Life is Like a Stereogram
Have you ever seen a stereogram? You probably have, maybe in a poster rack at Target or elsewhere. You’d recognize it by the seemingly random jumble of colors and shapes. The trick of a stereogram is that you have to get your face up close to it, focus your eyes like you are looking at an object far behind the poster, then slowly back away from the poster as you keep your eyes focused on that imaginary far away object. As you do, from the seeming visual chaos a shape will materialize in 3D as if floating in space on the poster. That is, until your eyes refocus, and it all fades back into a noisy haze of color and shape. If you know what I’m talking about, you also are familiar with the experience of staring at one of these posters intensely and seeing nothing emerge for all your ocular effort.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, life is like a stereogram. You never know what you’re gonna get, until you back away from it a bit and keep your vision focused. I’ve been reflecting on that kind of idea on a lot of things lately. There are so many things that we can be nose to nose with, like a stereogram poster, and only see noise and color. But then you back away and something materializes.
Prayer is like that. As I’ve been preparing for our year of prayer, one of the lessons I’ve taken away already is that prayer provides me perspective on my day. Prayer helps me to pull back from what I’m doing, and in the pulling back I see different things emerge that I just wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I can get so busy in a day that all that happens just becomes noise. Prayer slows me down and changes how I see things. From the seeming chaos of my life emerges shape and meaning. Funny how focusing on God in prayer for a few minutes can do that. Talking and listening to him helps me see everything else differently.
Another thing that can turn into noise is all the things we do here at Chapel Hill. What do I mean by that? Two weeks ago we had some visitors from another church tour our building. They wanted to know what we did with our facility to reach out to our community. I wasn’t sure we’d have much to share, but as it turns out we do an incredible amount of outreach through our church building. I knew that at some level, but seeing that through the eyes of our guests was a revelation. I was too close to the hustle and bustle of our ministry to see all that was going on. But through their eyes, I realized that God is doing a lot at Chapel Hill. Every day of the week, hundreds of souls walk in and out of our doors and are nudged toward Jesus in ways big and small. I was grateful for how our guests helped me see that more clearly. Now I can celebrate it!
One of the things I definitely want to celebrate is the one year anniversary of the Saturday Night Service. It’s easy to let that slip by as Fall comes and goes, but we really have some things to praise God about there. For example, we asked 50 people to commit last Fall to switching from Sunday to Saturday and launching Saturday Nights. Over the last year, an average of 50 people have attended Saturday instead of Sunday, and on top of that, God has brought to us an average of 90 other people on Saturday Nights! As a result, we now have 90 more people connecting to God and community through our weekend worship services than we did this time last year!
I hope you take a moment from your day to gain perspective and pull away from the noise. What do you need to stop and pray about? What might God be doing all around you that you need to step back and praise him for?
P.S. If you missed grabbing a Prayer Journal this past weekend, have no fear. We’ll have some available at the Connect Center after the services this weekend. We also have a digital version available to use online here HERE along with a number of other resources in this year of prayer. May God do something great as we turn to him in prayer!