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Posts Tagged ‘Focus’

* A re-post from three years ago … one whose message I needed to be reminded of, myself.

One of my daughters just got glasses … again …

She first started wearing corrective lenses when she was about nine. And she looked stunningly brilliant in them (I might be a little bit prejudiced, since she is mine πŸ˜‰ ).

But then adolescence arrived (sigh) and SHE not longer appreciated her appearance in specs. She begged, she pleaded, she bribed (where she learned bribery as a form of motivation, I have no idea) for contact lenses. And then they broke, so we had them fixed. Not long after that, they mysteriously broke once again. And, like Humpty Dumpty, they couldn’t be put back together. I was not impressed!

She felt that the only solution was to replace them with contact lenses (obviously SHE does not pay the bills). I told her she was free to invest in them whenever she would like, but that I would purchase new frames for her. She was NOT willing to budge (where she got her stubborn streak I will never know … I bet it’s from her father’s side). And neither was I (I got my stubborn streak from my hubby, of course).

So, I watched her struggle through months of not being able to see the writing on then board at school, not being able to fully appreciate watching a movie at the theater, and playing basketball … how she ever managed to get on the team with her blind spots (which were wherever she tried to look) I will never know.

Finally, this summer she forfeited (thus, I won … not that winning is everything, or that I am an intensely competitive person πŸ˜‰ ), and new frames and lenses were purchased.

And what was her response when she put them on?

“The trees have leaves.”

Now for months, my daughter has known that the trees have leaves. To some extent she could even see them, but not clearly, not as individual leaves, but as a clump of green. What she knew to be leaves, was really only her memory of what it was that made trees green. She was blind to the reality of their existence, because she rejected the tool that she required to see evidence of them.

In reality, she was blind by choice.

And, once she made the choice to get glasses, and to no longer stumble through the mirages in the desert, what she saw was so delightful, so … eye opening … she wondered why she had waited for so long.

How many of us choose to wander through physical, emotional, mental or spiritual deserts? How long do we thirst for a cure, for relief, for answers when they are right in front of our eyes? But, we allow our pride to hinder us from making the choice to see clearly?

The regrets of John Newton’s chosen blindness for much of his life are so clear in the lyrics of his hymn, Amazing Grace, that you can almost feel his heartache within yourself as you read or sing them. He was fortunate (as are we who sense a oneness with understanding of his words) to have opened his eyes while he still had life to live … to see all that he had been missing.

Have you ever been living your life and felt as though there was just no purpose, no reason for any part of it? Ever felt as though you were living in a life of fog? As though your existence was dull and out of focus? Maybe it is because you (and I) have lost sight of our responsibility to seek corrective assistance so as to improve our outlook on life.

There is only one thing that can magnify the vision of our life … Jesus.

Jesus then said,

“I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day,

making all the distinctions clear,

so that those who have never seen will see.”

John 9:39

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Warning … I might start off sounding rather … heretical in my attitude, but don’t worry, the light will shine in the darkness I am about to create πŸ˜‰ .

A number of months ago I opened up a certain social networking site to see a status update, by one of my ‘friends’, that made me want to stick a finger down my throat to indicate gagging. The status of this ‘friend’ was similar to others posted by this individual … very … spiritual, kind of … holier-than-thou …

My first thought was (and this is where you might start to doubt my walk with God) that this person is simply too heavenly minded to be any Earthly good.

Every time I would read a new status update by this individual, it was so … god-talk, and it drove me rather buggy. I wondered if this person had any non-Christian friends, or if they had all be scared off by the churchy-talk.

TooHeavenlyMinded

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not disagree with what was being shared in this person’s status’, it’s just that … well, if they scared me off, and I share their beliefs, what does that do to those around them who do not?

Let me give you a comparison …

I love eagles! I am in awe of the ease with which they soar through the air, despite their size, despite the wingspan they have. When I see an eagle in the sky, it is like when my dog sees a squirrel!

Well, the other day, I was driving along the road when my eye caught an enormous eagle in the sky. I do not think that I have ever seen one with such a large wingspan. Although all alone in my car, I was audibly declaring my ‘ooohs and awes.’ All of a sudden I remembered that I was indeed driving a car, and was glad that I did, since the traffic ahead of me was coming to a halt (and I came to an even more abrupt halt).

Once safely stopped, I glanced skyward to see the flying beast, but it was gone from my sight.

My eagle story reminded me of my holier than thou friend.

There is something so right in acknowledging and enjoying that flying eagle. Really it would be a shame to not appreciate such an amazing beast. But, when I am driving a car, driving safely needs to be my number one priority … I cannot take my attention from what I am doing in the present moment.

In a similar way, focusing on heaven is so right, because it is my destination. It would be a great shame to not appreciate such an amazing eternal future that those of us, who believe in Christ, have awaiting for us in heaven. But, when we are living our Earthly life, our focus needs to be on living this life of kingdom living … of sharing the joy, and love, and good news of life with Christ here and now … not just the life after death. It is in the driving with focus on this life, that we arrive better prepared for our final destination. After all we are living the kingdom life her … now, and not just after we die from our Earthly existence.

This Earthly existence is the kingdom existence, we do not have to dream of heaven, of walking the streets of gold with our Savior. He walks with us NOW, He is present NOW. His kingdom is not up in the clouds, and our thoughts need not be there either. The kingdom of God is at hand … lets keep our hands on the wheel, and our eyes on what is immediately in front of us.

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, β€œThe kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, β€˜Look, here it is!’ or β€˜There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20-22

 

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You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.

Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.

I love these age related sayings! They make me smile at the truths tucked into their humor or irony. Ten years ago they would not have been as entertaining to me as they are now. Even five years ago they would not have held the same attraction for me. But now I am contemplating my twenty-fifth high school reunion, and am becoming more authentically archaic.

Getting older isn’t really so bad πŸ˜‰ One of the best things about getting older is that I have been learning something that has been changing my life.

I am not sure what caused this change in my thinking, but it’s effects have been profound! In the past, when I would have a struggle, a disappointment or was hurt by something or someone, I would (sigh) feel sorry for myself. You know, singing the ‘poor me’ song?

What I have been learning over the past few years is that when those inevitably disappointing times and events come, I ask a simple question, ‘what am I to learn from this?’ Now the question is not magical, nor does it wipe the yuck from the situation I am experiencing, but what it does is better. The question moves me along from the eye of the storm I am in, to the calm at the end of the storm.

My focus changes!

This change of focus has meant that I feel less hopeless, I feel less anxiety. Ironically, I also feel less out of control, because I recognize, right form the beginning, that I am not in control anyway.

This reminds me that, in Ephesians 4:23, “you were taught to be made new in your thinking.”

I am thinking that another way to say that is, you CAN teach an old dog a new trick.

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