I sit down in the early morning hours to get some work done, but I am interrupted by this nagging thought: our dog Barney doesn’t like to poop in the rain. I watch the sprinkles come down and worry that he didn’t do his business while he was outside. I write a sentence, then leave the room to go check on Barney, scanning the carpet for a pile of dog poo.
I see him perched on top of the couch, his favorite snoozing spot, and I think: “Hmm. Seems innocent, but I don’t trust it.” Then I make a more thorough search of the house, making sure he hasn’t left me any stinky surprises. He watches me with bored eyes, but I am not fooled. I sit at my computer again but continue to be interrupted to look for confirmation of my belief.
Lessons from an incontinent dog
Upon further reflection, I realize that I am always looking to confirm my own beliefs. I interpret the behavior of others through a particular lens:
I believe this friend to be a downer and I pounce on anything negative she says.
I believe my kids are entitled, so every ask sounds like begging.
I believe that I have nothing in common with a new neighbor, and all I find are differences.
I believe that I have nothing worthwhile to say and I end up staring at a blank page.
“See?” I tell myself, “I knew it all along.”
Blinded by belief
Many Jews in Jesus’ day believed that a political Messiah would save them from the oppression of Rome. They couldn’t see that Jesus, this Sabbath-breaking, miracle-working, sinner-sympathizer, was the Son of God sent to save them. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathaniel asks skeptically about Jesus’ hometown in John 1:46 (probably with an eye roll.)
They missed seeing Jesus for who he really was because they only saw what they were looking for.
Hunting for proof
Which leads me to this: What are you looking for? How are you interpreting the actions of those around you, the circumstances of your life, to confirm what you already believe? If you want to see God in your everyday, you need to look for Him:
If you believe in God’s goodness, you will actively seek proof of it, even in the everyday ordinary.
If you believe in God’s beauty and creativity, you will suddenly start seeing evidence of it everywhere.
If you believe in God’s provision, you will find it, even as you go about the mundane tasks of living.
If you believe that you have a purpose in His kingdom, you will be on alert for opportunities to serve and love well.
Believe it to see it
Let’s be intentional with our beliefs and the kind of truth we are seeking out. Let’s be on high alert for God’s goodness, grace, beauty, and provision. Let’s tune our hearts to see His leading. Let’s open our eyes to the suffering of our friends and neighbors. Let’s look for confirmation of God’s love all around us. If we believe it, we will see it!