The Eyes Have It

"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness."
Luke 11:34 (New International Version)

I have a recurring dream that frightens me each time I find myself in it. I probably have this dream once or twice every six months. In the dream, I cannot see very well. Instead, my world in the dream is full of wavy lines that should be solid and defined. Only if I am practically on top of what I want to see can I begin to guess what the object is. Not being a sleep expert, I have no idea how long my dream actually lasts, but I always wonder in my dream how my vision has become so poor. Outside of la-la land, I am the only member of the Smith family that has not needed to wear corrective lenses. Clear vision, unaided by glasses or contacts, has been a blessing in my life. In my dream, I continually puzzle over what could have happened to my eyesight.

About five years ago, I made a huge connection in my life. When my children were preschoolers, I could find myself spending hours in front of the television. My favorite channel was The Learning Channel. Second only to that was the Home and Garden network. I was a goner for A Wedding Story and Candice Oleson's Divine Design every time. All my plans for the day to do housework, run errands, and--oh, yeah--spend quality time with my kids could be train wrecked the minute that remote in my hand was used to turn the TV on.

I'll just watch one show, I would tell myself each time. Four hours later, I would realize my entire morning or afternoon was gone. I would frantically scramble around the house before Rob got home to make it look like I had accomplished something during my day. My sweet man would never breathe a word to let me know he was on to my charade; he didn't have to. With the laundry undone, errands not run, and another night of gourmet Cheerios in front of him for dinner, I felt like a loser each time it happened.

Far worse than the sad state of the house was my stinking attitude. Because, of course, I would mull over what I had seen on those shows. My own wedding day and my messy house were being compared to those the camera had followed. As my mind reflected on what others had, my level of contentment plummeted as each show's scene was replayed in my head.

"I didn't have that kind of a budget for my wedding. She was so thin, too, and beautiful. I could never have pulled that sleeveless dress off. And the meal at the reception! All I got was wedding cake and punch. Her guests got a full seven-course meal. Her dress probably cost more than my whole wedding did. That is so not fair!" (All said with a sulking pout.)

"This house is a dump! We're practically on top of each other! If we had another baby...we can't have another baby unless we put him/her in a dresser drawer for a crib! We don't have any room. My furniture is so dated. All the wrong colors, wrong paint, wrong everything. It is so not fair!" (Also all thought with a sulking pout.)

After dwelling on these cesspool-like thoughts of ungratefulness while finishing my bowl of Cheerios, I just dared for any of my family members to complain about anything to me. By this time in my marriage, my husband had learned to just be quiet when I had "that look" in my eyes. My kids weren't so well acquainted with my moods and would dare to try to shake me out of my reverie by asking for a drink of water or something enormous like that. I would snap at them for interrupting my pity fest.

The next day in my quiet time, I would hardly be able to see through my tears over to write on the page of my journal over my guilt caused by my behavior. There was a huge disconnect somewhere. And I could not, for the life of me, find it. In my desperation, I asked the Lord to examine me and show me what was wrong.

Over the course of the next several weeks, each time I sat down to watch just one show, I would get a nagging feeling. I dismissed that feeling as ridiculous several times. And then, one day, God just spoke to me so clearly.

Shawn, the eyes have it. What are you watching?

Um...A Wedding Story. It's not bad, Lord. It doesn't have anything sinful in it, you know.

But how does it affect your attitude?

Oh, it doesn't affect it at all...does it?
(Please don't say it does, I begged!)

Visions of past times in the pit of discontentment ran through my mind in a flash. I saw what I could not see before. I could not watch those shows without them turning me into someone I did not want to be.

Girlfriends, the wonderful thing about life in Christ is that we have liberty in matters of non-essentials. The apostle Paul said that he became all things to all men in order to win some for Christ. PLEASE do not misunderstand me. I am not saying don't watch TLC or HGTV. Some of us have freedom to do what others of us don't. I do not stand in judgment of anyone. I can allow one of my children more freedom in a certain area than another one. I believe that God can do that, too. Maybe TV is not your thing. It could be something else that brings discontentment to the surface.

But what I am saying is that our eyes have the capacity to make our lives full of light or darkness. Discontentment is not a place in which we should wallow. It has the potential to destroy us and make us waste so much time. We become frantic about things that are already settled. Our God adores us. We are completely secure in our salvation through Jesus Christ. Why do we drive ourselves crazy? We have everything we need for life and godliness. He will be faithful to show us where the disconnect is to feeling blessed instead of driven every day of our lives.

The question is: Are we ready to be shown the disconnect and seek to change our lives with that revelation?

Jesus, give me courage to ask hard, honest questions of myself. I can only do that because Your love for me is unconditional and will never fail.