stay in my eye.
And the eyewash that I wanted to resist so much because it burned, even though I knew it was protecting my eye and helping me? That’s a little bit like the perspective God wants me to have. Because when I take His perspective on circumstances in my life and I focus on Him, it’s not always going to be pleasant and sometimes it’s going to hurt at first or I’m not going to feel like choosing Him. It may even be very uncomfortable.
But the perspective He wants me to have and when I focus my eyes on Him, no matter how uncomfortable or even frustrating it may be–that’s going to be what heals me and pulls me through even the darkest or most difficult situations. I won’t always understand what He’s doing, but I’ll see more of His goodness than I would have if I had allowed my perspective to stay focused on myself. I’ll see more of what He’s doing than if I had allowed that perspective to shift my heart away from Him and His goodness.
It’s going to take work and it’s going to be difficult some days to get rid of our comfortable perspectives and instead shift our focus to what He’s doing. But through that He’s going to make us stronger. And when we focus our eyes on Him, we’re going to move forward and be able to shine His light to others, no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”