I’m determined to start looking up more.
And it’s not just because Bat #2—we’ll call him “Freddie”—made his entry into my office from a one-quarter inch gap in the ceiling last night as I sat working, this after two Rid-A-Critter guys barely out of high school came and sealed up our house yesterday. (I made a mental note that they were probably in high school last night when at 10pm they showed up after reading one of my texts: “I’m scared,” it had read; minutes after Freddie had cascaded from the rafters and done a nose dive over my desk, barely missing me and causing me to run screaming from the room yet again, another much bigger bat—we’ll call her “Rosie”—had tumbled out of a closet and made for our upstairs guestroom. Rosie was dangling acrobatically from our fan when those Rid-A-Critter boys finally showed up to catch her in an old T-shirt. (The fan had knocked Freddie out, or maybe my screams did; he was concussed enough to be carried out in a Tupperware container.) But the T-shirt observation, and the fact that those Rid-A-Critter guys hadn’t encountered the problem of bats in walls before, and the fact that one of them was sporting acne, conspired to make me wonder at just how old and experienced our Rid-A-Critter pros really were.
But I’m determined to start looking up more not just because there are still bats dangling in our rafters.
Twice this week the passage before me has been from Luke 18 where Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. One prays thanking God he is not like other sinners; the other, the tax collector, looks up to heaven, beating his breast, asking for God’s mercy. One is preoccupied with his own merits and performance, the other with God’s provision for him.
Here are five tips for looking up to a great God when we might be tempted to look down at ourselves or our circumstances:
1. Remind yourself that whatever you’re facing, it’s not about you, your job title or your own sense of worthiness; it’s about God and what God is doing in and through your circumstances.
2. Go to God in prayer in a posture of total humility—you might try praying on your knees—and ask God to show you what God is doing in and through your circumstances.
3. Practice looking up more, maybe starting with the clouds on a clear day or the trees on a walk. (Warning: do not do this in places where there is a preponderance of sea gulls or while walking if you are a clutz.) Then breathe in the goodness of God.
4. Remind yourself that no matter what you’re facing it really could be worse.
5. Look for ways in which you might encourage the people in front of you today who may themselves be looking down.