“Ready for a surprise? You blink twenty-five times every minute. Each blink takes one-fifth of a second. So if you take a ten-hour automobile trip, averaging forty miles per hour, you’ll drive thirty-three miles with your eyes closed!” (Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living, www.insight.org)
This is the first paragraph of a July letter from Pastor Swindoll to subscribers on his website. He applies this analogy to different areas of our lives and asks, “What don’t we see?” I’ve been playing and replaying his question in my mind.
Is there an emotional equivalent to the blinking of eyes? When we blink, do we focus on ourselves and miss the emotions—good and bad—around us? Does emotional blinking provide lubrication, cleansing, and protection in the same way this action does for our eyes? Does the problem come when our blinks last too long or happen too often? Are our blinks an automatic reaction or a deliberate shutting out of things we don’t want to deal with?
- “I’ve had enough!”
- “Why does nothing good ever happen to me?”
- “Why is everybody always picking on me?”
- “You hurt me. Why should I forgive you?”
Our relationships are closely tied to our emotions. Do we blink so we don’t see things that would hurt? Or do we blink to block out the petty irritations that are a part of every affiliation? And what are our thoughts during those blinks?
- “I hate it when he does that, and he knows it, the so-and-so!”
- “What I don’t know can’t hurt me.”
- “We sure don’t think or work in the same way.”
- “I can’t always find the spatulas, but she unloads the dishwasher whenever it needs it.”
Are our blinks full of ourselves or grace? Can we change that?
I look back at a life full of blinks in my relationship with God. What did I miss when my eyes were closed? Love, comfort, peace, grace, forgiveness, joy, miracles, His leading, … a long list.
Do I want to stop blinking? Physically, blinking is a necessary function for healthy eyes, and I believe that patterns like this were created for our good–blinking is also a necessary pattern for emotional, relational, and spiritual health. However, our health depends on what we focus on when we blink.
What do I see behind my eyelids? Me, myself, and I? That results in selfishness, egocentricity, lack of empathy, narcissism, jealousy, … a long list and not a very happy one.
But what if my blinks are God sightings? What if, by closing my eyes for a split second, I focus on the Holy Spirit who lives in me? What if by blinking I lubricate and cleanse my vision so I can see what God wants me to see?
How would my life change with this kind of blinking? What would I see differently in the next ten-hour drive through my life? I’m going to try it.
The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (The Message)