Look up!

My friends and I took a weekend trip to Barcelona when I studied abroad two summers ago. Our Airbnb host Juan met us outside the apartment with a key. He was a short, enthusiastic man who was anxious to practice his broken English on us and tell us about the wonders of his city. His main advice? “Look up! Look up! Look up!” He repeated this over and over, insisting that this was the only way to truly experience the city.

Throughout the rest of that trip, we kept jokingly reminding each other to “look up!” But Juan was right; as we drew our eyes upward, we were exposed to an entirely new view of the city, one with filled with wrought-iron balconies, climbing vines, and architectural beauty that we would have missed if we kept our eyes at street level.

As I prepare to leave for Spain, I’ve found that my view of God functions in a similar way. I increasingly need to remind myself to “look up!” to Heaven in the midst of the noise and anxiety of life. It’s far too easy to get drawn back into a distracted, busy mindset clouded by my own desire for control and acceptance. When I forget to see God as eternal, I end up trying to fit him into my world instead of asking how I fit into his. I insist that I can navigate from my limited street view when God sees the entire city plan.

It’s like a pair of bifocal glasses. You’re looking at the same subject matter either way, but the lens you choose to see through changes everything. As I view my life in the light of God’s kingdom, my entire perspective reorients:

  • In a season of hard goodbyes, I am reminded that this life is not the end of our time together
  • As I prepare to do missions, I am reminded that God doesn’t need me! Rather, it is a gift and an honor to participate in his kingdom work.
  • In my everyday interactions, I am reminded that every single person I come in contact with is a dearly beloved child of God.

It's so easy to forget to "look up!" with that sense of urgency, but when I do, everything changes. All the strange, disconnected pieces around me suddenly fall into place within God's master architectural plan. And as God teaches me to fix my eyes to his, my perspective becomes more and more eclipsed by the vastness and beauty of his redemptive story.