After more than a few decades of living with the king of optimism—I now admit—my view is dilapidated. I need to redo my view.
For instance, the many times we’ve camped, my husband sees the forest and the trees and a backdrop of deep blue. I see ants. Lines of them. Not just ants, big bodied mega-insects that can hoist you over their heads and carry you off to lunch. Jerry says picnic ants—I say savages! These things bite and they are in no way a parade to a picnic.
Also, the raccoons in campgrounds are a little evil. And they’ll chase you.
Sure. Our family has helped spoil the furry bandits by leaving marshmallows out for their midnight snack. We love to watch them gingerly wash their hands and stuff their mouths full of foamy white. Let me just clarify, we watch this gluttony from the safety of our camper bunk. Then…I have to tip-toe to the restroom a full camper block away. And I see this urgent sign on the door: “Shut the restroom doors. The raccoons will visit you!”
I have to know. Why? Why does a raccoon want to visit me? I mean, besides the fact that we may have helped modify their “Give me a marshmallow—or I’ll break down the bathroom door!” behavior. Really it’s just me in the restroom. Me, dressed in my husbands oversized, and fluffed, white t-shirt. Hmmm?
Just yesterday, I told my husband I wanted to try the new improved camping instead of the “raccoons gonna get ya” type camping. It’s a mix of glamour and camping. Glamping!
In case you didn’t know, glamping is fast becoming a global trend. If it hasn’t hit your neck of the woods, no worries. As the raccoons demand for sweetness goes viral, so might glamping opportunities. I admit, just looking at the pictures makes me want to glamp. For real. You are in the wispiest whitest tent and plopped in front of the prettiest view. My mind reels. It may not be practical—but it sure is pretty!
Besides, the white canvas tents remind me of the white sheeted tents I played in as a kid. Minus the glamorous furniture. Or the scent of diffused lavender. And devoid of the fluffy, white robes draped and waiting for you on the end of the bed. Robes that are cozy and marshmallow-like. Oh. Oh. Oh. Wait a minute. I’m so onto this pretty propaganda! Glamping is just like camping. Only you smell like a sprig of lavender when the raccoon visits your fluffy white silhouette in the restroom. Ha!
Maybe my perspective is on the “half empty, fill-her-up” side of life. No wonder my heart thinks it needs a room with a view. I’m just much less tolerant of creatures and sweat than I was, say, in my twenties and thirties, because of my growing appreciation for marshmallows and comfort. But minus many racoons.
For instance, this past weekend my husband and I took a twenty mile bike ride. He said I complained eighteen of the twenty miles. Honestly. It was only seventeen miles of moan. I was very comfortable for the mile or so Jerry pushed me, and I didn’t whine a peep for the first two miles I coasted downhill.
As I take a moment to scan the attitude of my heart though, I see danger in lurking. Not in the form of fury and cute until it chases you in the dark, but just as sneaky. I see danger in the form of my want to coast, have comfort, and be cozy. All the time. I recognize the thought, “Make it easy for me to serve and don’t ask for too much of a commitment.” And I see all this from the view of my porch swing. Yawn.
I’m not writing this post to guilt you, friends. Guilt is never used by God to right our thinking or actions with His. Besides, it’s only a short term motivator. Rather, I’d like a chance to really question all that we require from comfort and take a look at our need to redo our view. Well, my attitude of comfort.
Because I see Eve. Then I see myself. Think about it, Eve was glamping 24/7 in a garden where you didn’t require clothes to protect you from pain. Or cold. Or even biggie-sized ants. There was no comfort or discomfort—only good and perfect. All God created was new and right. The phrase, “And God saw that it was good,” wasn’t repeated multiple times without truth. What God created was in harmony. And beautiful. And blessed.
God created man in His own right image, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Then God gave man dominion over all He had made. Can you imagine the sights? Girls, this was glamping in glory. The view of perfect. “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Genesis 1:9 ESV. Pretty and practical and perfect. Oh, how God loves to spoil.
In fact, He gave all privilege to man, with one stipulation: “You may surely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 1:17 ESV. But somehow, practical, pretty, and perfect weren’t enough. Being completely comfortable didn’t keep Eve’s attitude and free will in check and in right thinking with God’s thinking. If comfortable wasn’t enough for Eve—in the beginning with perfect—I know it’s not enough for me. Me. The big, sweaty, whine baby that can’t see the forest for the ants…me.
We need to know that Satan try’s to redo our view. How? Easy. The devil didn’t have to puncture a perfect picture with his fangs. Nor did he pry open Eve’s identity. There was no use of physical pain to get her to see things differently. Satan simply planted an uncomfortable thought. A question, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1.
Eve then tells the serpent what she knows: if she eats the fruit or even touches it—she will die. However, Satan talks her into believing that her view of life was all wrong. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was delightful to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate,…” Genesis 3:5,6. So when the women saw? Apparently how we look at life and view our circumstance, matters.
Oh, Eve. Oh, me! Really I don’t need Satan to make me see things differently. I already have an eye for ease. He does, however, ask a lot of questions. Like: Do you really want to do the hardest of hard and write Fix-Her-Upper? Do you really desire to minister to the hearts of women? Do you really want to sign up and serve in church? Do you really want to serve outside of the cozy walls of church? The truth here, friends…these questions make me sweat so much I want to fold my glamping chair and run home. But this life aint no glamping.
Life can be painful. Unpredictable. And more than mildly uncomfortable. Take it from me, we can lean into comfort so long and fierce that we suffocate ourselves with a spiritual down-pillow. I almost missed the blessing of a mission trip, all because I was hesitant to step out of my own comfortable time zone. How sad. I’d have missed out on so many great friends God has provided. Blessed!
So how do we redo our view? We can start by reminding ourselves of the tendency to chase the comfortable, familiar, and easy way of life. Comfort grows complacency and our tendancy to see ants instead of trees. If being comfortable wasn’t enough for Eve–it’s not enough for me. I want to grow in relationship to God. I also want others to look at me and see a God at work. A work in progress.
More than a re-do, my view needs this optimistic reminder, “And God saw that it was good.” Any view with Him is good. And when I avoid the uncomfortable it can be bad. I want to see all God has. The best sights.
I am wondering? Are any of you sensing your tendency to avoid discomfort in any way? Does your perspective in need of a change of view? Do you sense God calling you to the edge of something new and unfamiliar (maybe even uncomfortable), with Him? A new commitment to disciple. An opportunity to serve. Perhaps, a chance to glamp. Well, not glamp, maybe just plain camp. No doubt that can be a starting stretch for some. Not a spiritual stretch, just a stretch. I would love to hear about it and share your posts.
And before I get any notes concerning the raccoons or our attempts to indulge them with sweet treats, allow me to spread some optimism here. Uh. I don’t hate raccoons. I also know they can’t kill you. Unless, they are frothing at the mouth from rabies and not marshmallows. Rabies can kill you even after a zillion shots in your stomach. No, I just don’t like coons for bathroom buddies. And we weren’t trying to kill them with sugar. We were simply indulging them with kindness. I guess it’s all in how you look at it. I still say sometimes the best views are from the bunk of our camper.