Taking Care of the Eyes of Your Heart
Recently I found myself gazing out of the kitchen window as a winter storm arrived bringing with it lots of that cold, white, fluffy stuff. As I looked out at the snow coming down in bucket loads, I suddenly became aware of feelings and thoughts of deep contentment and gratitude. Now for some of you this may be a natural response while watching your surroundings get blanketed in a cold, wintery mix. For me, however, it was somewhat out of the norm. I’m usually not so “naturally inclined” to find pleasure in winter weather. So, this experience and moment of refreshment was uniquely special. I stumbled onto a quote shortly thereafter that got my “wheels turning” and notebook pages filling up.
“Your refreshing comes from the Presence of God, but it can also come because you get refreshed by thinking differently, by SEEING differently, and by connecting with the God of possibilities in a wholly different way…” (Graham Cooke)
Whether winter snowstorm or flowers and sunshine, I was gently reminded how many times true refreshment begins from the inside out. Thanks to God’s grace working in my life, internal changes occurred and created a new lens through which to perceive that wintery situation. Instead of seeing the coldness, I was able to see beauty. Instead of feeling discomfort, I was able to feel warmth and peace. As a result, I was able to receive that beautiful snowstorm as the gift it was. My physical eyes hadn’t changed, and the external situation hadn’t changed, BUT there had been a change with my internal eyes. I then found my heart thriving in that moment instead of just surviving.
Snowstorms or cloudy days, they simply exist. So HOW do we live life and experience life wholly and fully as God intended it in the midst of the changing “weather patterns”? Do we try to hide from the inclement weather? Time to go south for the winter! (Please know I’m teasing if anyone reading this happens to be a winter “snowbird”.) Or maybe we can just do a really good job of pretending it doesn’t exist? “Snow? What snow?” (Okay, get your coat on you’re gonna freeze yourself.) Or perhaps we just give in and get stuck on a never-ending rollercoaster somewhere between Eeyore and Tigger. Boy does THAT get exhausting!! In my life, I’ve experienced ALL of the above. And none of these options work really well or for very long. Yes, it’s important to set boundaries and there ARE seasons of stepping away from certain “storms,” BUT ultimately God’s design is for us to find victory in the midst of each and every situation. THIS is an ongoing discovery process. What is one of the secrets? It starts on the inside—the heart.
The Eyes of Our Heart
As I’ve been walking down my own journey in pursuit of greater health and wholeness, one of the things I’m continually amazed by is both the parallels and interconnectedness between our physical body and spiritual body. I’ve done some recent “re-learning” on the function of our eyes. What our eyes do in a split second is incredible! The very fact you are reading this RIGHT NOW is in a large part because of your eyes.
Here’s an example. Did you know our physical eyes each have a lens? The lens works with the cornea to help focus light rays coming in onto the retina. These rays are then converted to electrochemical impulses transferred along the optic nerve to the brain. So, if we look at a green pine tree with a cardinal sitting on top, that sight is immediately translated from our eyes to our brain and we can say, “That’s a green pine tree with a cardinal sitting on top.”
Going through everyday life with your eyes closed for even three minutes will quickly remind each of us of the incredible value of our eyes. If our physical eyes are that important, what about our spiritual eyes? Just like our physical eyes have a lens, the eyes of our heart ALSO have a lens that works synergistically with other parts of our being through which we can perceive the world around us.
Ephesians 1:18 states, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened – enLIGHTened– so that you may know the hope to which He has called you…” We have physical eyes, but we also have spiritual eyes that affect what we see and how we experience life. I’d like to share a few nuggets of truth that have been profoundly helpful for me in “eye care of the heart.”
Seeing Through Light
Light! Our physical eyes need it! It provides direction. Life gets much more complicated without it. I think we’ve all tried navigating around the house in the middle of the night at least once without flipping on the night light switch. If you’re like me, it usually results in one or two pretty black-and-blue-marks afterward. But light is just as needed for the eyes of our heart in order to navigate healthily through life.
So where is the source of light for our “heart eyes?” It comes from where all good things flow – the Creator of light. Psalm 36:9 states “For You (God) are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.”
Some other favorite verses that came to mind were:
Psalm 27:1 – “The Lord is my revelation–light to guide me along the way.”
Psalm 18:28 – “The Lord my God lights up my darkness.”
1 John 1:5 – “God is light, in Him there is no darkness.”
Light also provides nutrients and energy. Many of us can remember how light is a key ingredient to the process of photosynthesis that plants use to make food. In the same way our heart eyes also need light to nurture and strengthen our ability to absorb truth in all its forms. Love, joy, peace, etc., these are all truths that flow from the Source of light and feed our inner being!
You may have heard of a reticular activator. It helps you notice some things and ignore others. An example would be if you purchase a new white Honda Accord and pretty soon you begin to see white Honda Accords EVERYWHERE. This is the reticular activator at work. In my life, I’ve personally experienced how my heart eyes have reticular activators, too. When I begin to dwell and feast on light – on God’s love, on His faithfulness, on His goodness, on His beauty, etc., I begin to see it everywhere. It begins to change me from the inside out. (So snowstorms become gifts!) It isn’t that those things weren’t there before. I just didn’t see them because without realizing it my eyes had been slowly conditioned to seeing darkness, or maybe just “cloudiness.” The more we focus on Jesus – the light of the world – the more we see Him around us. Simultaneously our hearts are nourished. As we focus on His light, we are able to receive that life-giving truth we are seeing into our beings.
Seeing Through a New “Lens”
Another truth nugget I have discovered is that sometimes we just need a “lens” change for the eyes of our hearts. I am a strong visual learner. So, as I was thinking about this the other day, a scene from a movie came to mind – National Treasure. In this scene, “Ben Gates” is looking at the Declaration of Independence through a newly found “ocular device” (a.k.a. glasses). He and his comrades, along with masses of other people, had viewed this this well-known, historic document countless times. But when Ben viewed it through a new colored lens he could suddenly see something written on the document that had never been seen before. What was being looked at didn’t change in the least, but what they saw did. They just needed a different lens.
Sometimes I think our heart eyes just need a different lens to look through, too. In place of a lens of fear, we need the lens of love. In place of a lens of anxiety, we need the lens of rest and trust. In place of a lens of hurt and offense, we need a lens of forgiveness and release. In place of a lens of confusion, we need a lens of confident courage and clarity. In place of a lens of shame, we need a lens of acceptance and honor. There are so many tools God has created to help us see through a lens of truth. Here are just a few that came to mind:
Renewing your mind and soul through the Word of God
Reading the Bible (even in a new translation), listening via audio Bible, talking about what you’ve read with family or friends, watching Bible stories on film (especially for kids). There are limitless options in how to renew our minds through the truth of God’s Word.
Listening to life-giving music
Worship music, instrumental music (Wholetones – is a great instrumental option). If you are a musician, play an instrument!! It is so restorative.
Changing your environment
Getting outside and enjoying nature, even just looking at the sky can re-set our “heart lens.” Going somewhere new. Taking a short trip or going to the store, or church, or to a friend’s house, etc.
Spending time with a loved one, friend(s) or mentor(s)
Some of us are extremely relational and extroverted and some of us introverted. Regardless, we need others. Sometimes just seeing something through someone else’s eyes can open up amazing new perspectives that we have not been able to see before. We are designed to function together in family connections and in community. What about spending time with someone in a different age group? Oh how different life is seeing it through the eyes of a child!!
Praying simple in-the-moment prayers. Setting aside focused time for pray or praying with others. Writing in a prayer journal. Sometimes I journal my prayers to the Lord and then journal back what He speaks to my heart and mind (i.e. a scripture verse, a phrase, a picture, or a song, etc.).
Even just reading new inspirational or educational material, or viewing media with edifying and life-filled messages can jumpstart our ability to see through a lens of truth. There are endless creative tools through which God can reveal Himself to us. The very first aspect of God’s nature that He revealed was as the Creator creating something new! He still is JUST as creative today as He was then and desires to reveal Himself and His truth to us in limitless ways. Just ask Him and He will show You. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
Seeing Through Cleansed Eyes
Do you know that there are varied forms of tears our eyes produce? We have those tears that are stimulated by emotions. We also have basal tears. It is a liquid constantly present in the eye which ensures that the cornea is always wet and nourished. Additionally, we have reflex tears. These tears are a level of liquid the eye produces in response to an external stimulus, such as an irritation by a foreign particle (i.e. dust, an allergen). These tears help to wash that irritant out. The eyes of our heart need that continual washing, as well.
Ephesians 5:26 says, “That He (Jesus) might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”
Sometimes our heart eyes encounter “irritants” as well. Lies. Non-truths. It’s part of the world we live in. They need to be washed with truth.
A humorous memory from many years ago came to mind of serving at my church’s yearly summer kid’s camp. One night while the camp was settling down and things got quiet, I and a fellow staff member were quietly talking. A small flashlight laid behind me to provide a little light in the room. As we sat there quietly talking, all the sudden I beheld the shadow of a “monster bug” crawl across the wall in front of me. My friend immediately stopped talking. No words were necessary, my eyes said it all. “What is it??!!” she asked as her eyes got big, too. I pointed to the wall behind her. Needless to say the room went from quiet and peaceful to frantic and lively in about one millisecond. We looked for that monster bug all over while bouncing around the room and couldn’t find it. How could a bug so monstrous be so hard to find? I was five seconds away from going to “extreme measures” in this bug hunt when I all the sudden I had a thought. Embarrassment slowly set in as the realization of where this monster bug was and what it was. As my dear friend continued on the lively hunt, I slowly turned around to look at the flashlight laying in the corner of the room. Crawling across the lens was a tiny little gnat-like bug about the size of a pin-point needle. I must have stared at it for at least 15 seconds before uttering a word as my brain absorbed the full humor of what had just transpired. When I announced to my dear friend (still frantically jumping around) that I found the bug and pointed to the flashlight lens we broke out in hysterical laugher that lasted well into the night.
What do we do when the lens on our “heart eyes” gets a “bug” on them? Wash them in the water of the word – in truth. In John 8:32, Jesus said “the truth will set you free.” What caused the difference in response from jumping around the room like a paranoid kangaroo to hysterical laughter? We knew the TRUTH. What is truth? Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” (John 14:6). So when the shadows in life are on the walls around us, how do we respond? We look at Jesus. He is the truth and will cleanse our lens.
Seeing the PERSON of Truth
Could it be that finding refreshment and wholeness isn’t so much about what we see, but about through WHO we see?
In the story of David and Goliath, we see a boy (David) with a little sling and stone addressing a fully-armed giant. Did David see a giant? Yep! But David also saw his God.
“David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the Name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today, the Lord will conquer you.” (1 Samuel 17:45)
My personal opinion is that David was no different than you and I. He was just as human. David was so fixated on His God in this moment through regularly focusing his heart eyes in His direction that he was able to see through the lens of God’s truth and respond to that giant accordingly. The “basal tears” and “reflex tears” on the eyes of his heart were working well. Our eyes are cleansed by focusing them on the Person of truth – Jesus. It is a continual process, a daily process, and sometimes a moment by moment process!
Just like our physical eyes affect how we experience life, our heart eyes affect what we experience — what we see, what we feel, and what we think. I am reminded daily that I cannot change me. It’s Jesus working inside of me Who changes me. It’s His grace and power! But He delights in giving us the opportunity to partner with Him. Regardless of where we are at, the answer to true refreshment and life remains the same—fix your heart eyes on Jesus and then watch what happens. You may just start enjoying snowstorms!
Father, I pray for each and every person reading this that you would enlighten the eyes of their heart that they may KNOW the hope to which You have called them! I pray that You would provide Your light and Your lens of truth cleansing and restoring vision in hearts! I pray that You, the Source of all light, would guide and lead each one of us forward in the path of life for which we have been created. May eyes be healed even now as we look to You, our good Father, that You may be glorified and Your people wholly aligned to fulfill the purpose to which we have been called. In the mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.
- Graham Cooke – “Pastoring People Prophetically”
- The Bible (in NLT, NAS, and the Passion Translation)
- Picture – www.pixabay.com
Hi! My name is Cherise Krum. I reside in Catawissa, Pennsylvania surrounded by mountains and farmland where the four distinct seasons exist in FULL! I was born and raised in this area with my growing family and have served both in the local church and marketplace arenas for much of my life. I value music, family, heart connections with others and am a passionate fruit lover resulting from growing up at a family orchard and farm market.
In 2009 the Holy Spirit unexpectedly invaded my world a year after graduating from college while working in International Logistics for a local business. A few short months later this small-town girl found herself in Dallas, Texas at Christ for the Nations Institute. While there, God turned my world upside down and imparted a deep hunger for Him, His Presence, and a heart to carry His Presence and goodness to a world He dearly loves. This desire has become a core life passion and continues to grow stronger through varied arenas and seasons in life.
I thoroughly enjoy communicating basic heart truths from personal, everyday interactions with God in a way that inspires and instills greater freedom and desire in others to know Daddy God and His heart more. I love releasing passionate worship through music and dance, as well as releasing His heart through intercession. My desire and prayer is that you are BLESSED and EMPOWERED in the areas God has called you to and that the words shared here may simply plant seeds of His life and greatness in you.