Anne blogs at Front Porch, Inspired about surrendering everyday living for sacred purposes. She and her husband, Jay, are founders of a ministry called The Bridge, focusing on missional living and advocacy for youth in vulnerable places of life. She holds an MA in Teaching Languages (TESOL and Spanish) and is a lover of words and the Word, culture and communication. Jay and Anne have five kids, a front door that can’t stay closed, and an abundance of messy, holy chaos at their neighborhood center/home in Iowa – of all places.
So, it was one of those typical issues in our world. A woman asked Jay to help with her car, so he fixed the window and jumped the vehicle.
“Just spent $52 at garage sales, trying to get clothes for my kids,” she had said with sadness. And, I’m selling some of the kids’ coins at the pawn shop, because I only have 4 gallons of gas left. I need to be able to fill up.”
And, let me tell you what is even sadder: we’ve become calloused.
Five years ago, those statements would’ve stabbed deep into our compassionate hearts. We would’ve felt the pain she feels, agonized with her over the injustices of life, lamenting the uphill battle of raising kids and paying bills.
And, you know what? Some days I’m missing the blinding effects of my rose-colored glasses. I liked it better with them on, when I couldn’t really make out reality and couldn’t focus on truth. When I just shaded my eyes from what is and dreamed instead of what could be, according to me.
Compassion came more easily then. But somewhere on the journey, my compassion got calloused. I think it was when my rose-colored glasses started cracking.
Then, that woman with financial issues? We saw her, just hours later, leaving a store with cigarettes and pop.
Crack goes my rosy lens – again.
And, here I’m left, biting my tongue, and holding on to a dangling, distorting pair of rosy spectacles.
Everyone loves to empower the needy but grateful soul. Everyone loves to help the one who logically, intentionally is then able to help herself.
But, friends, really loving and serving people has to be done with God-given 20/20 vision.
This is what I've learned and keep learning: We can’t hide behind what could be, vision blurred by rosiness. And we can’t trade in those broken glasses, just to buy the lie that feeling less feels better.
There is a better way, another way, a way that is neither tinged with the color of roses or the callous of apathy.
It's grace. A divine tint that colors our world, helping us see people as Jesus sees them.
Grace isn't rosy, and it's not calloused. It's a point of view that looks through layers- first, the sacrifice of the perfect One, and then the reality of my own neediness. When we peer through those layers into our world, the everyday people comes into clearer focus.
Then, we see truth - there are no haves and have-nots at the foot of the Cross. There, we are one equally messy bunch, in need of a Friend who redeems and claims us as His own.
Today, let's allow the cracks in our glasses remind us to try again, to look through those layers, and to apply grace. Let the numb sensations of calloused hearts remind us to worship again in the presence of Jesus, awakening once more to the wonder of His plan and His love for us, His children.
Maybe we'll begin to see ourselves as He sees us - not rescuers or saviors or fixers - but just fellow souls, treasured by the King and dependent on His grace.
So, I write this one for myself and for each of us in the daily-ness of loving and serving the everyday people around us:
May God give us His perfect vision for His very imperfect people, ourselves included.
And, those rose-colored glasses? Seriously, they’ve given me nothing but headaches.