The Trade

What a mess things seem. Recent school shootings in the US. Terrorist threats at the schools in my county. My boys, sending them on the bus with my worry and prayers for their protection. They are in first and fourth grade. Too young it seems for me to have this anxiety. Prayer walks, prayer alarms, armor of God, warfare. It’s overwhelming sometimes, raising these boys in this day and age. Social media, Smart phones, pornography, bullies. All I have to protect them from. All I have to guard their eyes and hearts from.

But it starts with me, right? What about my heart and my eyes? Have I guarded them?

I was on a much needed walk today. I began thinking about the boys who threatened to harm students at our schools. I thought of their wounded hearts and wondered how they got that way. I wondered of their need for acceptance, approval, to be seen. Then as I looked at the clouds, I thought of the God who made the skies, who made me and these boys and my 3 boys. I heard God whisper, “Why am I not enough?”

Why is the gaze of the One who made the clouds not enough for us, for me?

Psalms 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” This verse came to life today. The heavens were declaring to me His glory and yet it hasn’t been enough. I made a trade somewhere. Many of us have. Mark 8:36 states “And what benefit is it if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” The Message version says, “What could you ever trade your soul for?”

I’ve made a soul trade with the world. I’ve chosen to believe likes and followers mean more than the affection of my Creator. I’ve chosen to believe there is greater value in being visible than in sitting at the feet of the invisible God. I’ve chosen to believe friendship with the world is greater than the One who calls me friend.

When did I make the trade? When did I decide His gaze is not enough, and I must have the accepting eyes of others? Too many of God’s children have made the trade, and it keeps us distracted. Distracted from our calling. The calling is the Great Commission: to go and make disciples. The trade keeps my eyes on me and my accomplishments. It distracts me from the need of others.

I wonder again to the boys who terrorized our schools. Did someone in their life make a trade? Was someone’s affection elsewhere when it should have been on them? On their heart? Did someone miss the pain in these boy’s eyes because their eyes were other places?

God does not miss the pain in our eyes. Ever. But we can miss his gaze. If we knew his gaze, if we were familiar with it, sat with it, and gazed back, we would never need another eye on us. Ever.

Psalm 33:13, 18 “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind. The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him.”

I have missed his gaze many times for many years. I haven’t taken the time to sit with him, to focus. My eyes are distracted and tired. My eyes have also missed my boy’s and my spouse’s heart. I have made a trade, friends. Somewhere the lie creeped in that I needed more. The enemy is so cunning. He has us all fooled. But I am exposing him now. I see. I am trading back the world’s gaze for God’s. I am rescuing my soul. Won’t you?

Psalm 141:8 “But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord.”

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