Observation is one of those things so many of us think we do, think we understand and maybe even think we do quite well, but do we actually spend time observing?
And when we do spend the time, are we aware of the perspective from which we do the observing?
Observation takes time - time to notice, time to understand, time to engage, time to listen, time to reflect, time to think - so clearly, with this amount of observation, it cannot be rushed!!
When we read about the activities of Jesus and the disciples, often we read but disregard the parts where it talks about them going to an area. We don't know how much time they spent in each place, learning, engaging, listening and so on. But, it must be clear that time was spent, if for no other reason, than to show understanding.
Not only is it important to spend the time, but it is vital that the right perspective is had when we do observe. What do I mean by right perspective? Simply, it is not having our own perspective, but having God's perspective on situations and contexts in which we find ourselves.
Seeing things through the lens of our relationship with Jesus is vital, so we gain a truer perspective on what is really going on.
Why is this important? Because often, we as humans can be caught in the trap of seeing the obvious and the superficial, without actually seeing what is truly going on.
The Shack challenges our thinking on this hugely. Mac, the key character, is challenged not to judge what he can see, but to push past the superficial to the truth.
So key questions to ask ourselves:
Do we spend enough time observing?
What would enable us to see things better from God's perspective?
What are the barriers to seeing things from God's perspective?
What of us is God asking to give up, so we can observe more like him?