Paying Attention to Warning Signs

Several years ago my hair dryer made me nervous each time I used it. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, hair wet and as straight as a string, and panicked a little each time after flipping its switch on. The faint burning smell it emitted could not be a good thing.

Thank goodness for the warning sign. This particular hair dryer had served me long and well and was now even giving me a heads up that it might be nearing its last blow dry session. What a trusty friend, huh?

Somehow, though, I’d forget the warning and go on my merry way, not thinking about it until the next time my head was wet. After a few nerve-wracking episodes of blow dryer roulette—also known as praying for it to dry my hair before it shut down permanently—I decided to take precautions and buy a new hair dryer before disaster struck. In other words, I finally paid attention to the warning signs.

Since a hair dryer disaster is a trivial matter (if it happens to someone else!), let’s consider other more serious warning signs we might be overlooking or forgetting as we hurry on to the next item on our agendas. What do we see happening in our lives that warrants our proactive and precautionary attention?

Maybe our bodies are trying to tell us something. Is it time to see the doctor? Do we need to make more time for sleep at night? Or maybe we see signs of trouble with our families. Do one of them need a medical appointment? Or are our kids acting out or withdrawing? Do our spouses seem troubled or distant? And what about finances? Are we juggling payments or hiding purchases and credit card statements from our significant others? For each of us the warning-sign scenarios may be different, but if we are wise, we’ll pay attention. And that’s not always easy to do.

And what about warning signs that something may be amiss in our spiritual lives? Do we feel like God is far away? Have we been neglecting time in his Word or in talking with him? Or perhaps the joy has disappeared from our relationship with the Lord. Have we slipped into following a set of rules rather than loving a person?

Let’s be thankful for warning signs that alert us to possible problems—and then let’s be proactive.
Let’s take precautions, if possible, before we encounter major malfunctions. We’ll all rest easier then.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” Proverbs 4:6 NIV

*Have any warning signs come to your attention lately?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Public Domain photo by Henrique Vicente

Obscured Vision


Is anything obscuring your vision today? Anything interfering with seeing something clearly? Perhaps foggy conditions or unwanted objects marring the perfection of your view? I can relate. I’ve had a couple of view-related nuisances to deal with lately, too.

I love to take photos, and a couple of years ago something started marring many of the images I shot. First I noticed a dark spot in several of my photos as I looked at my camera’s display screen, and of course those spots showed up in the actual prints as well. This frustrated me to no end. I didn’t want any dark spots ruining my photos.

When I finally got a chance to take the camera into a camera shop, they told me a fiber had become lodged in the lens. It would be quite expensive to fix so I decided to live with it until I’m ready to get a new camera.

Since then the fiber has changed positions from time to time, but it really only presents a problem if it happens to be on a light-colored area of any particular shot taken from a particular angle. And so, I adjust to it. I shoot from a different angle, focus on a different area, or accept the fact that I won’t be able to get the shot I want. I don’t like the sometimes obscured vision I have to contend with because of this photographic intruder, but I deal with it.

Believe it or not, around the same time my camera started giving me fits, a floater started interfering with my eyesight as well. I’ve had to wear glasses since I was in third grade so I’m used to my vision being obscured when I’m not wearing the fix. But this was something new. Something the glasses couldn’t fix. Something I didn’t like. But as with my camera’s lens, I’ve learned to live with it.

Obscured views aren’t limited to physical vision, however. The eyes of our hearts can also experience obscured vision. Unwanted objects and conditions can get in the way of seeing what the Lord wants us to see or can keep us from seeing things clearly. Our view is hampered. Our mental, emotional, or spiritual vision is marred.

So what kinds of things might interfere with the vision of our hearts? Perhaps unwanted fears and worries, perhaps grief or pain or illness. Pride or unforgiveness might be the culprit or possibly even feelings of guilt or low self-esteem. Stubbornness or sin can play a role. Bottom line, Satan will use any number of tactics to keep us from experiencing all that the Lord desires for us. Yes, our enemy will rob us of abundant life every chance he gets.

The good news is that with God’s help, we can make changes and adjustments to fix or improve our mental, emotional, and spiritual vision. We can ask God to help us remove or see around the hindrances to the view of life he wants us to have.

If the cause of our hampered view is rooted in a physical problem, we can see a doctor and get the physical help we need to start seeing life clearly again. If our heart vision is being marred by mental, emotional, or spiritual factors, we can deal with them by putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), which includes, among other things, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, and the Word of God. We can also seek out wise counsel and the prayer support of friends.

Yes, friends, we can take a stand—and gain the victory—against obscured vision, against the evil one who seeks to discourage and deceive us by distorting and obstructing the clear vision God wants us to have. Our God can handle any roadblock the devil throws at us. And our God stands ready to help.

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19a

*When has God helped you regain the clear vision he wanted you to have?

*My photo (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)