I’m burned out again on man-made things, the light of screens that trigger something in my brain or my self-esteem and keep me up at night thinking, thinking, thinking, spinning in mental circles, striving in thought, my imagination making up new ways I’m lacking or overlooked.
For all the good in my social media (picture social justice insights, ways to simplify my life, happy news about a friend’s cancer going into remission, and video footage of my brother rocking out to a radio fanny pack), time spent there often clouds my life with problems in the world that I can’t fix, arguments I can’t win, prolific peers I wish I could keep up with, circles where I’m not invited, and, yes, time-consuming cat pictures.
Man-made screens. Man-made light. Man-made overload. Man-made problems.
I remember years ago dragging my feet toward the car in my university parking lot in downtown Indianapolis, frustrated both about the foreign language class I’d just finished and about a failing romantic relationship. Just then, in interruption to my pity party, I heard a crackling sound over my head. I looked up and saw a massive ball of light streaking in an arc across the skyline. My mouth hung open in shock.
For a second, I had the crazy thought that it might be a bomb, but then it fizzled out and fell to the ground. Later, when I checked the NASA site, I discovered that it had landed all the way in Ohio.
For me, it was more than an amazing astronomical sighting, it felt like a nudge from God that He saw me there with my shoulders slumped and just had to get me looking up by crossing my path with a bit of wonder.
Later, when I lived in Asia, I was still working through residue from that old broken relationship. My emails were going unanswered and my prayers seemed the same. Soon, it became difficult to concentrate on the love right in front of me…the love of God, good friends and the people I’d come to serve. I knew in my head that God was always near, that the things distracting me from fully feeling His love were man-made problems.
It’s like the sky in the city where I lived. Coal fires and other pollution blackened the atmosphere over the city. The sky was gray and sooty even on the sunniest of days. At night, the moon was blotted out. No wonder the people were atheists. Even their sky was man-made.
One weekend, on a trip to the mountains, we could finally see the sky unfiltered. At night, my science-buff friend pointed up to the deep cavern of stars. “Do you know how much a teaspoon of pulsar weighs?” she asked, and almost as quickly answered, “as much as a mountain.” I swallowed hard at the magnitude of what was over my head.
Another time when I stood on a pier back in my home country, dripping tears into a black lake and thoroughly confusing my future husband, it was as if God put His finger to my chin and very suddenly turned my head 90 degrees to look out toward a distant tree line. Right in my view, a fireball fell from the sky. I stopped crying.
My husband and I continued to see shooting stars together at special moments. Once, on a Christmas night early in our marriage, Craig even prayed out loud and asked God to send him a shooting star. Would you believe that at that very moment a flash of fire swept across the atmosphere?
I can’t count the number of times God has broken into my dark with starlight, let alone count the number of orbs visible in our night sky. Yet he counts the stars and calls them all by name. He aligns those stars and spotlights His purposes in the world, including His grand entrance as Emmanuel, God with us. And He hurls rocks into our atmosphere and turns them into fireworks for those of us who are watching.
It’s an audacious thought, like Sara Groves sings: “Maybe this was made for me / For lying on my back in the middle of a field / Maybe that’s a selfish thought / Or maybe there’s a loving God.”
Many nights, before I go to bed, I stop halfway up the stairs on the landing and study the stars through the window frame. Sometimes, I even step outside onto the porch and look up for a while…just in case He has something for me.
It’s a happier way to end the night, as opposed to wearing myself out and overstimulating my brain with the light of man.
Wonder is better than burn out any night. There in the stairwell or out on the porch, I pull my eyes from man-made light and rest them on the stars and moon. To me, the heavens not only declare His glory, they declare His affection, too.
Are you a shooting star person? A four-leaf clover finder? A sunset gazer? How does God show you He’s got you on His mind?
On account of this thing the Lord and I have with stars, I’m pretty excited about the new Everlasting Light line of jewelry and decor from Dayspring. Right now, I’m trying to decide between the Little Dipper Necklace, the North Star Pendant, the Layered Shimmer Necklace and the Star Necklace Set.* Which one would you choose?
*This post contains affiliate links. All purchases through these links will provide me with a small commission to offset the costs of operating this site…at no cost to you. It’s a win-win. And, as always, I link to things I personally like that I think you’ll like too.
Thank you for sharing- I too am struggling with seeing the love right in front of me. I do challenge the thought that it’s selfish to consider His works as personal for Sara Groves- after all He knows each hair on my head!
To think that He counts the innumerable stars and the hairs on our heads…awe-inspiring! He is so big, yet so personal. Seriously boggles my mind. P.S. When you are having trouble feeling the love right in front of you, what do you think is getting in the way?