Why do we blink? The obvious answer is to lubricate and cleanse our eyes. But thank God scientists are rarely satisfied with the obvious. Researchers also found that “Spontaneous eyeblinks tend to occur at breakpoints of attention, such as the end of a sentence while reading, a pause . . . while listening to a speech, and implicit breakpoints while viewing videos.” Durning a spontaneous blink the attention network section of the brain rests while the section of the brain related to introspection is activated. It seems blinking, even though only a fraction of a second long, helps us process information. Remarkable! Can blinking also help us see God?
What if blinking also helped us process spiritual information? What if blinking helps us see God in our daily lives? After Easter I’ve asked you to join me in a Resurrection Adventure. We are walking each day as if Jesus’ resurrection not only factually happened but is a daily spiritual reality we draw strength and life from.
How’s it going, by the way?
In order to help us live as if actually alive, I thought an acronym might help: B.L.I.N.K. as a way to see God.
Look for God in small and ordinary things;
Idle and rest;
Name it and claim it;
Know God is in all things.
See God by Being Responsive
I love trucks. I’ve owned seven. They are built to drive over obstacles not respond to them. Trucks are not responsive. Trucks are a metaphor for how I live life. When I was two I fell down the stairs and fractured my skull. The resulting brain injury caused me to have seizures and hallucinations. But for several years I never told anyone about them (until my mom saw me have a seizure and fall off a fence) because I just assumed they were part of life. That’s my pattern. And God often has to hit me upside the head with a two-by-four to get my attention, though even that doesn’t help sometimes.
Much of my spiritual growth has been about slowing down and noticing and responding to God’s presence in daily life. Many of us four wheel right over God’s presence. We’ve got to get to the grocery store or work. So we fire up the truck and lumber out into the world. Along the way we miss so much. Living resurrected is God asking us to respond to the people and beauty and even pain along the way.
Actually make eye contact with the person holding the cardboard sign on the corner. Acknowledge her God-created humanity. Pray for him.
When you say, “How are you?” when passing someone in the office, expect an answer.
Notice the sun glancing off the morning leaves, the sound of rain falling.
Talk with someone about your physical or emotional pain.
Be responsive to God in what he has laid on the table before you.
Look for God in Small and Ordinary Things
The unseen miracle of life is cellular. One microscopic cell produces another and another and another and soon there is a living, breathing God-created being. Another major obstacle to seeing our lives as resurrected and new each day is grandiose thinking. Since Jesus’ resurrection was such an amazing, miraculous event, we expect it to produce in us grandiose lives. But, as I wrote in What Does Resurrection Life Look Like?, it is far more likely God is working first and foremost on the ordinary cellular level. God almost always starts small. It’s all we can handle really. Look for God in the small and ordinary things of your life.
See God When in Idle and Rest
A car that sits unused for too long will fall into disrepair. But a well-tuned, well-run car doesn’t just race the road, it idles smoothly. Idling is a time where all the thousands of intricate parts of a vehicle are preparing for the race. God designed us to idle and rest. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Back to blinking. If our brains are built to process information during a blink—a fraction of a moment of idling, imagine what prolonged, purposeful idling and resting can produce. We may have had thousands of God sightings during a day but by never pausing to process them, they are lost. Resurrection living requires rest.
Name It and Claim It
By this I’m not revealing myself to be a disciple of Joel Osteen and other prosperity gospel hucksters. Resurrection living is walking unafraid to name what you see in your day and claiming it as from the hand of God. Not mere coincidence or happenstance. My eight-year-old grandson is a great and awesome turtle hunter. As we approach the pond near his home, the turtles dive under the water in fear of him. He knows each type of turtle and can identify their sex. He’s an expert. He lives and breathes turtles.
On their trip to Florida, he found a large plastic turtle on the beach. His mom texted me a picture with this caption: “Just like Jesus to give us the most creative and hilarious gifts. He knows the hearts of my kiddos.”
And Jesus knows your heart, the times and places you need encouragement. It’s like Jesus is the movie producer of your life’s story and is hiding movie Easter Eggs* throughout your day. These are ways Jesus is letting you know he and you are alive and well and walking together.
Know God Is In All Things
We can name and claim God’s interaction with us through daily life because God is in all things. James writes “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
In the act of creation God declared all of his art “very good.” As new creations in Christ, we can see all of life as sacred. There is no secular, places where the omnipresent God is not. There is only sacred or profane. Profanity is something that was once sacred that we have twisted or torn from God’s original very good design or purpose.
But even the profane God can redeem. We took sacred, beautiful pieces of wood and shaped them into a profane device used to torture and kill: the cross. God placed his Son on that torture device and turned it back into the most beautiful piece of art: the cross.
Spiritual blinking is and act of processing God’s presence with you. And like physical blinking, it can be a natural, automatic part of life. Let me know what you see in the blink of an eye.