how our joy is increased in looking up



We have a tendency to want to shrink God down to understandable, manageable human size, thinking we can contain Him within our own hopes and dreams. But He remains unconfined, free from any restrictions placed on Him by our finite minds.

If anything speaks to me of God’s infinite glory and majesty, then skies definitely do. Because how can we view an ever-changing panorama of colour, sunsets soaked in shades of vermillion, clouds threaded with indigo-violet and tinged with tangerine, without marvelling at the Hand that made it happen?

It certainly cuts us down to size when we compare ourselves and our human achievements to the fathomless mystery of Holy God and a vast universe. What an invitation to raise our eyes heavenward! What a revelation of God’s goodness and grace seen in our everyday ordinary.

We are designed to fly, to soar and rise above our earthly circumstances, and we only achieve it by looking up to God, seeking His face as often as we need to. He alone can provide all the help and grace we need.

As I think about what a gift it is to have sight, to be able to appreciate all that is poured out before us, I ponder: Maybe the secret kernel at the heart of joy is in the looking up? Maybe having eyes cast down, heart heavy with worry and anxiety, face creased into a frown, makes us too earthbound?



In the healing of Blind Bartimeus (found in Mark 10: 46-52), Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimeus answers, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”  And ‘anablepo’  — which is the word for “to receive sight”, when literally translated in the Greek — means: “I want to be up-looking.”

It makes us wonder at all he missed in being blind, and how much we, too, can neglect to see properly, even with perfectly functioning eyes. Our physical eyesight might be acute but our inner spiritual vision can remain blurred, distorted by wearing worldly lenses.

In this request to Jesus, Bartimeus is displaying not only a desire to be able to view the world around him with open eyes, but also a spiritual hunger to have a God-given perspective, an upwardly mobile gaze that takes in far more than human eyes can see.

The poem below (originally shared in the Association of Christian Writers (ACW) ‘Christian Writer’ magazine) reveals different ways of seeing.

Watch the Wind

I watch autumnal leaves

scattered in the street

They remind me of the way

I too am curled small inside

dying a death to flesh

And as they bow

to wild wind’s will

lifted higher

in its arms

I too am lifted up

above the daily grind

into the joy

of a sacred dance


*Note* – a God-given, inspiring germ idea which birthed this post came from my dear friend, Laurie Klein. You can visit her site by clicking here. I think you’ll love it as much as I do. She’s an amazingly gifted writer, poet and photographer.


Welcome to #day29 of #write31days  journeying into joy. I’m so glad you are here!

How do you view being upward looking in life and faith?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.



12 thoughts on “how our joy is increased in looking up

    • Hello Eva, it’s good to meet you! Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the nomination for the 3Days, 3Quotes blogger challenge but I’m afraid I will have to say no, because it is bad timing for me. I’ve been writing every day for nearly a month now with the #write31days writing challenge and that has been challenge enough! Consequently, I will be taking a bit of a blogging break once October is over. 🙂

  1. Love! THIS: “If anything speaks to me of God’s infinite glory and majesty, then skies definitely do. Because how can we view an ever-changing panorama of colour, sunsets soaked in shades of vermillion, clouds threaded with indigo-violet and tinged with tangerine, without marvelling at the Hand that made it happen?” one of my fave things about the ND prairies is that you can see the sky as far and wide as you could ever imagine.

    • Tara, your sky view sounds wonderful! I’d love to “see the sky as far and wide as you could imagine.” A beautiful thought. Bless you, friend. Hope you get to enjoy those sights this weekend. 🙂 xo

  2. Dear Joy, Such beautiful flowing words today! And this: “wild wind’s will” stirs something so deep in me! I am so often afraid of where that wind will take me, but you are so right! It’s in the surrendering to that wild wind of God’s Spirit that we are lifted up into those heavenly realms, out of the darkness and into His Holy presence. I love the way that today’s thoughts about looking up correspond with yesterday’s thoughts about looking down. Both are the opposite of what we want to do, with our limited understanding, and yet God’s ways are so beyond our own! Thank you again, my friend, for such encouraging words! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, I’m pleased you were stirred and encouraged by these words! I love the thought of freely surrendering to that “wild wind of God’s Spirit” and being lifted up into God’s presence. Yet how slow we often are to see that the very wind we perceive as an unwelcome buffeting could actually be a gentle Holy Spirit nudge guiding our hearts heavenwards, urging us to search with spiritual lenses on. Thank you, my friend, for ‘seeing’ so much in my offerings! You are blessed with great insight. xoxo

  3. “…an upwardly mobile gaze…” Love that phrase! Joy, what a lovely meditation and great reminder: What we behold, we become.

    I picture you composing this for us at your desk, typing away with your eyes closed — or maybe pausing between lines to close them 🙂 — your face tilted skyward, modeling stance, and intention, inviting us to follow, to gaze, to echo with Bartimaeus, “I want to be upward-looking.”

    And I thank you for the kind mention and link to my blog, dear friend.

    • You truly ‘get’ me, don’t you, Laurie?! Although I also search for things closer to ground, my gaze is more frequently drawn upward to sky. I watch as she speaks out wonder, breathes out beauty and wakens us to witness God’s glory, make space for Mystery. As I pause, ponder and pray my way through these posts, part of the preparation includes peeking out the window, lifting eyes heavenward and hoping for inspiration to arrive!
      God has provided in abundance and I am quite overwhelmed at how graciously He has upheld His child as she has journeyed into joy. And what a journey it has been! I so needed a positive focus to offer my readers, as well as encouraging myself in the process. You are very welcome to the mention. It’s the least I could do for the way you have prayed and sought guidance on my behalf. May many stop by and marvel at all you write. Bless you, dear friend! xo ❤

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