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Saturday, October 19, 2013

You stuck in the maze?

Have you ever heard the saying, “I was going the wrong direction, but I sure was making good time”?  In life, we have a lot of different directions – only one really produces the best outcome - - - all the rest are a poor substitute or just plain wrong.  If you have ever seen a corn maze, you know there are a lot of tall corn stalks growing in the field – some have been removed to make a series of paths for you to traverse through.  In the midst of the tall green stalks, you might get a little twisted around and end up back where you started.  If you have ever seen the “birds-eye” view from a helicopter above, you can see plainly the design of the maze.  You know which turns will end in dead-ends and those which will just loop you around to the same spot you started.  The maze is designed to confound you a little.  Guess what?   Life is designed to confound you a bit at times, too!  There are turns which will dead-end us, sometimes after a whole lot of effort getting there.  There are others which just get us right back to square zero again, wondering how we keep finding our way back to the same things over and over again.

Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! (Matthew 6:22-23 MSG)

Having the wrong perspective just gives us more darkness to deal with.  Sometimes getting a change in perspective leads to light and light dispels darkness.  Proverbs 4:23 reminds us:  Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.  The heart is where life starts and often ends.  Get right perspective in your heart and the journey will likely be filled with light.  Keep a wrong perspective and we get all twisted up in life’s maze.  Today, I wanted to spend just a little time looking at how we perceive things.  It may come as a surprise to you, but if we think we are going to go through life problem-free, we are a little deceived.  Somehow, we have bought into some fantasy – a lie.  We cannot escape problems – they have a way of finding us!  A life without problems is indeed a dull life.  Now, if you have had your share of them lately, you are probably going to tell me you’d like a little “dullness” right about now, but hear me out.  Problems are a way for us to grow.  They change our course – alter our thinking, affect our heart, get us deeper into Christ.  Without those problems, you might just wander never learn the lessons of the maze.  You won’t learn to keep perspective – you’ll allow the maze to define your perspective.  If you have ever been deep inside the maze, you can simply look up, find some focal point such as the direction of the sun and navigate from there.  In looking up, you change your perspective!

Scripture tells us if we are faithful with the small stuff, we can get into the thick of the bigger stuff.  This is why our problems may seem to “magnify” a little as we grow up in Christ.  We already have figured out the smaller ones with God’s help and now we are ready for some larger ones.  The little ones prepared us for the bigger ones.  The bigger ones are necessary, because the expand us.  Just as our shoe will eventually expand to the form of our foot, so we become “comfortable” in dealing with some types of problems over and over again.  When we get a new pair of shoes, they may rub, seem a little tight, and even cause us a little discomfort.  We forgot how the “old pair” got to be so comfortable – it was in the wearing they conformed to the shape we became accustomed to and actually felt at ease within.  Our problems rub us the wrong way at first, seem to box us into tight fits we don’t think we can escape, but in time, we begin to see ourselves becoming more comfortable in them.  We don’t give up the new pair of shoes because of the first blister – we put a bandaid on the blister and persevere.  Why?  We know this will become a useful pair of shoes for us in a short matter of time!

In the midst of the problem, we might not really see the solution.  The solution is often a matter of perspective.  When you step back, stopping long enough to just take in the circumstance, you often begin to see there is something you did not notice before.  Why?  It takes a little longer for us to “see” when we are moving and caught up in the “trying” than it does when we just stop long enough to gain a new perspective.  One thing I want to leave you with today – no problem you experience today is ever solved exactly like the problem you faced last week. Each problem is unique – no matter how close it appears to the last.  You can buy two pair of shoes on exactly the same day, exactly the same brand and style – but one pair fits a little different from the other.  Why?  Try as they might, human beings are making these shoes, so they will all be just a little different.  The same is true with our life’s problems – humans are involved, so don’t expect the same issues to be exactly the same!  Just sayin!