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Looking in All the Wrong Places

I was reading through the book of Acts and a few verses in the first chapter stood out to me. Side note: I love how you can read some passages over and over again, but discover new meaning and more depth each time. Like it was the first time you opened those pages.

After Jesus had been resurrected and performed miracles, it was time for Him to go.

The people were looking up to heaven where Jesus was brought up and while they had their necks cranked upward, two angels (men in white, if you want to be literal) asked why they were gazing toward the sky, as this was not where they should be directing their glance. Jesus would return in the same way he ascended.

Don't we do that a lot?

Not ascend into heaven - not sure we can do that more than once, you guys.

The other thing.

We tend to search for what we believe we need - directing our gaze to where we think the best way to go is - what will benefit us the most. what happens more than we'd like to admit?

We end up looking in and heading toward the wrong direction, which adds to the load of hurt we carry rather than provide the healing we so deeply desire.

We look in all the wrong places in our search for which way is best and wind up empty handed and dumbfounded.

We already know on some level where we should look for answers, but we don't do it.


Pride and stubbornness.

We don't like to admit we're wrong - especially when we know we are. Or on the other hand, we give ourselves too much credit where it isn't due.

We do our best to track down the best ways to be more productive with our time or be better with our craft. We search for answers and guides.

This works in a lot of ways for several reasons: like seeking advice in areas we don't know much on at all and want to improve on.

For you entrepreneurs out there, you may be reading up on some books and articles that start with "how to" or "the top best practices". For photographers, you refer to and look at examples of photography and trace skills that other incredible photographers have taken and go to places similar to where they have gone to challenge yourself to be better and do better.

You writers and teachers dive into classes to learn from those who came before you and offer you the wisdom they learned through the years and read books of others who desire to share some wisdom and perspective as well.

There is definitely a time for being taught, but there are also moments where we can learn from our own experiences.

Your own timing.

Your own process.

There are some things, I'm finding, that others pursue differently than me in regards to "the process". I may digest the information differently than the person next to me, and also put my craft into practice a lot differently.

There are similar tactics we can all use to approach the end goal, sure. But there are differences in the details on how to get there.

If we look deeper than that, further into what wires us to be different, part of it all is how we draft our crafts.

For example, the best "aha!" moments happen for me right after an afternoon nap (I'm a child, it's fine) or while I'm driving (not always the best timing, but that's what voice recorders and multiple notepads in the car are for right?).

Are you looking for acceptance? Or maybe affirmation that you are doing great and you will be okay. Where do you look for answers in that area you thirst for?

No matter what you do or where you look, my number one suggestion is to always always first look to the One who will never reject you, has always been there in the darkest nights and will continue to be there on the brightest of days. No one can love you like our God - that's the way it is (quite honestly, whether you like it or not).

The way we know where to go is by knowing and putting into actions the love of God.

My second recommendation for us when looking for the right direction is that we shouldn't be going to social media or some other online outlet as a way of affirmation. Do this, and you'll be left thinking, "Wow, I'm really not good enough. I suck as a person. Nobody cares." I did this in the last ten minutes - ask me if I feel better about that decision (my answer is no).

Obviously, there are writers out there who pour out their hearts and authenticity into their work in order to empower people like you to turn their shadowy days into better ones - because you have the power to do so. However, I don't suggest this be our first go to.

First turn to your partner, best friend, sister, brother, parent, mentor - whomever you trust your heart with and know they will speak into you with honesty and tenderness.

These are the people who can tell you who you are and who you are not. They'll confirm or deny the tales you've been repeating senselessly in that sweet and stubborn head of yours.

They won't lie just to get a smile on your face and get out of the conversation.

They won't send you a heart emoji and hope that message really sinks in and changes your life.

They will take the time to remind you who you are and who you are capable of becoming. Hardly a shallow word to be found among friends like these.

With all of this in mind, the solution to looking in the right places will not always be associated with warm sentiment. Some of what we don't want to hear is exactly what we need, and what we often want to hear is what we don't need at all.

As it is with most every action, a change requires us to develop habitual behaviors that are grounded to promote true positive growth.

If we're used to going a certain way, say, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram in the mornings when we feel down and anxious, it'll become more difficult to break the habit if we don't stop the toxic routine.

What then? Replace those actions with another rhythm by consistently putting it into practice whenever you start to believe comparison, retail therapy or other ways of coping and healing that don't build lasting results will in fact do.

It's a life long process - isn't that how a lot of things we wish could be rushed go?

Over time, I really do believe you'll become stronger, and learn more about yourself and those around you in a better light when you dare to look in a different direction.

And when you find yourself seeking out answers in the wrong places, do your best to not tear yourself apart for it, and keep in mind where to adjust your vision, the way that holds a promise - it hasn't broken them before.

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