Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Great Expectations

Last week, flipping through Redbook magazine, I came upon an article that stopped me in my tracks about a mom who struggled with accepting her child (http://www.redbookmag.com/kids-family/advice/i-dont-like-my-child?click=pp). It was a powerful and convicting essay because of its honesty, revealing feelings few are willing to admit. “I viewed Sophie through a lens of failure,” she wrote. This is not an isolated story. It is my story. And it is yours. It has everything to do with how we treat everyone around us, how we see them, what we expect, and how we are frustrated because they don’t fit our grid, be it a child as in this story, or a spouse, or a parent, or friend, or co-worker. “You are not who I want you to be,” we think and vocalize in so many words, as if WE are so high and mighty, the perfection of all things. We let those phantoms reign destructively in our lives and relationships, and then wonder what’s wrong.

I carried the haunting words of her article around in my head for days. At the same time, I was deep into writing an article about worldview. Worldview is the way we see reality and make sense of the world. It infects how we see all of life, including how we view and respond to other people. Biblical worldview, based on the reality of God, is different, because it sees life through God’s loving eyes.

And that is radical indeed.

In April, I read Dancing with Max by Emily Colson, a moving account of a single mother who raises her severely autistic son. I was touched by the struggles she endured in everyday things such as picking up a prescription at the drug store, or confronting school administrators to provide an education for her son, or desperately seeking the advice of so-called experts, one of whom advised her to lock Max in a closet. She saw Max differently. “I don’t think this diagnosis steals our dreams,” she wrote. “What if it were the very thing to build our character, to give our lives purpose?” As her perspective continued to change over the course of twenty years, so did her expectations. Her expectations were not diminished, but whole new dimensions of life opened up for both of them.

If a relationship is based on performance, the other person can never be perfect enough, always viewed through a convenient lens of failure. But in the eyes of God, “…you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43.4) Our relationship with God is based on grace alone. That changes the lens completely. We are all created in the image of God, precious in His sight. And as a result of the Fall, we are all depraved, in need of redemption. If we really get that, it changes how we treat others and how we view ourselves. What’s wrong with the world? As G. K. Chesterton once replied, “Sir, I am.”

And what emerges through that redeeming work is the restoration not of our own eyesight but seeing through God’s lens and His great expectations for how life is meant to be.

1 comment:

{K} said...

I read that article in Redbook too. Really sad but I'm glad the mother changed her views.

Love your post! I've had similar thoughts recently regarding some of my own relationships.