Anyone who has tried to take a picture of a child is familiar with the scene above.
"Look here! Honey look at the camera! Happy Face! Say Cheese!"
And yet, even if a smile happens, the eyes stay glued on anything and everything more exciting than that camera lens. As much as my little heart sighs, "Oliver, how hard is it to look for just a second", I can't help but pause and think, how many times am I the little "Oliver" in this scene with the Lord? How many times does He beckon my attention and yet I too am looking everywhere but forward?
Birthdays always make me introspective. My eyes get very focused on me.
What worked, what didn’t. How did I grow? What did I learn? What am I proud of and what am I disappointed about? What were cherished memories? So forth and so on.
Thus, I’ve been very introspective this week going into my 31st birthday.
At a recent pre-birthday gathering, a dear friend asked, “When you stand before Jesus, what do you want to have accomplished?“
Weighty question, right? (I love that my friends are deep wells 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻)
I paused. And then a spiritual scene I had with the Lord, years ago, bubbled up in my memory.
During a morning prayer time, a few years ago I saw a “mental movie” so to say when my eyes were closed as I was praying. ***Please note this is a personal experience. I am not creating a theology around this imagery. The Lord knows I'm a very visual learner, and tends to speak to me visually.
In this "mental movie" I was in what I felt was Heaven and as far as I could see up, down, left and right where millions, if not billions, of framed certificates. It was beautiful and a little overwhelming. What was this hall of fame? I heard a voice that said, “All of these certificates are yours. These are your rewards.“ I then had a surge of awe, and started getting closer to look at them; curious as to what I had been awarded for. Perhaps for preaching to large crowds, a large money offering I had given, or my endurance during an international trip to share the love of Christ. What had I accomplished that Heaven framed valuable for eternity?!
I read the first one “This awards Abigail for looking at Jesus.” It was dated and time stamped.
I went to the next. “This awards Abigail for looking at Jesus.”
Over and over again, I read the same thing. I backed up and realized every single one of them read the same, although the dates were different.
I opened my eyes, and with tears in my bedroom in my bathrobe I thanked the Lord for showing me that. It has been impactful imagery for me, to say the least.
I find it so significant that regardless of some of those dates and times represented big platform ministry moments, or simple prayers at the kitchen sink... all that was recorded was EYES on JESUS. Why am I sharing this?
It‘s a humbling heart check for us all.
Where are the eyes of your heart?
This year, I do have many "measurable" goals. However my top ambition is to keep my gaze on Jesus.
-In conversations in my head and in my home;
-During my big dreams and mundane duties;
I want my eyes set forward on eternity; on Jesus.
May we all remember, big or small is not what Heaven measures... on or off is.
Are our eyes on Jesus or off Jesus?
I'm deciding it's much more fruitful to take my eyes off of me and put them on Him.
Eyes Set Forward, Abby ***Don't forget... The Cirkles are cheering you on.