A note from Kelly King: I think you will enjoy Courtney Veasey’s article today on perspective. As leaders, we must ask the Lord to examine our hearts on a consistent basis, confess our sins, and be cleansed through the cross. When was the last time you asked the Lord to do a thorough cleaning of your life?
I aim at being a good housekeeper. While I’m no Martha Stewart, I do like for my space to feel clean and at least have some semblance of order. But there have been times when I’ve been down on the living room floor playing with a toddler or family pet or lying on my back following a workout and looked sideways only to notice layers of dust, remnants of crumbs, strands of hair, etc. that I had overlooked while cleaning from a top-down view. The floor had looked clean enough when just passing through the room but being at eye level revealed otherwise. Been there? If not, try it for yourself, and you might be shocked at what you discover. Some dirt and areas in need of more attention are best uncovered when at eye level.
Consider how this same concept applies to our lives as Christians, especially as we exercise leadership. No matter how “clean” and “together” we may appear or even actually be as leaders, there should still be periodic (if not frequent) times when we ask God to help us get an “eye-level” perspective of both our inner and outer selves. This practice is modeled a number of times in Psalms, the most well-known perhaps being in Psalm 139:23-24 when David prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” Here the psalmist beseeches God to know him intimately, to examine and reveal his heart and thoughts—those inner places undisclosed to the eyes of man, but fully accessible to God. He asks God to search out any harmful behaviors that might take him from the path of righteousness and ultimately to lead him in the way of life.
Similarly, upon reflection of the goodness of God’s law and guiding presence, in Psalm 19 David acknowledges the reality of potential blind spots in his character and asks God to reveal these and keep him from such. The priority for David in verse 14 is that his speech and inner meditations be acceptable to God above all else, for in getting that priority straight, he would certainly be the best leader he could be for his people.
Real honesty can be a scary venture, and the willingness to acknowledge blind spots doesn’t come easy to our human nature. Yet we must push past fear and pride to develop the practice of asking God and trusted others to help us see about ourselves what we are unable to see from our limited and biased perspective.
Recently, I was on my knees scrubbing out some stubborn stains on my kitchen floor, and in doing so I noticed a dead wasp just under the edge of the stove where I often stand to cook. Was I a little embarrassed and puzzled that I hadn’t noticed this big ugly insect there before? Sure, but I was also glad I hadn’t yet stepped on its stinger and could easily toss it out with the trash. “Eye-level discoveries” of a personal nature are much the same. Sometimes we find that our hearts, attitudes, motives, etc., have been fairly-well maintained. Other times we are shown potential hazards that need to be addressed.
Are you in the practice of undergoing such intimate examination? If not, and even if so, consider asking God today for this kind of eye-level perspective and a willingness to do what it takes to live and lead in the way everlasting.
Courtney is a PhD candidate in biblical interpretation at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the former Director of Women’s Academic Programs and faculty member also of NOBTS, and she has also served on a number of church staffs and in parachurch organizations including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life. Courtney currently resides in Florida where she loves spending time on the water and cheering for her beloved Florida State Seminoles.