There is none so blind as he who would not see. "Hear this now, O "foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not." Jeremiah 5:21.
"Once the blinders are off, it's rather hard to go back to seeing things the way you used to." Mercedes Lackey. "So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake they lived. Numbers 4:9.
Why is it that when we look back in our lives, we are able to see clearly? You think I have the answer? No. But, I have a pretty good guess: All the things like worry, fear, apprehension and anxiety are gone because we know how things are going to turn out (they have already come to past). NOW THIS IS BIG: What if we did that going forward? I mean looking forward without the angst. Honestly, the details can get kind of hazy when we are looking back (memory wanes and we lose some of the details). However, when things are happening in real time, we can choose to see or not to see. We can look without seeing all the distractions. Do we really dare to see?
Let's examine the word see: 1. perceive with the eyes; discern visually. 2. discern or deduce mentally after reflection or from information; understand. You see "see" is more than taking in things with your eyes, but into your heart and your head. It also involves perception. It involves thinking. My question is: What are the blinders that we refuse to take off in order to see clearly? Let's talk about it a little further and see if we can deduce why the blinders feel so comfortable.
We put blinders on horses to keep their focus on the view directly in front of them; blocking their peripheral and rear vision. The blinders eliminate distractions that would interfere with their focus on getting to the their designated destination. Sudden movements can frighten them causing them to bolt or flee away at great speed which could cause tremendous harm to the horse, the one riding it or to bystanders. As humans, we also can lose focus due to distractions which can become major obstacles in our path and so sometimes blinders are useful for us too. The blinders that we adorn are usually not physical; they are more esoteric in nature, that is to say they are profoundly mental and may include issues that were created and not resolved in childhood or festering hurts that have happened to us as adults. Additionally, the constant business of daily living and the general trials that life bring make for an interesting brew of distractions. We find ourselves at times looking for an escape from our current reality, if only for a little while. Still, putting on blinders is not the answer. Unlike a horse, we need to be cognizant of some distractions so as to keep us from disaster. For example, if you are walking and there is a big hole in the ground (which is a distraction), you need to pay attention (focus that blinder) so that you walk around it and not to fall into the hole. On a more personal note, a woman bumped my car from behind while I was at a yield sign. She said she was distracted because her husband had told her that he was leaving her. You get the point.
In the scripture: Numbers 21:4 noted above, we read that the Israelites were not appreciative of the ongoing blessings that they had received from God. Even though God had delivered them from bondage in Egypt, they had no confidence that He would deliver them into the Promised Land. Finding themselves in the wilderness, they grumbled and complained about everything. "Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people." (Verse 6). "There are times in scripture when "speaking against" God or God's messenger does bring catastrophe." Working Preacher Commentary. In this case, we are left to draw our own conclusions. They responded by naming their sin and asking Moses to pray for them. They wanted Moses to get God to take away the serpents (Numbers 21:7). But, they do not get what they want, and the serpents do not stop biting. Instead, God instructs Moses on how to heal the people who are bitten; they are still bitten, but they live. It did not occur to the Israelites that even though they were in receipt of God's blessings, they refused to "see" that they were blessed and highly favored until disaster came upon them. Let this be a lesson.
According to Nina Amir, Writer - there are three types of blinders: 1. Vision Blinders: Blinders that you have chosen to shut out anything but what you want to see. 2. Focus Blinders: Blinders you have chosen to help you focus on what is necessary or a priority. 3. Borrowed Blinders: Blinders someone else has placed on you for some reason. "You might be wearing blinders of a different type. But, each blinder serves a purpose. However, wearing blinders all the time becomes a hindrance rather than a help. And when that happens, it's time to do whatever it takes to remove the blinders." The one thing that is evident is that once you remove the blinders, you can see clearly and you cannot pretend that what is in front of you is not there.
In 1789, Marie Antionette, Queen of France during the French Revolution was told that her subjects were starving and did not have bread to eat because of the poor crop harvest and the rodents. Allegedly, she responded, "Let them eat cake." Now that is a royal pair of vision blinders of the highest order. Not only was she arrogant, but also ignorant, and I dare say indifferent to the suffering of her people. It would be hard not to notice everyone around you starving and being the Queen, not knowing why they were starving. Unless, of course, you chose to not see it. She became the most hated figure at the time, and it ultimately led to her beheading. I am not suggesting that this is a natural outcome for such impudence, but putting on blinders can have negative consequences.
Entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr., famously said: "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." Now, it does not take a genius to surmise that a lifetime of drinking, smoking, drugging, womanizing, etc., would not lead to a healthy end. But, I can only guess that as he looked around at his peers, it seemed that the way of popularity was to swing with them and to overindulge in everything. People did see him as smooth, cool and having it all, but what a price to pay for not focusing on a healthy lifestyle, which is a real priority. (Check out the prodigal son in the Bible). His fortune ran out quickly after pursing riotous living (the high life). Life circumstances forced him to take the blinders off when he found himself broke, starving, friendless; feeding hogs for a living and envious of their food. Fortunately for him, he had a loving father he could go home to and be restored.
You can go through life with blinders on; we do have that freedom, but you will not be able to see what is directly in front of you and that may be your intention. While you might be able to temporarily avoid things that you do not want to face like negative emotions, being stressed out and not taking anything to heart that causes you discomfort, you will stagnate. Your ability to grow and to adapt to change (which happens often) will be severely limited and can leave you in the dark when there is light all around you. The resent pandemic has caused us all to remove our borrowed blinders; social media is in large part responsible for many of our responses to this situation. We did not cause the pandemic, but we have had to face changes to due to it. Many are struggling with how to come out of this; all the while putting on blinders to cooperating with those in authority that give guidance and direction to hasten the end of the awful consequences we have experienced from this virus and to rid us of this pandemic.
There comes a time when we must take the blinders off, if only temporarily. While blinders do serve a purpose, if they are preventing you from facing life fully and negatively impacting your decision making ability and retarding your growth, consider removing the blinders until you know how to appropriately use them.
1. Do you know whether you are wearing blinders? The place to begin answering this question is in your heart by accessing how you make decisions. Look at your pattern of solving issues in your life. Do you face them head on? Or, Do you make excuses for why everything is out of your control and so therefore you might as well not do anything? While I am not an expert, the one thing that I know for sure is that refusing to face life will not make it go away. Yes, there are some hard spaces and places in this life, but you have to meet them head on. Not to do so will diminish your existence, as you will only let in those pieces of life that are acceptable to you. You will only see what you want to see and dismiss the rest. You will limit your capacity to see fully and enjoy all that life has to offer and the beauty and the growth and maturity that is available to you. You decide.
2. What kind of blinders are you wearing? If you have determined that you are wearing blinders, it is important to understand what kind you are displaying. As stated previously, some blinders are useful. Focus blinders can be put on and taken off at will. You know, when you have a project (like me writing this blog, I have to put on my focus blinders to write and post it on time), you must gather your attention to complete the task at hand in a timely fashion. Of course, there is a limit to everything. If you focus on your project to the exclusion of everything else for an inordinate amount of time, then you are out of focus and it would be time to take those blinders off. Awareness is key. When you know what is going on, you have the opportunity to address it. When blinders become a hindrance rather than a help, it is time to remove them. Know what blinders you are wearing.
3. Can you live without blinders? Let's think about this for a moment. Okay, you probably could, but it would be a life not lived to the fullest and potentially dangerous. Even the apostle Paul recognized the usefulness of blinders. He put on his spiritual blinders to focus on what was important. "I can fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18. Blinders serve a purpose. The goal is to be aware of the fact that you are wearing blinders, and you can decide if they are appropriate for situation. If they are not, then switch or take them off altogether.
Facing life with blinders on can obstruct your view of things you really need to see. If you cannot honestly look at what life presents or you deny that it even exists, you are deluded. It is said that the most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. "There is none so blind as he who would not see." Jeremiah 5:21. In this passage, the prophet Jeremiah is calling out the people for being ignorant, impudent, lacking understanding; without a heart for God regardless of having received wisdom and wise counsel. He said they were willfully blind, obstinately deaf who will neither see nor hear the word. You do not have to be psychic to know that this is a formula for disaster.
Life happens to everyone and face it we must and respond we must. Be encouraged that we do not have to face it alone. From time to time take off all the blinders and embrace life in all its glory, challenges and fullness. Then choose selectively to apply the blinders that enhance your life. Keep them on for only as long as you need them. If by chance you see something that overwhelms you or fills you with fear, take it to the Creator in prayer. God bless you always.
Thank you again for all your love and support. Please remember to send any questions that you may have for my advice column to: AskYvette1@gmail.com
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