Why do you suffer?
That’s one of the primary questions in Eyes Wide Open, and the answer may surprise you.
This morning I saw a survey of American college students and how they view themselves and their lives.
- 46% felt hopeless
- 61% felt very sad
- 31% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function
- 7% seriously thought about suicide and 1% attempted
- 5% intentionally hurt themselves
The difference between religious and non-religious people is negligible. Nearly all of those surveyed believe in God, mostly Christian.
Our suffering runs deep and it begins early in life, doesn’t it?
This isn’t simply an American experience; it’s a human one. We’re all plagued by guilt, self-hatred, feelings of disappointment, judgment, and a sense that, on some deep level, we’re not good enough. We believe we need to be fixed, and have even built an $11 billion industry around to do it in seven steps.
I get it.
There have been times when I’ve stared into the kind of darkness of soul that seems bottomless. Hopeless. Where the world seems tattered, broken, and anything but beautiful. Where I’ve felt hopelessly separated from God, others, and even myself.
You probably have, too.
But what if our view of why we suffer is all wrong? What if we suffer because we’re unwittingly looking at the world upside down?
“The eye is the lamp of the body,” Jesus said. “If your eyes (read ‘perception or how you see the world’) are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” [Matt. 6:22,23]
How you perceive the world defines your reality. To the extent you judge your circumstance or world to be dark, unfair, or anything less than beautiful, you will suffer. You don’t necessarily need to change your circumstance; you need to change the way you’re looking at it.
I’ve gone through a long journey over the years, asking these same questions of myself. You’ve come along with me on the trip, maybe without realizing it, each time you read one of my novels. These books are my journals, flesh becoming words.
If you’ve read Eyes Wide Open you’ve had a snapshot into my life through the eyes of Christy and Austin, two people whose problem isn’t really the terrible situation they’re in, but how they view that situation.
Their story is mine in more ways than one. But it’s also your story because we’re the same, you and I.
Truth is, you are the light of the world. You are the joy of heaven. You are powerful, not helpless. You have infinite worth. Infinite. All you need to do is change the way you see.
I thought this was a really great insight. I read this and was thinking in my head how true it really was. Maybe you, even though you might not be a college student, can put yourself into one of the categories above. I know that I certainly can and I'm not exactly proud of it but I am thankful to God for shedding a different light on my path and causing me to change course. I am going to read the Eyes Wide Open series this summer Lord willing. I have the first book to start and this really got me pumped about reading it.