One of the dangers, I think, of being a thinker who welcomes long bouts of solitude is tunnel vision: when alone for a while, I only see me. Though I recognize this habit (isn’t admission the first step to recovery?), there is another problem: the feeling of self-centered thoughts running non-stop through my grey matter is so familiar that I often pay it little heed. Does that make sense—thinking so much that you don’t know what you’re thinking? It happens enough to me.
So when my eyes are opened to my egocentricity, I feel something similar to the feeling I get when I look at a dark spot on the floor and realize it’s actually a spider. I recoil in horror. I want to squash it with a shoe. I think, How did I not see it this whole time??
Such self-centered thoughts usually regard me and the past and the future—things I cannot take back and, more frighteningly, things are that are unknown. A lot of nitpicking happens with the former; with the latter, it’s speculation and worry. I’m not sure why I do this. I find no pleasure in futility.
This past year, I’ve been learning a lot about my brain habits, which is one of the reasons why I can finally recognize the way my internal world orbits around me. Advice to “JUST BE” has been spoken to me on countless occasions. It isn’t pointless advice, but it kind of is because I don’t quite know how to go about “just be”ing.
Well, that isn’t entirely true. I have been re-learning how to pray in recent months, and it is only prayer that truly recedes my selfishness, even for just a little while. When I kneel before the throne of God, I struggle to believe that his hesed is more than enough for my endless deficiencies; I struggle to believe that when my Heavenly Father looks at me, he sees not a sinner but a beloved daughter because of what Christ accomplished for me (and you) on the cross. When I dwell in the house of the Lord, He broadens my perspective by removing my blinders.
That is where I want my dwelling place to be: in the presence of the Lord, not in my own mind. I long to be intentional with my God even in my busyness. Especially in my busyness. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed this kind of freedom about two months ago for about two weeks before I put those blinders back on. I begin to treat God as a mere sounding board. I forget, or perhaps I refuse, to give him the space to reply.
So, I suppose this is an account of one of my great weaknesses. My struggle with tunnel vision will probably last my lifetime. Whilst being able to see my tunnel vision for what it is, I hold fast to this very important truth: God has still chosen to work in me and through me because of my weakness. I cannot forget this. I should be thankful that I am constantly reminded of my weakness because it eradicates my “right” to conceit (e.g., Paul’s thorn).
When I hold my hands out to God and know that I can only hold them out empty, He fills them.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)