I love to look out my windows on a crisp winter morning and watch the golden sun spread its warmth over the fields and trees. It melts the frost and everything glistens, you can see the steam rising up from the earth.
However, it is an entirely different joy to walk outside on such a morning wearing five layers of clothing and crunching through the icy grass in boots, not being able to feel your fingers, toes or nose. You really know that you’re alive and are ready to appreciate a warm fire and hot drink.
Sometimes I think I could live my whole life just looking out the window. I’d be happy to enjoy the scenery but without really putting myself out there. I crave the warmth and safety and am comfortable with the limited frame that cuts out the unpleasant parts of the view, the mud and thorns and animal droppings, the roadkill and weeds!
This time of year, however if I give in to my desire for comfort I end up with ‘cabin fever’ – no matter how pleasant or comfortable my window view might be, I don’t get to see anything up close, I really begin to want to feel the air and sun and cold to truly feel the reality of my surrounds.
We can place a barrier between us and those real life experiences and pull down the blind when it gets too cold, dark or wet.
How can we expect to truly appreciate what life has to offer unless we are willing to accept the cold and mud and thistles which are as much a part of the scenery? The spectator can only observe from their limited view, but if we can experience life to the full, we find pure joy in all the experiences life has to offer.
We may be overcome with fear, power-lessness, apathy, weakness, weariness – they prevent us from stepping outside of our comfortable view. In these cases where does our help, support and comfort come from? Are we well-equipped or self-reliant when stuck between a rock and a hard place?
Paul gets to the heart of this matter in Ephesians 3:16-
‘I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.’