This past weekend I picked up new eyeglasses. It was a huge deal for me as I have struggled with finding the right lens for the past decade. When I turned 40 my vision got really complicated as my mild farsightedness worsened in both eyes but to varying degrees. As a result, my eyes see better further but my left eye is much stronger than my right. When it comes to reading up close I am helpless without glasses, but I also need help seeing far away. Cue progressive lens, which have been the bane of my existence for the past 10 years. Even after 3 different pairs of glasses over the years I continue to struggle to see clearly.
In this ‘finding the perfect glasses’ go-around, I had reluctantly spent an extra $200 on Zeiss lens just to see if they would solve the issues I had with my older progressives, but really not expecting a huge improvement. Imagine my amazement trying on these new glasses and feeling like I’m finally able to see clearly for the first time in years! I walked out of that Optician like someone who had been gifted a cool million. I could REALLY see!
The first thing I noticed were the bags under my eyes. (Ugh!) Normally that would be a depressing thing but seeing them so clearly made me realize I was seeing clearly. As I got in my car I immediately noticed how dirty my windshield was. I have never been so happy to see dirt in my life. As I navigated my way home, I smiled to myself because everything in my sphere of vision was crisper, sharper and clearer. I could actually see the features of the people in the cars behind me when I pulled to a stop. And the icing on the cake? I did not feel compelled to shield my eyes from the glaring sun with my go-to D&G sunglasses. What!!? The glare free coating was working overtime and I could not be more thrilled. I kept repeating to myself in disbelief, “I can see, I can see!”
I couldn’t help but think of the lyric in the song ‘Amazing Grace’, “I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.” To see clearly, to see things as they really are—what liberation. I pondered how this was such a fitting metaphor for my life lately.
You see, (pun intended), I have been having revelation after revelation about my life this past year. It’s been amazing, painful, inspiring, clarifying and humbling, all at the same time. It’s as if I finally stumbled on the secret combination that unlocked all the mysteries of my life that previously had been hidden to me. The process didn’t happen overnight—in fact it has been a work in progress for decades. But the increased clarity over the course of this year has been undeniable. If I had to sum it all up in a nutshell, I would say that I can see clearly the pathways of my life and understand with profound respect my history, my identity and my humanity. I appreciate how I have become the woman I am, I accept my many mistakes and shortcomings, and I am making peace with aspects of my past for which I had no control. It has been a crazy journey, my life, and for so long it confused me.
Now, I see so clearly how my identity for most of my adulthood, had been rooted in performance, privilege and posturing aka The Big Three. I lived my life by the secret codes of; Look at what I can do, Look at what I have and Look at what I can do for you. I lived tethered to ways of being, achievement and entitlement which were bound to change over time. All were attempts at garnering me the approval of others I so desperately sought. But when performance, privilege and posturing were stripped from me—when I could no longer do, when I no longer had anything anyone wanted and when I believed I could no longer help others, I felt inadequate and ashamed of myself.
I was ashamed because I did not really understand my true worth. I didn’t know then that as a child of God, I was the precious, beautiful, beloved daughter of a King. It was lost on me that there was a predestined purpose for me– that as God’s masterpiece, constantly being sanctified and made new, that I was becoming more of whom He made me to be. It is only when I had to stand metaphorically naked, humbled, and contrite in His presence that I started to see how much he loved me, even during the midst of my toughest trials yet.
The notions and things I clung to for my self-worth were like shifting sand, never solid, permanent or secure. I was moored to an un-anchored ship. I am so grateful that the veil has been removed from my eyes and I can look at my life and myself unflinchingly. It matters not what I have achieved, who I know, how I look, what I have or what I can do. My true identity is in Christ who has made me complete and renews me daily. “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
Coupled with clarity of vision has come truth. And yes, the truth does set you free. It is liberating and exciting. No more hiding behind facades or myths I constructed to shield myself from painful realities. My life has worth simply because I am. I am holy and blameless even as I continue to mess up and fall short despite my best intentions. I can wear the helmet of my salvation—my true identity— with a joy and peace that cannot be found in things of this world. What. A. Relief.
With truth has come wisdom. I thank God that like Paul, the scales have been removed from my eyes. If you don’t know the story, on the road to Damascus, Paul the apostle was blinded, after he heard a voice from heaven say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’(Acts 9: 3-8). Before this experience, Paul did not understand who Jesus was and who he was in Him. He was a Jew who believed in God but to him this Jesus character was just blasphemous, claiming to be the Son of God. He persecuted Jesus’ disciples zealously to the point of execution. On that life-altering journey to Damascus, Paul remained blind for three days after which, “something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again” (Acts 9:18). After this encounter with God Saul/Paul, was never the same. In his physical blindness, his spiritual blindness was readily apparent until he could “see” Jesus for who He really is– the Son of God. He spent the rest of his life spreading the gospel to non-Jews and was instrumental in establishing the early church with the Apostle Peter. His newfound sight gave him a new identity in Christ.
Like Paul, I am now firmly rooted in my identity in Christ. Still, understanding the unique truths about my life thus far on this earth is unfortunately painful, which is perhaps why it was veiled from me. What I didn’t understand for most of my life is how easy it is for us to distort the truth based on our life experiences, who people say we are, and what we wish our lives to be like. From these unique viewing lenses, we filter our perceptions of reality so much so that we convince ourselves it IS truth, when it is actually fantasy, illusion or worse, denial. I see how guilty I was of viewing the world through filtered and distorted lenses which made me not see things as they really are. Just like when my vision was distorted over the course of a decade when I wore those ill-designed progressive glasses.
It is not lost on me that the timing of my new “I can see” progressive lenses synchs up so perfectly with the newfound vision I have about my life. In my experience, it is so like the God of the Universe to have a bit of a sense of humor. It’s as if he is saying to me, “Behold Natalie. Didn’t I tell you that my timing is perfect? Didn’t I exhort you to trust me and lean not on your own understanding? Didn’t you understand when I said, I work everything out for the good according to my perfect plan?”
All this recent reckoning gives me a deeper respect for the verse: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a (wo)man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” ( 1 Corinthians 13:11) I truly feel like I’m only just beginning to mature spiritually. And so my clarity of vision begets truth. And truth has brought forth wisdom. These are the gifts of seeing clearly.
Natalie Jobity is an inspirational author, insight career coach, and marketing & branding consultant. She is the author of the Amazon Best-selling style guide Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style. Read more of her inspirational posts on her website. Email her at Elanimage07@gmail.com.