In the eye of the beholder

In English we have a saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  Once, whilst on a mission trip, as we were on a bus, driving through a very poor and decrepit part of a Filipino squatter camp, I realised I needed Jesus’ eyes.  I asked Him to show me the beauty around me.  I wanted to “see” different.  I did.  I began to notice people I did not see before, doing beautiful things I did not recognise before.

Then, last week, I received an email from a lovely young lady in Brazil and as I read what she had written, I saw different again.  I saw HOPE.  Hope that the future is in good hands, that the Lord is raising up a generation of young people who see different…not the entitled, spoiled generation we bemoan in the west, but a generation with His heart beating in their chest.

Thank you, lovely young Kimberly, for allowing me to share your thoughts and may you go on to inspire many to see as you see.

“Be Thankful

Every day we face battles and fights. Who doesn’t? Even the most perfect man, called Jesus of Nazareth, faced many challenges: the Pharisees, practitioners of the law, His disciples, with His own weary body sometimes and even Satan in the desert. Although so many fights, difficulties upon difficulties at home, at college and even in my spiritual life, I can’t see this kind of challenges with a negative outlook or something that damages my emotional, mental and physical body. I have only one point of view: Thank God. That’s what you read friend. I face a lot of hard things in life, but I try daily not to focus on it. Nothing is by accident and any final decision made by God is for my own good. (Romans 8:28)

Me being born in the city and country I am, the social and financial status I have, living in the neighbourhood that I am in and having the circle of friends to love and to be alive – that’s because it’s totally God’s purpose. When we are dissatisfied, we tend to want everything to change radically from our reality to another.

You know what? I don’t care anymore having to wait for things, about my economic situation and everything bad around me and you should do the same. That’s obvious, when we face needs and challenges we want change and our flesh hurts. Really hurts. We are humans. We have desires and dreams, and that’s not wrong.

To have a car to go places in comfort, a better house and even that money to buy a large hamburger with Coke and potato chips, it’s not wrong to desire these things. The problem is when we focus too much on what we don’t have and forget what we already have, we are never satisfied. Satisfaction comes from learning and practice (Philippians 4:10­12), it doesn’t come from overnight and doesn’t happen in few magical steps.

If you can’t be conformed immediately, why not start little by little? Don’t you know how to begin? There’s one thing I am learning and heard from a fantastic preacher this year, called Joyce Meyer. “Don’t focus in what you don’t have but in what you already have!”. That left an impression on me. Look at what you have and what God already gave you. There will always be someone worse off than you.

For example, in my case, I don’t have a car and have to go everywhere by bus, I have money just for basic needs, live in a dangerous neighbourhood and more, I see my mom suffer and can’t help so much, but look at what I do have: God gave me wonderful friends from my own city and from the other side of the world, I have intelligence to do an undergraduate course, I have legs, arms, eyes, ears, health, a mom who gives her life for me, I have food, never go hungry, clothes, shoes, computer, natural beautiful hair (hahaha), slim body (many women want that), Wi-Fi connection at home and even a tablet device, speak English, and at only 21 years old I am capable of working as language teacher and in Information Technology. I don’t have so many difficulties to understand and learn anything and the most important thing – I HAVE THE SOURCE OF LIFE INSIDE OF ME! I AM LOVED BY GOD AND I’M HIS PRINCESS! ISN’T IT AWESOME? I already have a perfect life. I have everything I need.

Do I need anything else? Yes. So, what do I need? I need to show and speak to people about the God I serve, because the main purpose for our lives isn’t our satisfaction but glorify God through everything. John Piper shares an important thought in his book Desiring God: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Give one step at a time. Without hurry. Slowly. Declare it to yourself: IT’S GONNA BE OK.

You can do a playlist with songs that most talks about satisfaction and let it lift you up. Commend someone. Buy a juice, snack or ice-­cream for someone. Tell your friend that he or she is important. Go to your neighbour’s house and ask him or her how they are. Call that person you haven’t called for a long time and pray with him or her. Buy lunch for a homeless person, send a bible verse to someone who is not a Christian. Buy a gift for someone, even when it’s not a birthday. Did you realize that satisfaction only comes when we glorify God and we are thankful? We bless ourselves when we bless others. Look to the skies. Be free from selfishness and self-pity and look to God.”

Kimberly do Nascimento Lima

Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil, October 1st, 2015.

(Ever so slightly) Edited by Nicky Swart