Friday, May 15, 2009

Eyes Wide Open (review)

I was recently given a copy of Jud Wilhite's new book "Eyes Wide Open" to read and review. The first page of the introduction says "Too many of us live with a distorted perspective of God." This book goes on to address the many ways our view of God becomes distorted and what we can do to begin to change that perspective and begin living with 'eyes wide open' - really seeing our relationship with God as He sees it.

There are four areas in our lives that our vision needs help in - in relation to God, our identity, change, and influence. Jud starts out working on the way we see God, which in turn affects the way we see ourselves. Once we have corrected the way we see those two things, our lives begin to change and as they do it is our responsibility to have an influence on those around us - to help bring about the same in their lives.

The book is filled with stories from Jud's own experiences as well as those of people he has had interactions with. The stories all illustrate problems we have in our own lives and help us to begin to see the problem. What is the problem? We (for the most part) see God as someone who demands perfection or else, and so we try to live our lives by being as perfect as possible (which ALWAYS fails and leaves us hurt, guilty, and feeling worthless). This is what the devil wants - he wants us to think we couldn't possibly do anything for God - at least not until we become better individuals. That's living with our eyes shut to the real reality of God and what He has done/will do in our lives. When we open our eyes to the way God sees us, and get our sense of identity from Him and Him alone, in His grace - then we will begin to understand that there's so much to do right now, even while our lives aren't perfect. There is a life to be lived that's bound up in God's promises, not in us striving for perfection. "You may still feel like a mess, but... you'll be God's mess."

In and among the many stories, you will also find life-changing insights. Here's how we're living - here's how God wants us to live. Here's something we struggle with - here's how to get past it. One of my favorite parts was towards the end where Jud was discussing authenticity - which is a popular word in Christian culture today. He shared that Jim Gilmore had mentioned to him that "the Bible...doesn't talk about authenticity as we do today. The Bible talks about truth. Living in the truth and sharing the truth." This was a big insight for me as I have been talking about authenticity a lot lately. I have a new perspective on that now - a more Biblical one - we find authenticity in truth. I now challenge myself with how can I live in truth?

The book is a relatively short one and is very easy reading, but don't go too fast through it as there are life-changing words on every page. Regardless of who you are or where you are in your walk with God (whether you have one or not) - there is something in this book that you need to hear. You may not even realize it, but everyone is struggling in one way or another and while Jud doesn't address every problem out there today, he does take you through a process that will help you at least get to where you need to be with God and with yourself in order to begin living out life the way it was intended. Each of us is has our own unique responsibility and path to influence the world around us, but it begins by having our eyes opened to the realities of God's grace and acceptance, and finding our identity in Him and Him alone. "No matter how shaky your life may seem, God is still working.... He has plans for you.... Plans to live with your eyes wide open and fulfill your unique calling."

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