Outward, Inward, Upward

There are very few worldviews that do not admit we have room for improvement, that where we are right now is not where we should be.  There are thousands of voices each day that claim they can better us, whether by satisfying our souls or simply whitening our teeth.  But these voices can be distilled into bigger, more general claims.

Society tells us to look outward.  Look at that new handbag or those cool shoes.  See your neighbor's new computer or your boss' new girlfriend?  See how happy everyone else looks?  If you can get what they have, you can be happy.

Spirituality tells us to look inward.  Meditate.  Search your desires.  Look for the strength within you and draw it out.  Just say thanks.  Learn to enjoy the simple things.  Self-help is only a step away.

Religion tells us to look upward.  Notice how lowly you are.  Look where you need to be.  If you pray hard enough... If you give happily enough... If you read your Bible long enough...

We are getting whiplash, trying to stay focused on it all.  It's like running on a hamster wheel, like an endless marry-go-round with fake, painted horses.  These promises are vaguely similar to the truth, we feel, but they are missing something.  They are missing life.  They are missing... God.

God trains us to appreaciate all three viewpoints.

He asks us to look outward with our hearts.  See the people around you?  See their brokenness and how they hide it?  See the beauty of the world around you?  Can you stop and just appreciate the diversity the Creator has made?

He asks us to look inward with our eyes. Don't be quick to judge those around you when you have your own faults.  But also, learn to appreciate your God-given talents.  You are a part of creation as well, and you too scream the brilliance of the Creator.

But, at all times, He asks us to look upward with our spirits.  Before we have the power to see the world around us, we must first realize that we are seen.  Before we have the power to appreciate the creation, we must first learn to appreciate the Creator.

Our God is a radical God.  He doesn't just want to change the angle from which we are looking at things.  He wants to change the eyes by which we see them.


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