This week again, I have been thinking about my word for the year and how it has been worked out in me in 2015. It has taken me through some hard times, but it also helped me keep my eyes on the goal. So I thought I would share some thoughts that have come to my mind as I have directed my focus to learning about FOCUS in 2015.
As many of you know, I love photography and I think this makes a great illustration of what I have experienced. Let’s say you are going out for a drive and you see something you want to photograph. So you stop and get out, put your camera up and focus on your subject, take the picture, and then take off. You are sure you have clear photo. Only thing? You come home and you look at the photo, and realize the camera focused on what was closest, as is normal for a camera, and the object you really wanted is out of focus. But the foreground is sharp as a tack! 🙂 However, the whole subject of your photograph is not what you saw or wanted to photograph. It can be so disappointing.
Our life focus can be like that. We think we have our focus on the areas that are best for us, but something happens and we come to realize, our focus has been WAY off! Kind of messes with us, doesn’t it? I know it has brought great disappointment to me to count on a great shot and miss it! I have learned a long time ago to slow down to take a picture. Take my time. My focus is much better and I set up the photo shot much more in line with what I saw with my eyes. God has given us a wonderful gift in our sight. It is hard to put to print what God allows us to see with our eyes. Don’t miss it! Look around you everyday to see the beauty that is there.
In my case this year, I found that focusing is like getting on the same page with God regarding life. God is always with us, but we aren’t always in tune with God in our lives. Instead of resting in His presence, we are busy doing damage control in our lives because we have tried to do it ourselves. We can sometimes think that what is going on in our lives is too important to wait on God to deal with it. The reality is, we aren’t meant to deal with it. Sometimes we may not feel God’s presence, in that, we feel God hasn’t taken care of our situation. So we feel a bit estranged from Him. However, if we can focus on the discipline it takes to recognize God’s presence in our lives, then we can get our alignment back. It’s like the camera again. If we are taking the time to realize where our focus needs to be in order to live a life of contentment, we will hit the mark with our focus on the right subject; our focus back on God.
How can we do that? One of the ways we can do that is to step off the treadmill. We have gotten to be so “on demand” that its hard for us to turn it off. We want everything to go quickly like a microwave lifestyle…everything needs to hurry up and happen. We want answers, we get mad when it take a few extra seconds to get to a website, or someone at a stop light doesn’t hit the gas quick enough. We can even allow it into our relationship with God; where we expect Him to answer our prayers in OUR time line. If we know the Word, we know that all things happen in HIS time. But it doesn’t stop us from expecting it to happen on our timeline. We don’t even rest on Sunday anymore. We may go to church, and then we are back home with things we have to do. When the pace in our lives goes crazy for too long, we need to step off the merry-go-round and re-adjust. Otherwise we will implode. If we want that relationship with the Lord to be deeper, then we have to walk away from all of that is keeping us apart from it, and get quiet and allow our souls to breathe freely for a length of time. We are becoming more and more a world of people with shorter and short attention spans. That creeps into our lives very quickly and makes itself at home, so we don’t even notice it happened. I heard a pastor say once there is no short cuts to spiritual to intimacy to the Holy One. Are you surrendering your schedule and family to God daily? If we practice the spiritual disciplines, it can be a way to re-focus ourselves on God’s agenda.
Another way is to turn on your prayer life. Get fired up! Talk to God about it ALL. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and to help change things in you. I don’t just give this advice, this is the way I ask God to help me live everyday. I don’t want to get back on the treadmill of life doing all the things that I think I should do, when they aren’t what God wants me to spend my time doing. So I take my own advice and I am finding my time spent is a lot of fun and with great enjoyment. Do I have hard things happen in my life? You bet. But I work through them and come back to focus on the things that are important…my legacy.
What are the benefits of re-focusing our efforts? Contentment comes instead of the hurry of life. Did you know that your heart has a lot to do with this? It has to start there not your datebook! So if our hearts is not at a point of contentment, our inability to “plan” isn’t the excuse. It isn’t about your daily to do list. It is a heart matter. We aren’t the ones in control. God is. So let our hearts begin focusing on Him, and our contentment will follow. If you are living in a way contrary to contentment in God, you will find it very hard to live freely and enjoy the sweet spirit of contentment in your life. The hurried lifestyle isn’t the way God designed us to live.
So let’s apply this. Even with the longest lens I have for my camera, if it’s too far away, I still can’t get a good shot of a subject. You would wonder in looking at the photo what I was taking a picture of. Sometimes I just have to move my feet to get closer to the spot that gives me a better shot. I have to move forward to be able to see what’s next. I HAVE to make the move. I can’t just stand in one place to get that shot. I have to move forward, adjust myself, my camera, my focus, to see that subject of my photo. I may encounter some rough ground to get where I need to be, I may have to huff a little, I may have to lay on my tummy to see it, or even climb a tree, but if I do, I am rewarded with a great shot.
The same applies to our lives with the Lord. We can’t give up because we don’t see God’s answer right now. Wait and listen to what he wants you to do. It means quieting yourself to hear it. Making that a lifestyle not just a passing thought. It may be a transition for you, in fact, I’m sure of it! But lean into that transition and keep doing it until it becomes a part of you. It means you are committing to the long-term with Him. You are fueling a fire in your heart. If you aren’t engaged, it would be like me always going out, seeing all these great shots I could have taken, and never having my camera. That would be very unfulfilling. Now, I have done that a few times but I don’t make a habit of it. I can’t imagine living day-to-day saying, “Oh I wish I had my camera!” and then not changing that decision the next time I go out! It’s like going on a trip without any map or agenda. You might see some great things, but you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t have a camera, you won’t remember all of the places where you were! We want to be equipped. God gives us the ways and means to change. We just have expend the effort. It may mean walking into the unknown for a while until it becomes a part of you. But once it does, you will never want to go back!
Here’s a closing thought: God is our tripod. A tripod has three legs, that in this case, can represent Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you put a camera on a tripod, you are likely to get a much better photo because you are not subject to camera shake. You will get a good sharp focus. So, let’s let the Triune God be our tripod to balance our lives, to lean on, to help hold our focus, and He will help us adjust our horizon lines, and vertical lines, to get the best look at what our life can be. He will line us up and focus us for life! He is our light when things are dark. He is our strong arm who lifts us up. He has the biggest ZOOM lens out there! He can see the end from the beginning. We, on the other hand, only have a kit lens, (shorter vision). We aren’t seeing well enough to catch a macro shot (extremely close up shot) because we don’t want to look that close at ourselves. Instead,we tend to look at our lives through a pin-hole camera lens that is pretty narrow. God sees the big picture with the Mighty Zoom! As close up as He can zoom in on us to see our imperfections, God still loves us! He knows every hair on your head! That is macro vision right there at its BEST!
Friends… use the right focus beginning today. Ask Him to direct you towards this kind of life. It has brought great joy to me! I hope it will for you. I hope you never see another camera again without thinking about this illustration to remind you of the life God wants for you and how much He loves you!
Walking the journey with you…