Do you recall standing in line as an elementary student, with all your friends and classmates, as the school nurse performed her annual vision check? I know I’m showing my age, but I do. As a fourth grader, I was sent home with a note for my parents advising that I probably needed glasses. My mom quickly followed up and took me to the local optometrist for a full-fledged eye exam.
Just as the school nurse predicted, I was fitted for my first pair of glasses and returned to school.
What a surprise on that first day! I discovered I could actually read the writing on the chalkboard from my classroom desk.
In my tender elementary years, I’d never been able to read the chalkboard. It was simply a blur of white chalk, so my perspective was that none of my friends or classmates could either. I didn’t know to tell my teachers or my parents because I simply had no idea I should be able to see it.
Until I returned to school wearing my new glasses in fourth grade.
I hadn’t known I should be able to see the big “E” on the standard eye chart either. That eye exam has been many years ago, but it marked a correction of my vision and the beginning of seeing things previously unseen. Chalkboards. Road signs. Instead of a blur of colors, I distinguished amazing details and individual leaves on the trees. Instead of just blurred faces, I recognized people from a distance.
In last week’s blog post, I shared how God used a woodpecker to get my attention to deliver His message: Stop multi-tasking and focus on the purpose I designed for you.
As I wrote that blog post, I struggled because of this nagging question:
How can you focus if you don’t know what purpose God has designed for you?
You see, friends, I’ve been in that place. I had my education and my career, for which I’m forever grateful and have no regrets, but something was missing. A passion. My calling.
I was searching and seeking to fill that void, volunteering for more clubs and committees, chasing something that stirred my heart. I wracked my brain, stressing to find the answer.
God, what is my purpose?
On a Walk to Emmaus six years ago, God began a great work of restoration and redemption in me. My faith deepened and my love for Christ grew exponentially, but that nagging question remained. Exactly what did God call me to do? I was clueless and, honestly, I struggled with that question more than ever before.
Two and a half years ago, I committed to read the Bible from beginning to end. I had been searching for a study plan to read one book of the Bible, one chapter at a time, as I was frustrated with topical studies that jumped around. I yearned for context and continuity. I discovered the launch of the First5 app through Proverbs 31 ministries and started there.
At first, I’d miss a few days here and there, not worried if I needed to catch up, and I didn’t complete the additional Experience Guide that went deeper into each day’s reading. It took great discipline for me to simply keep up with the short daily reading and concise devotions. It was still more a chore, a daily to-do on that never-ending list, but I determined to stick with it.
With each book, I learned things in the Bible I never knew. After the first book, I completed every Experience Guide to gain more knowledge. I remember charting genealogies while reading Genesis, page after page taped together as my hand-drawn genealogy grew. I was intrigued by connections.
About a year into reading the Bible one book at a time, though, something changed.
No longer a chore. No longer a dreaded task on the to-do list.
I woke each morning looking forward to my time in God’s word. I carved time out as a priority for my daily reading. I sought more time. I researched more commentaries and compared versions of the Bible. I resented when other tasks threatened that time. Old Testament connected to New Testament. The basis of my lifelong belief in Jesus Christ grew clearer and stronger.
Something started to connect. A slow, but deliberate evolution occurred.
Mind knowledge transitioned to heart knowledge.
Things grew clear just as they did with my first pair of glasses. I saw the big picture and understood God’s character just as I saw the big “E” on the eye chart for the first time. I saw the intricate details of God’s plan for redemption from the beginning of creation, just as I observed the intricate details of the leaves with my first pair of glasses. I recognized grace in the face of my loving Savior, just as I recognized people’s faces with my new glasses.
In those still moments with God, my daily reading and study of the Bible corrected my vision.
It changes my perspective and allows me to understand God’s truth as I never knew possible.
I see and understand things I previously didn’t see or understand.
Hugs and blessings,
From mind to heart, that’s the key my dear friend to knowing our risen Savior more intimately!