Five Minute Friday

#FiveMinuteFriday

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker, founder of “Five Minute Friday,” broadcasts a writing prompt, challenging writers to writer for five minutes only. In her words, “It’s not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. “

This is a great writing exercise even if you’re not blogging your treasures (memories). Your spontaneous thoughts on a given subject can reveal your personality, daily life, beliefs, etc. If you are blogging, I encourage you to join in! If you want to connect on Twitter, use the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.

Today’s prompt: HEREHere I am

Confession: My five minutes lasted six minutes.

START:

Here:  We should be able to look around us and accurately describe where we are, what “here” means to us.

Often we can’t; our view is obscured or filtered.

Some filters are good, acting as Polaroid glasses, enabling us to see through the glare. They filter out our disappointment, unrealistic expectations, and grudges. With them, we’re able to see clearly.

Other filters are more detrimental. Rose-colored glasses are one thing, but sometimes we go too far with them. Those glasses turn into denial. We think we won’t (or wouldn’t) be susceptible, but like that other “Queen of d’ Nile,” it can be a siren. It prevents us from facing the difficult, from doing what is hard—but right. It sells itself as a safety net or respite from any misery “here” might bring.

rose colored glasses

Rose colored glasses filter our “here.”

Equally detrimental is the black glasses of perfection gone awry. Our self-talk convinces us into thinking that nothing we do is quite good enough. Who we are, and who we are becoming, does not matter enough. From there it’s a slippery slope to depression.

So how do we tell if we’re seeing clearly or if our emotions are skewing our view of reality to the point that we can’t access our here?

Hmmm. I’m out of time. That will have to wait.

STOP.

What do you think?

The answer:

I’m pretty sure I don’t have it. At best, I’m just grasping threads of insight. If we’ve become accustomed to those dangerous filters in our lives, we may not even recognize that we’ve fallen prey to their artifices.

Knocking for answers

Knocking for answers

The obvious response is to ask God. Asking is easy, but the receiving, seeing, hearing, and understanding the answer is harder. Those same filters that prevent clear sightedness are noisy. The shrieks of our wounded egos, our singing “la-la-la-la” with our fingers in our ears, drown out His voice. Likewise, our self-doubt clogs our ears.

Often, we pray for counsel because we don’t want to listen to the quiet voice that is already speaking deep inside of us. It could be because accepting the truth of that voice is too hard. We go to God, shopping for a better outcome. Other times, it’s because we can’t believe we’re worthy or capable or because we’re afraid we’ll fail. Not wanting to go out on a limb, we ask again for guidance. Not just subtle advice—preferably a burning bush.

Part of the solution may be surrounding ourselves with honest, loving friends and family. Another part is to leave ourselves open to hear things we don’t want or expect to hear—whether it’s coming from those friends or from a higher power.

In practical terms, it’s sometimes helpful to wonder what we would tell a friend if they were in our situation. Would we encourage them to pursue goals that we would never trust ourselves to even dream of? If so, it may be time to re-examine our powers of self-criticism and turn it down a notch or two. Likewise, if we look at our situation in black and white—just the facts—and it’s too terrible to imagine our friends living through, maybe it’s time to reach out to a professional or take action.

So that takes me back to where I ended before:  What do you think?

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