What do you see?
A few years ago, I bought a new (to me) car. Before making a pretty major investment, I spent months researching different dealers and car brands, reading consumer reviews on safety and reliability, wanting to make sure I spent my money wisely. Before long, I’d made my decision and narrowed my focus to a particular make & model and eventually bought just the car I was looking for.
But a funny thing happened as I happily tooled around town in my comfy new sedan. It seemed like I saw my car everywhere. I’d see one right in front of me at a red light. Or pull into a parking space right next to my automobile twin. I’d even be watching TV and what would pop up but a commercial for the same car I drive?!
There’s actually a name for this common experience. It’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. And it explains precisely what you’ve probably encountered at some point, too. Your brain registers that there’s something new, exciting, or particularly interesting going on in your life. So it begins to subconsciously focus its attention on that thing. And, of course, now that your brain is looking for it—you’ll find it. Everywhere!
Planning a vacation to the beach? Now that you’ve started plotting out details, it seems like everyone you talk to is going there, too! Or did you buy a new pair of shoes that you now seem to see on the feet of strangers and friends alike?
Whatever is on your mind strangely becomes the reality all around you.
I know Jesus never had to spend time buying a new car. But I do think he must’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about love, compassion, and acceptance. Since it certainly seems like that’s the reality that surrounded him. Wherever he went. Whatever he was doing. Whoever he was talking with. He responded with care and kindness. He listened with empathy. He let people know they mattered to God. And he convinced others that they should have such a perspective, as well. It seems as though what was in Christ’s mind became the only thing he could perceive in his surroundings.
It makes me wonder: what might we choose to fill our minds with these days? Sure, maybe you can’t help but spot your own car wherever you go. Afterall, it’s all you’ve thought about since you bought it. But if you think wholeheartedly about love. If you’re convinced that peace and hope matter. You might just see these things appear in the faces and places all around you.