Recently, TT and I were out together for a date. While we sat at the table, she started looking through her straw and giggling. In the midst of laughing and looking through the straw at me, she said, "Look, tiny dad face." She is like her father and laughed at her own joke.
"Seriously dad, when you look through this straw it makes everything tiny!” I thought to myself, now there is a wise observation. How often do I find myself "looking through the soda straw" so to speak in regards to God, myself, circumstances, and others?
The rest of the evening we kept laughing about the "tiny world" we kept seeing. She said, "When you put the straw down, it is like things get so much bigger!" This got me to thinking how often the "soda straws" of life rob me of seeing my God in His fullness and enjoying those around me with His help.
What can make up the "soda straw"?
Our Preferences- God grants us the wonderful freedom of choice and the gift of conscience. We are free to choose how to mold that conscience with His Word. With some matters that are explicit, His Word is equally as clear. In other areas, He grants us freedom to operate in stewardship before Him. So much unrest, criticism, and interpersonal problems come from elevating our conscience over someone else's as superior. We then violate theirs by expecting them to adhere to ours. We easily become condescending, self-righteous, and incompatible with those around us. What might it look like? Probably the easiest place to demonstrate this is at church. The songs aren't what you think are best, the temperature is not right, the message should have been more this or less that, they don't have the activities you think they should, etc. Put the straw down and back away.
Our Circumstances- This is a tough one. What is taking place in and around our lives seems to be the totality of our life. It is what we think about each day. It is what the Devil delights to tempt us about each day. It can consume our thinking and frame our narrative. For example, if you've got uncertainty at work or with a relationship, it can be what everything else around you ties into and hinges upon. You can find yourself in "analysis paralysis", tunnel vision, or in the prison of anxiety. Put the straw down and back away.
Our Flesh or Unrepentant Sin- Though someone becomes a Christian, they still experience the fight from their sinful nature inside of them. As alluded to earlier, this means daily temptations to sin. When one gives into doubt and sins, that issue needs confession or it will become a stronghold in one's life. Let's try to illustrate it- you give into the temptation to be angry with your spouse or child. Until you resolve it through confession with God and reconciliation with them, that "soda straw" frames your outlook and interactions. It becomes a part of your narrative, affecting it adversely until you remove it. Put the straw down and back away.
"Soda straws" end up minimizing the outlook God desires us to have, they create an untrue outlook about a person or situation, and rob us of what is surrounding us.
TT and I had a good time looking around through the soda straws as part of a silly night together; it was harmless fun. Looking through a "soda straw" in this life is equally silly but incredibly harmful.
Friends, when you put the "straw" down and look at your God clearly, your world is a lot bigger (also better) as well.