Friday, April 8, 2011

In Anothers' Eyes

Have you ever had someone compliment a feature about you that you, yourself, have never noticed?  I had a friend in college who always had a fascination with my nose.  "But, it's such a neat nose," he would often say.  He actually had moments where he looked mesmerized as he studied it up close.  "You're crazy and you're freakin me out," was usually my response.  "Why, I have the most plain nose I've ever seen," I would tell him as I examined it for myself closely in the mirror.  "Huh, I just don't see it," I would say as I shrugged it off.  To this day, I still can't quite figure out what it is that he found so "neat" about my nose, but I know that no self-study of my own reveals what was seen in his eyes.  It's just an average nose.  Right?  Well, recently in church a man spoke words to me during a conversation that left me even more baffled.  "You're just on fire for the Lord!" he said in excitement with genuine love and warmth in his eyes.  In my head I thought "who me?" as I tempted to look over my shoulder for a glimpse of the person to whom he really intended those words.  Sure, I knew I had fallen deeply in love with the Lord, but "on fire" was, in my own mind, an aspiration towards which I was still diligently working.  But....isn't it interesting that in anothers' eyes, I was already there?

So, what about the other person in the same church building who saw me and thought I was a complete snob? (To my knowledge no one thought or thinks this, but I use it as an example) Who has the right perception, or are they both wrong?  What did one see that the other didn't?  Or, are both of them right?  Could I be "on fire" for the Lord and be a snob too?  Well, then we have to wonder what it means to be on fire for the Lord (or anything for that matter) and also what it means to be a snob.  By whose definition of both "on fire" and "snob" are we going? For that matter, can anyone at all be accurately perceived by another?  In my eyes my son is the most precious child in the world.  A little boy in his class saw things differently last week.  In my eyes, my husband is growing in the Lord by leaps and bounds.  He doesn't attend the men's bible study at church regularly so is it possible that a regular attendee might see him as not as serious about his walk with God?  In anothers' eyes, Sam's faith might be weak because he doesn't have multiple bible versus memorized by heart.  Because I live with him and watch him everyday, in my eyes his faith is stronger than it has ever been.  What is the point?  The point is this -- how we're each perceived in anothers' eyes is always going to be lacking something.  Only God can see the entirety of us. 

I'm only 31 but that's old enough to have already been perceived in a number of ways - some good, some not so good.  I try not to focus on the latter, but I don't think we can live our life without giving some consideration to the ways in which others perceive us.  It becomes dangerous when we spend too much time considering the perception of others, but a minimal amount of time is usually inevitable.  Ask yourself how you believe others perceive you.  What do you come up with?  Do you think people see you as "on fire" for the Lord?  Do you think they see you as selfish?  Do you think they see you as compassionate and understanding?  Do you think they see you as boring or uninteresting?  Spend about five minutes considering how others perceive you.  Write down what you come up with and now spend about five more minutes considering how you perceive you.  Are you selfless or selfish?  Are you unloved or loved? Are you mistreated and misunderstood?  Do others see you as important?  Do you see yourself as important? 

As you consider the ways in which others perceive you, you probably acknowledge that they aren't completely right if everything they think is bad.  "Well, they don't know everything about me," we say.  If everything they think is good, then I can assure you, they're still in the dark when it comes to everything about you.  No single person on this earth can accurately perceive everything about another.  Our perspective is and always will be limited regardless of how well we get to know someone. If one church member sees me in a positive light but Bob in the back of the room thinks I'm a snob for never saying "hi" then I can assure you, both members are only seeing part of a whole.  At the end of the day, the only other eyes that matter besides our own are those of God's.  He created each of us to be unique and only He can see everything that's inside of us, both good and bad.  We can reveal what we want others to see and we can hide from them what we don't want them to see.  On the other hand, we can hide nothing from God so doesn't it seem like how He sees us is the most important?

I recently had someone tell me in their own way that I wasn't acting like God because what I was doing wasn't something He would ever tell that person to do.  Well, God would never tell me to act like that, the person said in similar words.  Well, trust me it was a major attack on my walk with Him but at the end of the day I realized that God hadn't called that person to do the things He has asked me to do, so He no doubt hadn't asked that person to do what I was doing - and, for me, what I was doing, or rather not doing was indescribably hard.  People often see only what they want to see, never see what they choose not to see, and always see through a limited perspective.  Often times, they're not even to blame when their perspective is skewed, and it's hard to purposely sit back and let them think the worst of us when it's in our nature to defend ourselves.  On the other hand, it's easy and comforting to hear the perspectives that build us up.  Take each perspective into account and then ask God to show you how He sees you.  In anothers' eyes you may be beautiful and in anothers' eyes ugly-- neither of which is overly important as long as you know how you're seen in God's eyes.  

Take into account a little of how others see you and a lot of how God sees you. Have a blessed day everyone and know that in God's eyes you are beautiful and loved!



  1. I know what you mean. :) It's weird when someone else see something in us that's positive. It's sad but as human being we always go for the negative. We can never really trust or imagine that someone is thinking good of us.

  2. Whatever you were, or are now, you are certainly a deep thinker! Personally, I just look for the good in others, and comment on that. If you reward good behavior in any living thing, that behavior will become the dominant trait, and eventually the bad stuff that wasn't fed will starve! I overheard that conversation you referred to, and I agree - you are "on fire for Him" - you are seeking, and that is a sure clue that you're ablaze... So, keep seeking Him first, and you'll be just fine!

  3. I totally over think things, but I like how you coined it - "deep thinker." I think I'll go with that one! Thanks, Ray - you're always my favorite encourager :)