Ah, fresh contacts. I love how it feels to break open a brand new pair of tiny corrective lenses, set them free from their small packaged prison, and place them on my blinded eyeballs. There's no smudges, wear, germs...nothing. They're clean and clear. Good stuff. Weird thing is though, yesterday morning when I put my old pair in - which I had been wearing anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months - I didn't think much of it. I really didn't notice that they were dirty or smudged or torn or old. They're just contacts. Right? That's what I used to think. Until I ripped open a brand new pair this morning...and the world was a 64-pack of Crayola goodness!
*Cue sunshine, rainbow, sparkledust, and harp music.
While I realize I've opened a door for this to be a serious lecture on eye health and sanitary hygiene, that's not really where I'm headed with this. [NOTE: You should not wear a pair of contacts any longer than the recommended length of time on the package. Obey the optometry rule-makers and all their commandments.] As I put my new lenses in this morning it occurred to me: almost every time you need to see things through fresh eyes, you don't realize it. The only reason I remembered to put new contacts in was because they finally came in the mail. My eyes weren't really bothering me. My eyesight wasn't being impaired (at least not that I'm aware of). I was totally fine and adjusted and comfortable seeing through the dirty, smudged, 3 month old lens. Are you?
A friend of mine recently had to take care of someone else's work. In a very short amount of time my friend discovered not only all sorts of errors and mistakes, but several outdated inefficiencies that needed to be corrected in the other person's method and productivity. Why were these mistakes even there? Is it because the person whose job they were covering is a slacker or a failure? Is it laziness? Or is it possible that the other person has stared at the same numbers on the same charts on the same screen for so long...that they can't really even "SEE" it anymore? When you look at something long enough - even a flaw or counterfeit - it can all start to appear like the real deal. You have to consciously hold it up to the light and put it next to the genuine article. You have to see it with fresh eyes. And if you and I are just being honest, there are times in life for all of us when and where that is very close to impossible. Rub your eyes all you want. It won't help.
So what on earth do we do about it? I recommend 1 of 2 things:
Option 1: Walk Away. Yes, seriously. Get up and walk away. Sometimes this might mean you literally get up from your desk or your task, take a walk around the block or to the gym, come back a little later and begin again. But other times this can mean packing your bags, abandoning ship, running for the hills (or the beach), and letting your mind and heart and soul find new life and breathe in some fresh air. This can be like a mental EKG for your innovation and creativity. This is why when I sit down to play the drums now (which happens about once every 6 months or so for fun) I have this whole new perspective and ear for what I'm pounding out. When I'm done, I walk away. I don't really think about the drums anymore. No one depends on me to play them. Sometimes, as ridiculous as this sounds, you have to forget to truly remember.
Option 2: Borrow Someone's Eyes. I know, you're the greatest at what you do. There's no one else around there who can do it quite like you. (That sounds like that James Bond song.) But here's the thing: someone around you has fresh eyes and perspective to see something you don't. God has placed someone in or near your circle who's actually talented and gifted and experienced enough to SEE things clearly and objectively. You don't have objectivity. You've been staring at it for too long. Maybe it's a project you've been working on or that chapter of that book you're writing or that sermon you've been preparing or that huge event you've been planning. The list is endless. The question is: How long will you stare off into oblivion before you realize that your vision is impaired. No, not your eyesight. Your VISION. Do you see what I'm saying?
Stop squinting. Quit rubbing your eyes. Call out for help or walk away. Maybe then, you'll start seeing things a little more clearly.