Don’t Stop Looking


I couldn’t find one of my favorite books on prayer.

  • I looked on my “favorite books” shelf in my bedroom. Not there.
  • On my “recently read” shelf. Nope.
  • On the “retired-to-the-basement-but-too-loved-to-get-rid-of” shelf. Not there either. At least not the first time I looked.

But on the third look, it was there in the basement. On the shelf I had looked at twice earlier.

Do you ever do that? Look right over the thing you’re looking for?

I know I do that with God.

As I’m looking for peace, I sometimes look right over God. Or in my search for contentment, I’ll ponder truths about Jesus, instead of look at Jesus, who is present with me all the time.

With my book, I thought I remembered it with a white cover. So I looked for white.

But it was blue.

Only when I stopped looking for white and started looking for any color with the right title—the true words—did I find it.

Sometimes Jesus doesn’t look like I what I’m searching for either. If I’m not careful, I’ll look right over him.

But he is what I’m looking for. What I need. Every time. When I see him, he is life. He is healing. He makes me whole.

To continue discovering more about him, I hope I’ll never stop looking.

And finding.

* * *
Does Jesus ever show up differently than what you expect? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

38 thoughts on “Don’t Stop Looking

  1. Michele Morin

    The word “filter” came to mind as I read about your search. Often, I also use the wrong filter in my own searches, and then I don’t recognize that the very think I was seeking was right there all along.
    (Glad you found your book!)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Filter” is a great word here, Michele. We filter things solely through our own experiences all the time, when perhaps we need to widen those filters so we can see through others’ eyes as well. Love this analogy; thanks for sharing!

  2. Bill (cycleguy)

    You know about my bicycle wreck, Lisa. What you don’t know is that God showed up in a totally different way than i was expecting. I had been praying for something for over 9 months and the answer wasn’t coming. i was getting more and more frustrated with God and more angry at Him with each passing day. He showed up in the most odd way, but He showed up! And I found out the who He wanted to change was not the one I was praying for…but me.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wow–that’s a great testimony to God’s wisdom, Bill. I’m glad that he knows what we really need; we only think we know. There have been times in my life that I’ve asked for something and gotten the opposite, only to look back and thank him for his answer instead of my own. I’m glad God showed up for you!

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Today is one of those morphine-or-a-bullet days, and God seems far away.

    But I won’t choose either option. The only thing I may be able to do is sit cross-legged and ride waves of pain and debilitating nausea from one moment to the next, and there is sufficient grace in that to equip an army of saints.

    God shines brightest in the darkest hours, in that far ultraviolet which we may not see, but which penetrates our souls to help us fight on.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Sufficient grace” – from one moment to the next. That is what we all need. Praying for God to shine especially bright in this dark hour for you, Andrew….

  4. Valerie Sisco

    I love this! Sometimes I’m so sure of the picture in my mind and am shocked to discover it wasn’t even close, as your thoughts of the blue book were. And how this truth can teach us so much in our lives — about us, about God and about others. Enjoyed reading this today! xo

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is funny how we can have such a certainty about a particular detail of this or that, only to later be proven wrong. It just goes to show we should always hold our opinions with an open hand! Thanks for stopping in today, Valerie.

  5. saleslady371

    Oh, my, you’re peering right into my soul with this one! I can so relate. I think the cover is one color and find it it’s another sabotaging my quest. May this not happen spiritually to me, please God!!!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is funny how we decide in our mind what something looks like, even though we’ve seen it the “right” way many times before. Praying for our spiritual vision to be clearer! Thanks for stopping by, Mary.

  6. Linda Stoll

    Oh, Lisa, I’m so impressed that you have an assortment of shelves, each with a specific organizational task!

    Instead, I’ve got mini-piles on desk, dresser, nightstand, end table, etc.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, don’t be too impressed, Linda. My bookshelves are still not neat. 🙂 What I need to do is send many of the books OUT of the house to stay. But it’s so hard to part with a good friend.

  7. Dolly

    I chuckled as I read your words…in empathy because I have done that in both cases, except my book shelves are not as organized as yours 🙂 I read John 16:33 and realized it was peace IN Jesus not in my circumstances….He is the Peace…I’ve read it for years and the Holy Spirit made it extra clear today …blessings to you 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love when the Holy Spirit brings us a new clarity on something we thought we knew all along. I’m glad you shared that, Dolly. True and lasting peace is found only in Christ, indeed!

  8. Trudy

    Your book plight sounds so familiar, Lisa. These thoughts especially touch me – “Or in my search for contentment, I’ll ponder truths about Jesus, instead of look at Jesus, who is present with me all the time.” This is so true for me as well. Love and hugs to you!

  9. floyd

    Great analogy!!! I do this sooooo often. We get so caught up in relying on our senses that we forget the most miraculous and powerful part of us is Him in us.

    Good reminder, sister.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yep, our fleshly sensory systems can take over and often override our more grounded spiritual receptors. I often need to take a second (or third or hundredth!) look around to finally “see.”

  10. Ed

    Something about your post made me think this would be a powerful sermon in a church that wants to be…needs to be…on fire for Jesus!

    But I have a testimony to share:

    I was looking for Jesus early on in my walk…It wasn’t going well. I was looking for love in all the wrong places…one of those places, just before Jesus showed up, caused me to almost take my own life…needless to say…I was in dire straights. On the last night I went to the front of my house…outside on the lawn and I broke down…I called out to the Lord and said: “I need you to manifest yourself in a powerful way…because I can’t take this anymore.” Needless to say THAT’S when He REALLY showed up. Powerfully, yet tenderly. After I was finally broken (for the first time!)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wow, Ed. What a powerful testimony! I appreciate you sharing this vulnerable moment with us. And SO grateful that God did indeed show up in a way you could know he was there! Moments like these are experiences that last a lifetime.

  11. June

    I’m a visual person, so I can totally relate to you passing over the book, looking for a different color. Woe is me when they change the packaging on my grocery items! Great takeaway from your experience! I think we all have, at best, an incomplete view of Who God IS. Anything that challenges us to see more of Him is a good thing! Thank you for challenging us today!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. I remember when the manufacturers changed the color and wording on my Thousand Island salad dressing. I stood there for 5 minutes in the grocery store aisle trying to decide if it was really the “right” one that I had been using all along. I’m very visual too; it does bring delights but also its challenges. 🙂

  12. Pam

    Oh, Lisa, I so like this! It is such a powerful truth you led me to discover as you used the illustration about looking for the book you could not find. Great writing here!! Thanks!!

  13. Joanne Viola

    This is a good example of exactly what I do. I think I need one thing and it is entirely something else that I truly need. May I recognize my need for Him above anything and everything else. May I end my “looking” quickly, coming to the One who has all I will ever need.

  14. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Oh how many times I’ve gone looking for Jesus where I want to find Him, only to find that He is about something totally different than I had expected. Or, I ask for a giant billboard from Jesus answering my question or prayer and, like you, I overlook His answer right in front of me. I pray that He would open my eyes to truly see Him.
    Bev xx

    ps. Wish I could pop by more, but my work with RCF, Inc. consumes a lot of my time. Always enjoy posts when I can pop by!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I feel the same way, Bev: I’ve often looked for Jesus in one place or another, only to have him reveal himself in the most unusual circumstances or people. I’m glad he continues to surprise us! Thanks for taking time to stop by. Time is a valuable asset so I understand your need to guard yours carefully.

  15. Jean Wise

    Your search made me laugh – yep, been there, done that but loved how you wove a spiritual lesson back through this ordinary life lesson. God certainly speaks to us all the time doesn’t he?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I’m glad God continually speaks to us, even when we’re not paying attention. He’s gracious to never give up on finding new ways to reveal himself to us!

  16. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! First of all, I totally relate to your having to find things, and then seeing it later where you already looked. I do that all the time! Arg. How did I miss that?
    So it’s interesting to read about your using that experience in looking for Jesus. His thoughts are not my thoughts, so I know I miss seeing him where he is (which is everywhere).
    I absolultely think that God shows up in ways I never would have expected. I always thought I’d give birth to six of my own children (thinking big of course!), but that was not going to be. I really wanted to be pregnant, but God intervened and gave me a family in a different way, through adoption. Totally unexpected, totally wonderful!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Totally unexpected, totally wonderful!” What a delightful way to talk both about God and about your family. He never ceases to surprise us! I’m grateful for moms like you, Ceil. Loving our children, however they come to us, is the heart of a mother.

  17. Beverley

    i think i am going insane right now, i knock, i ask, i kick and scream and eventually i get an answer only for something else to happen, that leaves me wondering if i am going insane all over again…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m so sorry, Beverley. 🙁 That can be discouraging. I pray you won’t give up hope to continue knocking and asking anyway. I trust God is always listening and moving, just not always in ways that we can see yet. Lord, please move visibly and speedily for Beverley’s best!

  18. Debbie Kitterman

    Lisa – I am so sorry, it has taken me almost a whole week to stop by and comment from #TuneInThursday linkup last week. I was away at a Conference since last week and the wifi was practically non-existent.

    And YES! I do that too, look and look for something and then there it is, right where I was just looking .. aaahhhh and I too do not want to stop looking.

    Again thank you for linking up last week, and I hope to see you tomorrow at #TuneInThursday

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We’ve all experienced this then. As my husband always says when something is right under our noses, “If it was a snake, it would have bit you.” 🙂 Glad you got to do the conference last week; hope it was refreshing (maybe poor wifi is a good thing at times?).

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