The title of the post comes from a movie I watched the other day that was made in 1950 called Sunset Boulevard. It starred Gloria Swanson as an old silent movie star who had never gotten past being put out to pasture when the 'talkies' came in. She was over the top dramatic and looking for her next chance to be back in a movie. Anything to be in front of a camera again. If you are a fan of Carol Burnett you will remember her spoof on this movie as she walks down the stairs very dramatically, looking like something the cat dragged in.
Back in those days of filming they did not have the special effects that we have today. The didn't have the techniques to make someone look younger or fresher or more attractive. Their filming techniques were more simple, even rarely shooting at night as it was hard to get quality film when it was dark. What they did use were called filters. If they wanted to give a woman a younger, more starry eyed appearance they used different lighting and a piece of gauze over the lens to give it a dreamy effect. If they were filming at night they used a colored lens to give it the appearance of being dark. Their tricks were fairly simple and seen today seem pretty hokey. Today pretty much anyone can take professional appearing pictures and make movies with just their cell phones. We now have apps than can change the appearance of a picture, we have airbrushing than can take our wrinkles and make them disappear. We can make ourselves appear thinner and more attractive at the click of a mouse. We can change what we see just by using that app or filter.
As a Christian, we have the ability to do the same thing. I know there are days where I wake up and it seems like everything that can go wrong will. I forgot to put the carafe in the coffee maker and wake up to a flood all over my counter top. I have a bad hair day. I can't fit in my favorite jeans. I get in the car and oh my gosh, these slow drivers are making me insane. On and on it goes. I'm looking at the world through the filter of self. I see every mistake I make, I see every wrinkle on my face, I see every fault of every other person out there. When I look at the world through 'my' eyes, I see every bad thing there is to see. Every flaw, every blemish, every glitch. When I filter everything through my own eyes and my own experiences all I see are the things that are wrong or irritating or ugly.
I have to learn to filter things through the lens of Jesus. When I say I have a relationship with Him that means that I strive to become more like Him. I line my thoughts up with His thoughts. I bring myself into alignment with what the Bible teaches, and I change. It says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity." When I am looking through 'Gail' colored glasses, I don't always tend to see things correctly. If I am having a lousy day, that colors everything. If I look through dung-colored glasses, everything looks like dung. If I am having a grumpy day, that is how I perceive everything. I become like a child having a temper tantrum and once I am in that place it is hard to get out of it. I have to stop being a child and start acting like the child of God that I am. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11 (ASV)
I have to evaluate what is temporary and what is eternal. What is worth fighting for and what is worth giving in for peace. What will enable me to be Christ-like and what will make me selfish. As I look through the filter of Jesus, things come into perspective. I begin to see what is important in the long run as opposed to what seems urgent now. I see a person in need of a Saviour, not just some lousy driver next to me. I see the good in myself and in others, not just every apparent weakness, fault and failing. I am kinder to myself and others. I can take a deep breath and know that this won't last forever, whatever it is that I'm going through.
This means that every day I have a decision to make. I have the choice. I choose; do I look at things through crazy fun house glasses that skew everything or do I put on the lenses that Jesus gives me? Do I filter through human emotions or do I channel things through the Spirit of God.
When I look at myself and perceive that I am flawed, that I am messed up, that I am unattractive and unworthy, I tend to see everyone else that way also. I need to smash that pair of glasses and put on the clear and unobstructed ones that the Holy Spirit provides. As I see myself through His eyes, I will begin to see everything and everyone else through His eyes. Everything becomes more lovely, more worthy, more attractive. Not because of some trickery or special effects, but because it is the truth. The truth is beautiful. The truth is seen through the filter of Jesus and His love for us. No longer I, but He in me.
I'm ready for my close-up.