Where, then, do we start in developing God's vision for the world? How do we begin to see with new eyes so that we can love well?
There's a dominant narrative in our culture that says that if you want to see the world with new eyes, the first thing you have to do is figure out the eyes you're already seeing it with. Thus, the place to start is where you are and to develop a sense of your own blindness, your own perspective, your own vision.
There is an inherent problem with this perspective, however, and it will always keep us stuck right where we are without any possibility of ever moving beyond here. That problem is this: it keeps your vision forever on only what you see. It makes you strain to see what you see harder, to see it more clearly, to see it through some sort of better lens, but in the end, it's still only about what you see. It's about what your eyes are telling you.
How can you ever begin to develop new eyes if the process for doing so requires you to see through your own eyes? It doesn't make any sense.
The place really to start is just to do it. It's to begin to ask, at every turn, "What does God see here?" and even, in the best of worlds, "What does God see here that I don't?"
Then, start talking about it. Start talking to others about what God sees in them. Start telling them all of the beautiful things about themselves, about their world, about their opportunities, about their gifts. Start giving out compliments like the things that you see clearest in the world are the most beautiful ones. Because they ought to be.
And listen, this is extremely different than painting a pretty scene over everything. It's not about whitewashing the world and pretending that things aren't broken and hard and painful sometimes. That's not helpful for anybody, and it's not glorious. It's not God-honoring.
But let's be real about this, too: there's already plenty in this world to tell us what's broken. All you have to do is turn on the television, open a browser, log in to social media and you're bombarded with all the things that are terrible. All the things you're supposed to be afraid of. All the things you're supposed to be insecure about. All the narratives that say that it is about you and you're failing because you suck and this world sucks and this life sucks and that's just the way it is.
We don't need any more voices like that. We don't need any more eyes that can only see what's terrible. What we need is eyes that see something with even a blossom of beautiful on it, something redeemable, something being redeemed right now. We need voices that speak beauty and truth in the world for real, from eyes that see the way that God sees.
When we start to do this, we do what the world tells us we need to do but doesn't give us any real chance of accomplishing; we start to see how we're seeing. When we see the way that God sees, we recognize, by contrast, the ways that our own eyes have played tricks on us. We see how limited and blind our own vision is when we pray continually and open up our sight to see what God sees.
Only when we see more can we understand how much less we ever saw. And only then can we set our sights on something higher.
So that's where we start. By praying for God's eyes. By asking, even in one place today, what God sees that we don't. And then by acting on it. Speaking on it. Living on it. Loving on it.
Do it. This world is in desperate need of those who can.