Thursday, January 31, 2013

Notes From My Daughter

Focus and momentum
(2nd in a series written by my 19 year old daughter)

Human eyes are naturally limited. We can see far but we can’t see the whole picture clearly. 20/20 is considered normal vision, but it’s not perfect. Everybody’s vision is flawed and different. Within the human eye, there is naturally one blind spot where you cannot see anything at all.

Even with its natural flaws, the eye still has an amazing design. However, many of us also make choices that weaken the strength of our eye over time. We sit too close to screens, we don’t get enough vitamins, and we neglect to care for our eyes until we need them and ruin the optimum health. This post is not a lesson in eye health care, but it is a metaphor for how we humans live our lives.

Humans aren’t perfect, but we also make choices that lead us astray from a purposeful life. Our eyes serve many purposes one being vision, and along with vision comes FOCUS. Our pupil is the smallest and most central part of our eye, and has the ability to focus in on the things we need to see clearly.

Strangely as humans, and as Christians, we have a tendency to set our pupil on distractions rather than focusing on purpose. It seems more fun to relax, ignore reality, and blur out the important things rather than to be focused and centered. Our life gets cluttered with distractions, some by choice others out of our control. We lose perspective and everything that we tend to focus on is very shallow. Often, we ruin the optimum possibilities of our own lives from the choices that we make.

Some of us need to learn how to have the vision of a racehorse. All of them have on blinders so that they can only see what’s directly in front of them because if they were to see what’s happening outside of their lane they would:

  • Get scared and stop because of the audience
  • Move off of their direction and wander elsewhere
  • Lose of sight of the goal
  • Partake in activities that have NOTHING to do with the race they are running

My track coach used to tell us “Don’t ever look anywhere but forward while you are running because you will lose your momentum and slow down.” The crazy thing about losing momentum in a race is that you can never fully gain it back no matter how hard you try. I learned this the hard way in my last track meet of my freshmen year in high school where I was winning for 50% of the race, looked backwards because I doubted myself, lost my forward momentum and watched 3 girls run pass me (and didn’t qualify for the next round =/). When I moved in the wrong direction I lost my original purpose.

Some of you are like me; you doubt God, look another way and lose your momentum. Some of you are like the racehorse with no blinders on, distracted and moving in so many directions that don’t lead you to the finish line. Many of us can relate to both scenarios. There are many reasons, excuses, and circumstances that explain this lack of focus that happens to each and every one of us but one thing you have to remember is this:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus had also laid hold of me. Brethren I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press towards the GOAL for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”-Philippians 3:12-14 (If you have no goal, you have no direction, and if you have no direction, you have no focus, and so on. Paul admits he’s not perfect, but perfection is not the goal, God’s will is.)

We may get sidetracked but that should only last for a moment, not a lifetime. Grace, unlike momentum covers our faults and it’s something we don’t earn because of what we did (Christ’s death brought us this grace and freedom) but something that God gives us freely because he loves us and wants us to move forward. Moving forward requires us to look to God.

However we probably look in the mirror, at our friends, spouse, or family more than we look towards God which is sad because he’s the only one with an actual design and purpose for every part of our life. This often happens out of habit but the Bible clearly instructs us to do differently. 

“33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 (God is the focus everything else is an addition, don’t switch it around and make everything else a focus and God the addition because that’s a formula for destruction).
The song “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” says “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” 

The more we look at Him, the closer we get to Him, and our focus in him strengthens. If you've ever seen a child learning how to walk they look straight at their parents while they hold their hands. If they look down gravity pulls them away; if they look sideways distractions pull them astray and they fall. Fortunately God is always willing to pick us up and walk with us, but many of us are so comfortable by our blinding distractions that we have no clue that we aren't moving anywhere. One simple way you can tell whether you’re focused on God: What fruit are you producing? Godly fruit comes from a focus on him, really examine your heart and then open it to God; he knows what to do and where to take you. Trust him and focus on him for your WHOLE life.

Even though humans aren't perfect we serve a perfect God who is able to guide us through this life full of distraction. All of us have the ability to focus so choose to focus on God and not on anything else; He’ll give you the momentum you need to move forward.

What's stealing your momentum? Do you have blinders on? Did you ever think it was a good thing to have blinders on?

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