I’ve been fascinated all year by our apartment building. Unit floor plans puzzled together like Soma Cubes.
Ours shares walls with six other units. Neighbors walk out their front doors and I have zippo clue who belongs to which wall.
The 18 units of a building are unique, but buildings are identical. I’m in a #115 and all the 115s are the same.
We 115-ers have this octagonal window in the landing leading to the third floor. I always thought it odd that it was frosted so you couldn’t see out. Was it to keep the street lights out? Or maybe to keep the privacy in?
In my narrow apartment, where I spend the majority of my hours, I have functionally one window (and oddly enough, it is a technically a door). I’d often pass by this frosted stop-sign potential-of-a-window, shake my head and think about how it would be a fabulous place to bring in some natural light. Oh cloudy octagon, you perplex me!
Seven months into my darkened apartment life, I was in a friend’s #115 and noticed a discrepancy. Same floor plan; every detail the same to a T. Except that octagon.
My friend had light! My friend had clarity! My friend had a window!!
There was no frosted glass and no mystery to what was outside. It felt like a whole different world over there!
We invented satisfying theories as to why our units differed in only this way. Until I went home. I walked by that window, lamented once again, and noticed something…a tiny bubble at the edge.
I touched my finger to the bubble. Lo and behold, I found a ridge.
I tickled the edge to discover it peeled.right.off. It wasn’t a frosted window at all! All along, a real deal window had been covered up by flimsy film.
Just like that, my apartment could have natural light, too!!
As I leaned in to peel it, I suddenly wasn’t so sure I wanted all that clarity. What about street lamps? What about nosy neighbors? What about my familiar low-natural-light, frosted-window existence? Could I really give it up? It hadn’t been ideal, but would I trade what I knew for an unpredictable view? What if I didn’t like what I saw (or what saw me!)?
Admittedly, it took a day, but I decided to peel.
No more frosted “sticker.” No more cloudy dark. No more window envy. Clarity had been there the whole time.
My relationship with God sometimes feels like that “frosted” “window.”
I know He is there, but the view seems a bit cloudy. I long for more. I sense there is more beyond my experience, but can’t see it for myself.
I end up shrugging my shoulders, occasionally lamenting and passing on by, frustrated.
Maybe I just can’t know Him as others do.
Maybe He isn’t even really there.
Maybe I…maybe him…maybe someday…maybe never…
I was pleasantly shocked to discover my hazy, confused vista was not the window itself, but a crudely cut film meant to stick to the window and cloud the view.
I am pleasantly shocked to discover my hazy, confused vista of God is a crudely cut film as well. Oddly sticky and intended to cloud my view.
What makes up my window film? Self-centered Perspective, Sin and Satan.
Self-centered Perspective. The “maybe I” vantage point is a dangerous one. When I look toward God with me as the starting point, I always get tangled. It puts me behind a hazy film. I see Him not as he truly is, but as I imagine Him. I filter him through my struggles, my biases, my understanding. It’s a crude take on reality.
Sin. If my back is towards God, anything I’m doing or attitude-ing, is sin.
“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
(There is a great article at: http://www.startingwithgod.com/struggles/fall/ about the difference between sin affecting a believer’s fellowship with God – which it does – and sin affecting a believer’s eternal relationship with God – which it does not.)
When it comes to that fake frosted film, they put it best:
“Sin affects your communication with Him and your usefulness in doing His will.
Sin dulls you to the things Christ wants you to be thinking about and to be doing.”
Satan. No one ever wants to talk about the elephant in the room. But why the stink not? There is an ELEPHANT in the ROOM! Talk about it and then call animal control to get the sucker out of there! Satan is out and about and making a mess out of things. He is called the father of lies because he is and does. Nonstop.
At any given moment, if I’ve managed to peel off the self-centered perspective film and the sin film (by admitting it’s there and turning to face God), one layer of film remains. If I’m not seeing God for who He says He is, then I best check the room for that elephant [serpent]. Recognizing the lies for what they are zaps their power.
When I rip those films off faster than I can say “Why is this window an octagon, anyway?” I’m left looking at a God who is who He says He is.
And that is one room with a view.