Monday, August 19, 2019

Change Starts When We Finally Face Our Weaknesses


Part 1 of an interview with Tim Riddle and Fil Anderson,
Authors of Blind Spots: What You Don’t See Can Hurt You


To the outside world, examining and exposing your own blind spots can be viewed more as a weakness than a courageous step toward change in your life and relationships. However, true transformative change starts when we finally face our weaknesses—and we all have them. Uncovering our own unseen areas for spiritual growth is impossible without the help of God and trusted individuals. What does Jesus see that we tend to miss, and what does he think about the threats that blind spots pose?

With the release of their book, Blind Spots: What You Don’t See Can Hurt You (New Growth Press), authors Tim Riddle and Fil Anderson discuss Jesus’s primary mission to expose the deadly nature of blind spots, sharing how he alone has the cure.

Q: How did the two of you come together to write Blind Spots? How did the idea evolve?

Tim Riddle
Tim Riddle (TR): I was reflecting on my leadership and all the ups and downs and challenges along the way. I was considering the idea of writing and Fil had been a trusted friend and a spiritual mentor to me for several years. He was also a respected author so I thought I would pick his brain. We briefly talked about writing, but the blind spot idea had not formed yet.

The next morning, I was working out on my bike trainer, but every 5 minutes, I was distracted by an idea or illustration that kept popping into my mind. I would pause and send myself an email so I would not to forget. When I saw Fil later that morning, he stated “I’m glad to see you… I was praying for you this morning.” I inquired about the specifics, and he referenced our conversation about writing. When we compared notes, it was the same time I was riding my bike! I told Fil, “You need to stop praying for me because I can’t get my workout done.” Then I showed him my phone and the 16 emails I had sent myself that morning with ideas about blind spots! In the next couple of days, he offered to mentor and co-author the book with me. I was humbled and thrilled because I have so much respect for Fil.

Q: What is a blind spot you have dealt with personally? How did you first become aware of it?

TR: For me, the personal blind spot that inspired the book was unveiled during an encounter with a team I served. We had recently met, and I was pitching an idea I was passionate about, but it wasn’t going well. There was a moment in the meeting where things got tense and shortly after, the meeting adjourned. Later that week, I became more frustrated with the group and wondered why they appeared to turn against me. We eventually met to talk through the issue, and one member recalled a statement I made in response to one of their questions. I immediately assumed she misheard my words because I would never make that kind of statement. When I brought it to her attention, the entire group affirmed they heard the same thing. I had such a blind spot that I had completely blocked it from my memory. Even to this day, I still don’t recall making the statement the entire group heard. I guess my personal agenda blinded me so much that I lost sight of the relationships in the room.

Fil Anderson
Fil Anderson (FA): There are so many to choose from that I’ll share the most recent. Last evening while my wife and I were dining at an outdoor café, I asked her to show me a blind spot. Immediately she asked if I recalled the story she had begun to tell earlier in the evening. Before I could answer, she informed me, “Even if you remember how it began, don’t bother remembering the ending. I never finished the story.”

While I was straining to recall the incident, she continued. “While I was talking, you received a text message. You immediately picked up your phone, began reading, then responding. Feeling invisible, I left the room. You never asked me to finish my story.”

I confess. My phone can be a horrible distraction. When that happens, the effect is like what occurs when I’m driving and change lanes. Suddenly the person I’m with is in a blind spot and becomes invisible.

Q: Are all blind spots truly hidden from our vision or are they sometimes things we are in denial about?

TR: Although some blind spots can be hidden entirely like my story from the previous question, I believe the majority of our blind spots can be classified as denial blind spots. For example, as Christ followers, when we sin, we usually feel bad. But each time we commit the same sin we often feel a little less bad until eventually, we don’t feel anything. It’s almost as if we put our blind spots to sleep like an anesthesiologist in preparation for surgery. Unfortunately, the operation never takes place to remove the issue, and we allow our blind spots to remain sleeping until something dramatic happens to wake us up like a broken marriage, lost job, or fractured relationship.

Q: Is every blind spot a sin? Can you explain how sometimes one is but another is not?

TR: I think our most obvious blind spots are rooted in our sinfulness, but I don’t believe every blind spot is a sin. Here’s an example. I love to speak and teach, but that gift was not revealed until about fifteen years ago. I had no idea it was something God wanted me to pursue. Through my spiritual journey and the encouragement of others, I realized it was something he was calling me to do. I don’t think that blind spot was the result of sin! I think it was something God was waiting to reveal until the right time in my life. However, if you had told me twenty years ago I would be giving hundreds of talks to audiences, I would have denied the possibility. At the time it was simply a blind spot.

Q: How would you encourage people to lovingly point out another person’s blind spot?

FA: Lovingly pointing our another’s blind spot is the most neglected, the most misunderstood, the least practiced, and the most needed communication among Christ-followers today. That’s why we admire and desire Jesus’s courageous, loving, disruptive honesty. He believed and practiced what he preached, that “…the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

So, follow Jesus’s example. Lovingly speak the truth to others the way you would like them to do to you. Consider how beneficial it would be to have someone in your life who’s willing to put their friendship with you on the line by being honest with you about your blind spots. Also, remember what you see, the other person does not recognize. Make it a habit to practice this ancient wisdom, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6)

For more information about Blind Spots: What You Don’t See Can Hurt You and other releases from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com. You can also learn more at www.discoverblindspots.com.

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