- Janae Janik
Seeing Life Through His Eyes
It’s the small things in life that are an echo of Christ's love – stirring hope into the hearts of souls weary from life's responsibilities.
Spontaneous movie nights with housemates, fairy lights strung along my bedroom wall, a return to my favorite hometown bookstore, embracing my family after two years in another country, rediscovering a love for reading, looking through old photographs of memories cemented in history, sitting on a train admiring the passing scenery through triple glazed windows, or the warmth of a morning cup of coffee that fogs my glasses if I lean too close.
I heard someone say you have to start romanticizing your own life, and I think that’s probably true. It’s so easy to become bogged down by questions, by doubts, by uncertainties. Incessant thoughts that can keep us focused inward, trapped by the proclivities of our own mind.
Living in the perpetual darkness of deep depression is scary. I have specific memories of the depths of that darkness – driving in a car with friends but being unable to feel any sense of joy – looking through the car door at the Seattle rain pouring down the window – wanting to climb out and curl up in a ball of despair amongst the bushes that lined the road. Feelings of complete emptiness inside.
That darkness can become so familiar that you almost can’t remember anything different – as if that’s how things have always been and always will be. But then there would be moments when I would seemingly wake up – like my eyes would open for the first time.
I would find myself walking across the University of Washington campus - the same path I took everyday, but it was as if everything was new. Suddenly, I was aware of the beauty of the trees as they sat against the background of a baby blue sky. The gothic spires of ornate architecture reached heavenward telling stories of many late night study sessions and increased learning. My spirit felt lighter and my head, clearer.
The simplicity. Romanticizing your life.
Every day I am grateful for the ability to see – and I don’t mean the physical act of seeing necessarily – I mean to be awake to what’s happening around me – of the small joys of life despite a pandemic that has stolen so much – of deep friendships despite long distance – of the sureness of God’s sovereignty amidst pressing unanswered questions.
I’m grateful because I know what it’s like to lose that – to lose your sight. To lose your sense of self. To lose your sense of purpose.
Yes, even as Christians I believe we are so often walking through this world asleep. One of my constant prayers is, “God, help me to live my life with “eyes wide open” – to see where you are and what you are doing right around me – in my day to day life.
But I still get bogged down by insecurities – by questions – by choices that close me off from his guidance.
God, can you really use me? Lord, you have the wrong person. What do I possibly have to contribute - to say?
But in the midst of my insecurity, my question-filled prayer becomes a request for God to again open my eyes. “God, give me sight to see myself the way you see me. So that I can see others the way you see them.”
What if we could all see ourselves the way God saw us? What if we could really believe that we are chosen, purposed, and graced for His callings on our lives?
How differently would our world look? And I don’t necessarily mean the entirety of the world – but our small worlds that we interact with everyday. Our co-workers, our friends, our families? How would your life look if you intentionally chose to bring a piece of Heaven's grace to earth each morning?
There are still days when I feel the heavy weight of depression creeping back. Days where it takes every ounce of strength to get out of bed or days when I have to remind myself to simply breathe against the anxiety that presses against my chest.
And it’s then that I remember: He’s still called me on my worst days. He’s still purposed me. And He’s given me the grace I need for that day.
Matthew 6:34 says, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
He knew I would battle with depression. He knew anxiety would be an uphill battle. He knew I would struggle with an incessant desire for control that would wind its tentacles around my head, paralyzing my mind in a debilitating eating disorder. He knew I would need to learn to surrender despite it all.
Surrender. Surrender. And surrender again.
My heart cries out. God, I can’t do this. You have to choose someone else.
And I realize that he doesn’t need me. But He wants me. He invites me to be part of His greater story – of Him bringing hope, healing, and restoration to the world.
And I breathe deep. And climb out of bed. And I make myself have breakfast.
One day at a time. God, give me grace for today – to do what you have purposed in my heart. Help me be your grace-filled hands and feet. Open my eyes.