Watchers. The people who are always watching others, wondering, imagining, guessing about their lives, their hopes and their dreams.
I am a watcher of people. I can sit on a park bench for hours, writing in a notebook, randomly watching people walk by, making up stories about them in my head, always wondering how far off I am from the true story of their lives. I am always watching, a natural introvert, quietly taking my place along the sidelines, experiencing life through the laughter and wild antics of others.
I enjoy watching, though I used to not enjoy being watched. As I made up beautiful stories in my head about others, I was quick to become uncomfortable when I was the object of another watcher.
What are they looking at? Is there something on my face? Is my shirt tucked into the back of my skirt? I automatically assumed I was being watched in a negative manner, completely unconvinced that I could somehow, someway, be interesting enough to watch.
But I am. And so are you.
There is something unique about all of us, something magical. The twinkle of oddly colored eyes, an explosion of fiery red hair, skin so dark it shines like satin, an elegant gait that seems like a dance, an athletic move that defies gravity, a disability that is being used and overcome. There are so many interesting and diverse qualities in humankind to notice, and to watch. God created so many walking, talking miracles, and I try to love them all.
I adore watching people. The more, the better. The variances enthrall me, excite me. We are all so different, but similar, we are all so beautiful. Seven billion pieces of original artwork, one of a kind masterpieces, that are randomly roaming around on this planet. It’s absolutely amazing. Creation is absolutely mind blowing.
We are now living in an age where it has become so easy to watch others, and we also live in an age where it is so easy to be watched by others. There are cameras everywhere, our phones can record everything, and there are plenty of people out there who are willing to put their lives on display for the rest of us to watch. There is reality TV, YouTube channels, and there are well known social media stars. Most of us willingly put parts of our very own lives on display for others, with status updates and pictures we can upload with a click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger. Then we wait, and watch. We watch to see how many people are watching us.
No matter how private a person you are, it is next to impossible to not be watched. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Stories of your very own laptop cameras watching you, our cellphones being tracked, and we’ve all heard the stories, that “Big Brother” is all around. It’s goes hand in and with the day and age we live in.
With so much technology available to watch, or for being watched, I have two very important questions for you.
What are you watching? And what are you allowing others to watch about you?
These questions are so important because what you experience visually and mentally can totally shape your thought patterns, and what you portray, or work so hard to portray, can shape another’s thoughts. We have the ability to influence our minds, and the minds of others with good images, or negative images.
I have personally found that a certain amount of voluntary censorship is vitally important to my mental well-being. I avoid certain videos, pictures, and people who elicit negative reactions from me, and I really try to display positivity for others. I do not want to be responsible for sharing negativity with others, and for putting disheartening ideas or images in another person’s mind.
As a child, I was an avid reader. One of the many genres I enjoyed was horror stories. I devoured novels with creepy characters, scary plots, and horror inducing twists. I was reading Steven King at 10, and though he is still one of my favorite authors, I have to admit I was exposed to a fearful thought pattern at way too young of an age, by reading and watching horror stories. I had vivid nightmares, and spent much of my childhood devising and concocting plans of how I would save my entire family from their demise by would-be intruders or imaginary boogie men. This is so not normal. I grew up fearful, and I have spent much of my life fearful, afraid of what horrible things could befall me, or those I love. Most of my life has been spent in irrational fear.
Years later, after a particular dark spell of depression and anxiety in my life, my father, who is so very down to earth, asked me a serious question. He asked me if I thought that maybe I was putting too much negativity in my head with all the “garbage” I was reading.
At first, I laughed it off. I thought he was silly, because he wasn’t a big fan of some of my more graphic reading material. Then I seriously thought about his comment. It really was so unlike my father to make an off hand remark about something of this nature. He must of been truly concerned about me, so I really began to consider it.
Looking around, I began to notice a dark side to myself, in some of the books on my shelves, the movies I had collected, even some of the art work displayed around my house. I was filling my head with more darkness than light, by reading, watching and surrounding myself with more despair than hope.
So, doing what I always do, being the analyzer of everything and everyone, I decided to experiment with my own brain, and analyze myself. I switched it up a bit. Instead of thrillers, horror, and end of the world stories, I chose love stories, and comic movies. I read positive non-fiction stories. I bombarded myself with images and stories of light and love. I read my Bible more.
And you know what?
I did see, and feel a difference.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never read a good old-fashioned scary book, or ever watch a horror movie. What I am saying is that you should carefully consider how much darkness you allow yourself to watch and to visualize. There needs to be a healthy balance, and there needs to be way more good than bad allowed into your mind. Your mind is your very own sanctuary, and you should decorate it in a way that you want to feel. So, decorate it with light.
Maybe, as you go about your day watching a video here or there on Facebook, scrolling through images on Instagram, or flipping through channels on your television, perhaps you should consider filtering what you see. Subscribe to some positive pages. Consider unfollowing or hiding people who post negative things. Don’t stop on channels that pollute your head with death, or cruelty, or crudeness. Saturate your thoughts with light, with laughter, with hopeful stories, and helpful images.
I encourage you to try this for a few weeks, to be your own warrior of protection for your very own mind. I bet you’ll feel a significant difference in your emotional well-being and your thought processes.
Go ahead and sensor what you allow to enter your field of vision, what you allow to filter into the deepest parts of your brain. Then turn around and censor yourself.
Why? Because you never know who is watching you. Believe it or not, what you put out there for others to see, by posting, or talking or behaving, is being watched. You are more powerful than you believe, even if you don’t have 1.2 million followers.
You may never notice the five-year old boy who is standing with his mother in line at the grocery store while you have an argument with the cashier, but I guarantee he notices you. You may never see the girl with the poor self-image who looks at the meme you just posted ridiculing somebody’s appearance, but she is watching. You may have no idea that your co-worker is having personal issues at home, and work is an escape from his problems, as you bring negativity into your work place with a disgruntled attitude. Your negativity is being seen, being watched, and negativity is a breeding ground for more negativity. Negativity breeds way to fast. It gives birth to an out of control array of hatefulness, despair, and spite.
Somebody is always watching, when we are aware, and especially when we are unaware, and not only your peers, or your friends, your neighbors, or your family. God is watching too. We often forget that.
I wonder how often we would do or say something negative if we could see God watching us? If we were standing around on break would we be gossiping about another co-worker if Jesus was standing next to us? Would we be viewing adult websites and filling our heads with those images if we were sitting at our computer right next to Jesus? Would we be yelling, swerving and honking our horns in road rage if our Lord was buckled in the passenger seat next to us? Probably not. Maybe we should always picture Him right next to us, because truly, I tell you He really is. He is always with you, not to monitor, but to love you, and He wants what is best for us.
The Bible tells us to fill our heads with good things, with light, and to avoid certain things that are dark. This is in no way about control, or about a God that sets us up for failure. This is about our Creator, the very one who developed you and shaped your mind, knowing what is good for you, knowing what truly makes you happy and wanting to protect you from what does not. God loves you, and He is always there, always guiding, protecting. Always watching.
In a world where it is so easy to watch and be watched, maybe we should make an effort to be Watchers of love. Watchers of light, Watchers of hope, and laughter and joy. When we fill up with the good stuff, we are more able to show the good stuff to others. To the Watchers of us.
Watch me, I don’t mind. I’m in a better place than I have ever been before, and I’m smiling.
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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
You, Lord , are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.