I collect quotes from a variety of sources for future use in this blog. Many times I will look at my collection of quote and notice that two or more just seem to go together to form a thought or topic for a post. Today’s post is such a case.
I don’t recall exactly where I got this quote from Robert Hunter – “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest places if you look for it.” I know that I got this other quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog where I most often get inspiration. “It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” – Thoreau
When I put them together in my mind, I come up with seeing the good and positive in things, people and events because that is what you are looking for. All too often we see the negative side of things because that is what we are looking for. That is a cynical outlook on life, one that stares into darkness from within darkness. It is easy to be drawn into the dark world, so one must work at staying positive by looking for the light – the positive side of things.
There is a natural threat response built into everyone’s brain that makes us draw back in fear from anything unknown, unexpected or surprising. We are immediately afraid because we do not understand, we have not had time to think and evaluate what is happening, to assess whether it is really a threat or an opportunity. That is particularly true when we encounter new people, especially people who are not “just like us.”
Think about the last time that you had an encounter with someone that you had never met before – maybe someone with obvious differences from yourself. Did your “shields” go up? Did you smile or stick or your hand or utter a greeting or did you shrink back and avoid eye contact? What caused that reaction? Were you looking for the light or seeing only the darkness? What did you see?
Perhaps we are looking at the people that we encounter in the wrong way and should all heed the advice that we can find in the Bible to look at people in a different way – “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7)
How can see “see” into the heart of the people that we meet? We cannot unless we take the opportunity to talk to them and get to know them. Our knee-jerk defensive tendencies to form quick opinions, mostly negative, based solely upon external appearances, give us no opportunity to look into their hearts and see the real person that is there.
It takes a conscious effort to overcome those negative defensive reactions, so perhaps you can ask God in your prayers to give you give you the courage to take the risk of meeting new people from a positive frame of mind. Maybe looking from that point of view will allow you to see the light that is within them. Certainly, greeting them with a smile and a warm welcome will allow their light to shine brighter. Who knows, you may have just met a new friend. Try it and see.
What are you looking for? What do you see now?