How often do I need to be reminded of the truth? I mean seriously, I have written numerous posts about how important it is to keep my eyes on Jesus and off of my problems. I KNOW this stuff! And yet, it feels like I need a reminder over and over again.
This week, I had my focus on my problems . . . again. I went for a walk on Monday and was busy contemplating my issues and half listening to a podcast from Steven Furtick of Elevation Church titled Moodswingers Cheer Up Check Up. Let’s just say I thought my mood could use some swinging into a better direction. Pastor Steven relayed a story about being at his friend’s house one day. (I’ll call his friend Dave because I can’t remember what his real name is.) Dave’s mom was also there and as Pastor Steven watched them together he noticed how much Dave looked like his mom; not just in appearance but in mannerisms and speech idiosyncrasies. None of this seems particularly odd, right? I mean, lots of kids look like their parents, but the thing is, Dave is adopted! As Pastor Steven pointed out WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD! Dave had spent much of his life, as most kids do, hanging out with and watching his mom. If we become what we behold, the similarities between Dave and his Mom should come as no surprise.
Pastor Steven really didn’t have to say much after that; at least not to me. Right then, I realized I needed to move my focus back to Jesus and quit thinking about the things that are bothering me. Because I’d much rather become more like Jesus than more like my problems!
Sometimes God likes to ever so gently drive a point home so it didn’t surprise me when this concept of keeping things in the right perspective and focused on Jesus came up again at our church leadership training later that night. Really though, I love when God does this. What a loving way to nudge me back in the right direction.
Even though I know my eyes should be focused right on the face of Christ there seem to be other things screaming at me for attention. On Monday it was my feet. They just plain hurt. And when I start listening to my feet whine it becomes much more challenging to hear the still small voice of God. This foot thing isn’t a permanent issue though; it’s more of an issue du jour so why do I let it throw off my focus? We all have issues of some type. It could be a sore knee or a broken heart; a child throwing temper tantrums, or skipping school, or doing drugs; an empty bank account, unfaithful husband, or a boss who expects you to accomplish more in a day than is humanly possible. All of those things are big and can easily absorb our thoughts. All those issues have the potential to shout, “Look at me! This is horrible! You’ll never make it! It’s going to be like this forever.”
God is gentler than pain though. He doesn’t shout! He quietly reminds us again and again, “Come on, look at me. Focus on me. You’ll get through this. I’ll help you.” And somehow, when I switch up my focus . . . again . . . it helps. It’s not like the pain goes away (though sometimes it does), it just seems to be muffled a bit; kind of like closing a door between you and a screaming child.
One of these days I’m going to get this through my thick skull. I’m going to wake up and remember to look at God and say, “Thank you, Lord, for handling all my problems today. You are worthy of my adoration and praise. Today I’m going to focus on you!”
What about you? What do you need God to handle for you today? Whatever it is, open your hands lift the problem up to Him and let Him take it from you. He is more than able to handle it for you and He loves doing so!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31