Blurry Binoculars

Hi! Aloha! Ni hao! In all – hello again! I hope you’re well and safe. Please let’s all remember to say a word of prayer for our fellow brothers and sisters in Beirut who are struggling with COVID-19, a major economic downturn and now, the recent explosion in that city. We pray God’s grace and healing over the people and city.

For some reason I’m not sure of, I’m excited at the thought of writing this post; and I can almost sense I would be doing a couple more posts on the subject. Perhaps we should do a series – what shall we call it now? Anyway, this one is close to my heart because I have lived it, so it’s not just another story but my truth.

For a significant part of my adult life, I lived subtly avoiding deep connections. In fact, as my mum once put it, I chose to like who I wanted to when I wanted to and to the extent, I decided. It was all about me, my preferences, and my emotions. Cool right! Yes – but selfish.

Another expression of my avoidance situation was what I’ve termed a “box and throw” situation. I could meet someone today, strike up an exceptional conversation where we connect and you feel like we’ve known each other for years and are the best of friends, and once that’s done, I would walk away and never reach out again. I was absolutely done at that time! These character traits were not because of my introverted nature; but more of my own design – where I had created this obsessive need to “protect myself from the world”.

Imagine all this “specialness” playing out with just one-on-one relationships; you reckon that in communities, I was strategically non-existent. I again developed an evasion mechanism where I was impossible to find and connect with; if you got “too close”, you were automatically met with my wide-eyed blank stare and a cold smile; and if you tried to understand my rationale, our “friendship” would become non-existent in a heartbeat. We’ll discuss community affairs some other time. How did I survive, you may ask? I’m not sure but I know I was blessed with friends who took my state of the art bad behaviour in stride because they said they could see beyond my façade and loved me to redemption. It was even tough for my parents at some point, but they loved me still. Bless them!

Why am I sharing all this?

For each individual reading this, you must come to a place of personal introspection where you ask yourself the hard questions and answer with brutal honesty if you must grow.  In doing this, I realized all I just shared but more importantly I realized why I became that way.

As a child/teenager, I had observed the weaknesses in people and people groups very blatantly and I formed a mindset that people were fundamentally unkind and were more often than not, friendly for what they wanted to get, after which they would walk away. The gap in my observation and in turn, thought process was that the experiences were not mine. I had taken someone else’s experiences and used them as binoculars from which I viewed the world. I had no knowledge of what led up to the events or the details of any of them; but my young mind said, “I have seen my loved ones suffer deep hurts, that would NEVER be me!” Then I got older and had my own fair share of tragedy which further solidified my thoughts because of the lenses from which I viewed them. Looking back; I can say that I have known deep pain but I have also known much deeper love – that I couldn’t have known if I didn’t open myself up to people and communities without which I would most likely have still been wallowing in pain.

Moral of my tale:

First, you cannot continue to go through life with blurry binoculars based on other people’s experiences, realities, or stories. In argument to this, you could say it saves you less hurt because you take these as guides for your lives. This may be true; but what if you were told only half of the story? What if their experience was to teach them lesson, and you don’t need that lesson? What if it was part of their journey; and not yours? Please don’t borrow people’s broken or blurred binoculars to view your life and experiences. It is way too risky! View life from the firm and tried foundation of the Word of God and sound counsel tested through the Word.

Secondly, know and accept that everyone is imperfect. People are fundamentally imperfect with everyone being on their own journey. Please don’t judge people based on the phase you meet them but rather, see them through God’s eyes and love them. Truth is, you’re flawed so don’t sit on your high horse casting aspersions and judgment – rather be gracious and merciful. I know this so well because, my friends from those years showed me so much mercy, it’s mind boggling. If they or anyone else whom I have known for that stretch saw only that part of me, they surely would have written me off.

Third, be open. Life and relationships are an adventure. Like my husband would say, cultivate friendships and be interested in people without necessarily having one sole bus stop in mind (e.g. marriage, mentorship, career advancement, etc.) People often know when you’re here for the gain; and even if you do connect for one reason, grow into appreciating them as “people”. Like I heard a very wise woman say recently; your connection with a person may not be for today, in fact, it may not even be for you. It may be for you to pay it forward to someone else. Be patient to build relationships – it’s a journey; not a quick game of hopscotch (in Nigerian parlance: tumbo tumbo). There is trust, intentionality, and compassion required.

What next?

Check your binoculars! Reflect and ask yourself what underlying beliefs you have about people, relationships, men/women, work, entrepreneurship, mentorship, joining communities, fashion & style, parenting, etc. Assess if they are based on fears, passed down biases; or on wise and logical decisions; and better still, the Word of God.

Check how far you have seen or can see! Have your binoculars limited you from finding joy and fulfilment; and expression to your multiple giftings? Perhaps they are due for change.

Change them! This is the hard part but do the work. Find the truth, begin to practice it, intentionally step into new relationships that support these new binoculars, and then find people who live it so they can model it to you.

Please let me know your thoughts after you read this. It’s always a pleasure reading from you!

As always,

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you, C.I.

    We all have a unique matrix like our fingerprints. Our personality, experiences, roots, mindset, etc. all form our knowledge system and how we operate. Without understanding these things we can’t fully evolve into releasing our greatest potentials. We are ultimately responsible for the outcomes in our lives.

  2. Very apt. Excellent article! It reveals so much about building relationships and enjoying daily living.

  3. Amazing Read. We need to be able to ask ourselves the deep questions around- whose lens we are borrowing and what conclusions we are forming about people and truly led LOVE lead. I enjoyed reading this.

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