What Happens When We Are Too Close to See?

By Alexander J. Lewis

It isn’t always easy to know what to write when I promise someone an article. Sometimes I’ll run my fingers through my hair thinking, ‘Do I even know things?‘ before I finally succumb to writing silly one-liners until my mind defocuses enough from the stress of the task that ideas rediscover their freedom to exist (and my heart sighs gratefully as the world is made right again).

When my mind is stressed by the need for having a journal idea, I’ll never have one. My mind will run in circles to chase the need for creativity as I stare wishfully into a blank Word doc. For the first six months of my writing articles for others, the pressure of deadlines killed me. I frequently (but secretly) felt that I could hardly think a sober concept when it was asked of me; let alone put that concept into words. But as I continued to write, I slowly learned the power of stepping back. I wouldn’t let myself stare into blank and intimidating Word docs anymore, but began to type nonsensical humors or descriptions of anything that would take my mind out of the state of urgency I was lost within. And this stepping back scripted many articles.

What is it about searching for something too closely that makes it so impossible to find? It’s the glasses you’ve lost that are still atop your head. It is the phone that is precisely where you looked three times in a row but the urgency of your needing to find it somehow blinded you from seeing what had always been in plain view.

looking close

I’ve found that God is often like the lost glasses atop my head or the creativity I yearn for behind a blank computer screen. There are times when I am intimidated by what I don’t know about the world, Jesus, life, or Christianity. In those moments, I often wish so cravingly to know of these things, that I let my urgency and striving for knowledge and experiences distance my mind from a greater opportunity: The opportunity of trust. Trust is a type of knowing, but not the sort of knowledge that comes by memorable words, our memorization techniques or the study of history and science; the knowing of trust comes by friendship (and I am eternally snuggled close to the beating heart of my Creator).

God is so close that to merely search for him often means overlooking his ever-present closeness. This is not to say that He is not in the distance as well, but that within the cleverness of a compassionate and intimate God, He has forever united Himself with us to fit even the space between our spaces. He has bridged the gaps and connected the dots that we so frequently imagine exist between Him and ourselves.

I hear the psalm, ‘Be still and know that I am God‘ and believe it speaks less of a God who arrives when we become still, and much more of a God who is already so deeply immersed in our lives, that it only takes a halt from our busyness and urgencies to realize that we are already experiencing Him.

Don’t become so obsessed with your pursuit of God that you forget His closeness to you. Let yourself be still and aware of him in everything that you do. Don’t forget that God is just as immersed in your silliness, your spontaneity and your curiosity for life and people as He is in your prayer-life, your church attendance or your Bible readings.

Sometimes we are too close to see what we are looking for, so step back; pause; trust – be still and know that He is God.

(For all who are wondering: this article began when I frustratingly scripted, “Do I even know things?” on a blank Word doc. – Voila!)

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