I’ve had glasses since I was 15 but I’ve not really worn them. They never seemed right. Some days they seemed ok. But on most days, I could see better without them. And life went on.
Last year, when I started having chronic migraines, my ND recommended I get my eyes re-checked. So I did. Verdict: Eyes are the same as they’ve been since I was 15. So I got a new pair of frames with the same old prescription and went on my way… not really wearing them. They never seemed right. Some days the seemed good. But most days, I could see better without them.
Since then, my eyes have been getting more and more weird. And it feels like “looking” is one of the main triggers for these migraines. Mirrors look like warped carnival mirrors. Reading is painful. Looking down the street hurts. And vertigo with nausea is almost constant. I wake up with eye, forehead, and temple pain. And by the end of the day, I can barely function.
A couple of months ago, I just did it: I found the closest optometrist and made an appointment.
_ _ _
I don’t like having my eyes dilated and I was worried it would trigger a big migraine, so I paid the extra $25 to have the new fandangled machine instead. The optometrist said I needed to be dilated but I put my foot down. Well, more like, I pitifully explained how fragile my brain is these days. She was considerate and kind and let it slide.
Then came the crazy news.
“You are extremely far-sighted,” she explained. “Your old glasses are not at all strong enough. And they’re not reading glasses. You need to be wearing glasses ALL THE TIME. Your eye muscles are exhausted. It’s no wonder you have headaches.”
Well! That’s big.
I was back in their clinic 10 days later to pick up my new stronger glasses. I was so eager for the magic when I put them on… and almost puked on the spot.
“Oh no!” I said to the guy. “These glasses are TERRIBLE. I cannot see! And the vertigo is crazy. And I want to cry. This is the worst…” (And I actually cried… because this has been a really rough year.)
“Try them for a week,” he said. “A little longer each day. Build up to wearing them full-time.”
_ _ _
A week later I was back in the optometrist chair, crying again. “These glasses are no good.”
“You are far-sighted.” She explained, again. “Your eye muscles are constantly working to change the shape of your eye so you can see clearly. For 41 years your eyes muscles have been over-working. They are so tired. They can’t keep doing it. You need these glasses. And not just for an hour a day. Taking them on and off will cause a huge problem for you. You need to wear them all the time.”
But, I didn’t believe her. Because the glasses were terrible. And I toyed with the idea of getting a second opinion.
“Let’s dilate your eyes and retest you.” She was ignoring my silent, angry tantrum.
And so I gave in and accepted those horrible eye drops. As usual, the drops made my eye muscles relax and my vision blurred out. Have I mentioned that I really hate having my eyes dilated? I literally can’t see a thing. Blobs for faces. No eyes or mouths. I walked very slowly down the hallway back to her office. Blind.
I couldn’t read any letters on the eye chart. Or the next page. Or the next page. Not even the largest one letter page. Was that an E? Or a G? Or an F? Or a 3?
Then she handed me my new terrible glasses. I slid them on and braced for the worst. Immediately, everything was crystal clear.
I actually gasped.
“This is what I’m trying to tell you,” She went over it all again. “The blurry vision you have with dilation is actually your true vision. You have been relying on your own strength to keep your vision clear, but your muscles cannot keep up with it anymore. Your eye muscles now need to learn how to relax. They have to let go of 41 years of behavior. They aren’t strong enough to keep this up. Your eyes need to accept the new glasses. They need to let go of their own strength and get used to the help of the lenses.”
1. I have really bad vision.
2. I didn’t know it.
3. I’ve been relying on my own strength.
4. It’s messing me up.
“Wear them anytime your eyes are open. Put them on as soon as you wake up. Keep them on until you lay down at night. Never take them off. Over time the nausea will go away. As your eye muscles relax and trust the glasses.”
5. I need these new lenses.
6. This is a total lifestyle change.
“What you must NOT do is switch back and forth from wearing them and not wearing them. This will cause problems like nausea and headaches.”
7. I need to be all in.
_ _ _
So. I’ve been wearing my new glasses constantly for a month.
Here’s the truth: I’m struggling. Glasses are ANNOYING. I keep hitting them with my hands. I’m no good at hugging without squishing them. Yoga child’s pose jams them into my head. They need cleaning constantly. They slip down my nose. (I just ordered these weird things to try to help with that. Wish me luck.) Also: How do you apply makeup if you can’t see without your glasses?!
But. I NEED these glasses. This could be a major piece of this migraine puzzle. I can’t see the results immediately so I need to stick with it for a good amount of time. (aka forever?!)
Straight up: My own strength was failing me. I cannot sustain my own vision. I should never try to live a moment of any day without these glasses.
What a metaphor. My stupid glasses are pointing at my walk with Yahweh.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8-9 ESV)
Let’s be honest: God’s Ways aren’t always enjoyable. Sometimes His Ways are really uncomfortable. Adjusting to His Way vs our own ways, can be majorly unsettling. We get spiritual nausea. We get migraines in our souls.
It is such a struggle to let go of doing things in our own strength.
But, friends, our own strength is failing us! Our own thoughts are puny. Our own ways are disastrous. Our own vision is so flawed.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. (Prov 3:5-8 ESV)
We need to embrace His Ways. His Truth. His lenses. We need to wear them all the time.
We should never look at life without His Perspective. Without His Vision.
There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death. (Prov 14:12 ESV)
And when we switch back and forth between God’s Ways and our own ways, it causes problems. We allow our own-strength behaviors to continue. We struggle against His lenses. Our muscles fight against Him.
But we need to let go and relax and embrace His Ways. We need to put on His glasses and never take them off.
Teach me your decrees, O Lord;
I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.
Give me an eagerness for your laws
rather than a love for money!
Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word. (Psalm 119:33-37 NLT)
These new glasses are a constant reminder of my need for Yahweh’s Way.
I put my glasses on each morning. Before I look at anything. Before my eyes can try to see in their own strength.
Will I also set my focus on Yahweh each morning? Before I look at any other? Before I launch into the day in my own strength?
This is a call to my soul: Remember to stretch your roots down into the Rock. Remember to soak your mind in His Truth. Remember to hold on to Him and no other. This is the place of Life.
Be Thou My Vision
attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th cent.
translated by Mary E. Bryne, 1905
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.