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Posts Tagged ‘focus’

There are many posts, blogs, articles and thoughts about the New Year. Make a resolution or not. Turn over a new leaf. Find a meaningful word. What is our focus?

ID-10018835If it is on us, then perhaps it is why we seem to fall short each year. After all, Paul reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

I once heard that both SIN and PRIDE have “I” in the middle. In today’s “me-ism”  world of selfies and all-about-me introverted thinking, our society suffers from too much of a focus on ourselves and not others. Whether we meet our goals or not, the focus is still the same…it is on us. How quickly that can absorb us, right?

In contrast, the Christian is supposed to strive to be more other-focused. Paul also told the Philippians, and tells us –

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!  (2:3-8)

ID-10024045Perhaps, instead of focusing on how we should change, become more aware, adjust our weight, habits, etc. we need to shift our focus to the Cross. Not rely on our own strength, or even ask God to give us strength, but for Him to be our strength. May we choose to be other-orientated and open to being used to His glory. Let God set the path, and be pliable enough to be molded in the way He wishes so we can be His hands and feet in this world and point others to Him, not ourselves.

Who knows. In the process, we might discover by the end of 2017 we met our original “goals” after all. I personally pray I will have done infinitely more than just that – because my actions and reactions will have eternal consequences either way.

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“This statue shows a Christian woman who is old at death’s door. As she passes from this life to the next, she is no longer sick or old and does not carry the burdens of this mortal life. She is welcomed by her Savior into eternal life whole and strong to live forever in heaven.”

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Perhaps you have seen this on Facebook, as I have. Looking at the down-slide of my life ahead, how ever long that will be, this spoke to me. Getting older, I have aches, pains and diminishing energy. I am faced with the reality  that I just can’t do what I did at twenty, or even forty. And it frustrates me. To one day be out of pain and beyond the limitations of my body gives me hope. But does that mean I can’t have hope now?

I see my older friends in two categories:

1.They’re even more frustrated than I am and their conversations are what my mother called “organ recitals”= always about their physical maladies.

2. Or, they have a quiet contentment, which my mother also called “being thankful they still have parts, even though they ache.”

In fact, she had a plaque on her fridge: Age is Mind over Matter. If you don’t mind, what does it matter?

And that is where this wonderful sculpture errs, in my opinion. Physicality is so emphasized in our society. Youthfulness rules. Aging is taboo. Take this pill or have this procedure to halt it, you don’t want it. Stop it in it’s tracks. You have the right to feel young and energetic again.

Where did that come from? Other cultures honor their elderly.

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12

Aging is a natural process. From the moment we are born, we age. Bodies and minds wear out, but souls do not.

I am not sure my spiritual body will be young, skinny and tall as depicted in this sculpture. I have never been skinny or tall here on earth and I always wished I had the metabolism of a cheetah instead of a sloth, so it would be nice. Living with chronic pain for decades, to no longer have that thorn in my flesh would be great as well. But that it temporal thinking.

There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.  I Corinthians 15:40

Scripture says my spiritual body will be new, eternal and not subject to illness. I am not sure I will have legs and arms, long flowing hair, or even eyes and ears. What I do know is whatever shape my spiritual body is, it will exist to reflect God’s glory.

But in the meantime, God has use for me here.

I can do His will and reflect His glory at every stage of my life, even if I end up drooling in diapers. Yes, I have the responsibility not to abuse this body He has given me, but I also must accept it is a temporary shell which is made to wear out. That is not where my primary focus should be. Too many people turn fitness into an idol and food into a demi-god.

Aging doesn’t make me less a person, and it shouldn’t affect my attitude of gratitude. At every stage, I can serve in some capacity, even it is just to be a sweet, kind and patient person whose love for the Lord shines through her dimmed eyes and diminished memory.

Which person do I choose to be from now on – someone focused on her pains or someone focused on the One who suffered the ultimate pain for her so she can have life beyond this one?  Will my main focus be on my feeble body or His glorious one ? The aches dwelling in my joints or  His Spirit dwelling in my soul?

Which do you choose to concentrate on, and which will you reflect?

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I have seen this on Facebook- have you?

 

 

 

I began to think of ways to further this analogy – dangerous, I know.

The same can be said for side view mirrors.  They are panoramic so you can glance at those on either side of mirror-appear-1you, pray for them and determine where they are in your life.  The danger is when they appear closer than you think, so they have too much influence on your journey.

Perhaps  you don’t see them at all because they are in your blind spot. Their negativity or destructive agenda almost collides with you and you have to correct your “thinking” course in a hurry.

Or maybe you are just not aware of them being there, and a glimpse reminds you that you should acknowledge them in your life as your paths cross so you can pray for them, guide them or direct them as God sees fit. Maybe God wants you to ride side by side, or perhaps you should steer clear!

However, your main focus should be on where God is leading you in the “now”. In other words, what lies directly ahead. That is not being self-oriented, but acknowledging that He has a plan for you to follow. Selfishness takes over when you grab the wheel and try to steer yourself, eyes glued ahead, oblivious to what is around you–or worse, so focused on where you have been you veer off the road!

This New Year – who will take your steering wheel? Will you follow His guidance as to when to look in the side views and when to look in the rear view? Will you obey when He tells you to just focus on what is immediately ahead?

Have a great trek in 2016!

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