You don’t see the world as it is. You see it as you are.
What?! I heard this yesterday. I had to write it down and read it 7 times. Is this real? Do we do this? Do I not see the world for what it really is? What even is it? Is it something other than what I see?
Some see that it’s raining, and they’re thankful for the rain. Others find the rain an inconvenience.
Some people LIVE for going to Disney World. Others find it not worth visiting, with its lines too long and weather too hot.
Some folks hear the latest scoop about a person and are intrigued. Some find it annoying gossip.
So what is the world? I guess it’s truly what is inside us. If you enjoy little things, you appreciate little things. You notice the cat’s whiskers, water droplets on a leaf, freckles. If you appreciate design and symmetry, you notice the architecture of a building, the swirly shape of the foam on your latte, the pin striping along the curve of the hot rod. Maybe you long for substance, so you’re drawn to those who think deeper, are well-read, have something meaningful to say with a colorful vocabulary. Perhaps you are spiritual and see glory and light, grace and mercy, everywhere you look.
I like to think I see the world with optimism, through a lens of joy. Yet I know I find some people off-putting, I take offense to what I hear sometimes, and I complain about things, all that anybody else might not find off-putting, offensive, or annoying at all. There are certain types of people I like to be around that some of my friends can’t stand. I find summer’s intense heat exasperating and awful, and I like it when other people think so, too. It’s freaking hot. I like sharing Bible verses and prayers with Mandy, but I dread getting that same old “you just gotta put on a tutu and dance” meme AGAIN in my inbox from yet another social media follower who thinks it’s cute. I like friends who join me in lamenting the terribly poor service at the DMV, and I like friends who agree with me about the divine goodness of lemon icebox pie (clearly a gift from God).
Does that mean misery loves company? Sure. But joy loves company, too.
We gravitate toward people who are like-minded, of course. We need the company we keep to fuss with us about whatever ticked us off, and we like being among people who love to look at rocks as much as we do. (I love rocks.) We like having people around us who justify our thoughts and opinions, and we like it when they substantiate our thoughts and opinions. I think those are natural, human-being desires. It’s how we are wired up. And it makes me think.
I want to be surrounded by people who love big, offer grace, and appreciate substance. As much I love to think I’m always right (sshhh, don’t tell my husband I might be wrong sometimes), I don’t really want to be surrounded by “yes men” but instead people who challenge my thoughts and make me want to be better. I want to be around people who love and trust God, who send me verses of encouragement, and who help remind me that He is present when I feel alone. I want to be among smart, up-and-coming people, ambitious ones who want have big dreams, lofty goals, and a mapped-out path for their success, so I am motivated to hang on to and actively pursue my own ambitions.
People who eat cheese, like the really fancy, good cheese…I want to be with them. People who have traveled and talk about memories of faraway places and unique experiences. Women who have messy houses and cute kids with sassy mouths, both of which must be kept in check…come sit by me. Men who love their wives, have dirty hands from working hard, who make pithy comments and dad jokes…get over here. Shops with sweet, faint scents and calm music, restaurants with falafel and tzatziki sauce, parks with tall trees and benches in the shade of low-hanging limbs, I want to be there.
I don’t necessarily like the world right now. I think a lot about how much that has to do with me, my heart, and the way I’m seeing it. I know it does. I’m a little bitter right now, I know that, and it’s bending my perception of the world, perhaps in a good way so I learn but maybe also in a negative way, also so I learn.
I will be checking with myself, questioning my inner monologue of gripes, and asking myself why certain people annoy me. I’ll be taking a closer look at my circle, who I text and text back, who gets my attention, and who I tend to keep at arm’s length. I want to keep a hold on myself, make sure my bitterness doesn’t get the best of me (I’m telling you. I’m feeling some kind of way lately.), and maintain some hope.
I want to keep God front and center, too. I fall short a lot, and I try to do things myself, handle everything, and call all the shots, knowing all the time, full-well, that I need to look to Him, ask Him, and let Him lead ME to, through, and out of whatever when I need leading.
I’m not sure how I see the world – through rosy lenses or broken glass – it’s up in the air right now and it changes (sometimes daily or even hourly). I do recognize that I see it only according to who I AM, though, and developing and staying in touch with who I am will make all the difference.