Focus - Where is it?
Updated: Jul 21
We have lost our focus. The world is a difficult place right now, more so than before, and it is our fault. Where is our focus?
What is our ultimate purpose here on Earth? We are only here a short time before we spend eternity in Heaven. We were created for God, to worship God. That is our purpose. Where is God in our life right now? Is He at the top of our list? Is He at the bottom of our list? Or maybe somewhere in between?
Is Sunday our only time to focus on Him? At church? No, wait, we were busy the last few Sundays. We did not have time for Him on Sunday.
But, for sure, we read our Bible this week? Oh no, well, it has been a busy, rough week. No time to read our Bible.
Surely, we took time to pray and chat with God this week? Well, my excuse is that I was having a really bad week. I did not have time to focus on Him because I was too busy worrying about my problems. I did find time to read all the negative stuff on Facebook, go to the pantry for comfort, and think on the things I can not control.
Looks like we neglected the important stuff this week. Or maybe this has been happening for more than a week, neglecting the most important things we can ever do in life.
So where is our Focus?
Are we dwelling on the bad news? Are we focused on our job? Are we spending too much time planning and focusing on our weekend that we do not have time for the Lord? Are we worrying about the future, our situations, or how we will get through the day? Is our focus on getting the dishes done or getting the kids to the next activity on the list?
This made me think of Peter and Jesus in Matthew 14:29-31 when Peter walks on water.
” Come”, he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, “ he said, “why did you doubt?”
The minute that Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the wind, he began to sink.
Where did Peter’s focus turn? Fear. He lost his faith. He began to focus on the wind, his situation, the storm, the deep water.
Where is our focus today? Has God allowed all this turmoil in our world because we have lost our focus?
Are we focused on the bad news, the storm, and deep waters we are traveling? Has our mind taken over and filled our heart with fear instead of a mind and heart filled with peace?
Listen, God is in control. We will all be okay. Do you believe this?
Let us hear it again. God is in control! Not the politicians, people, or virus. God is in control. All that happens is during His watch. He is in the control tower and HE IS IN CONTROL!
Does God allow all this craziness because we have lost our focus? Have Christians become people that believe in God, but do not feel Him? Christians that do not have a relationship with Him? Is He part of everything we do?
Are we caught up in living that we put Him aside? The one that created the living is neglected because we do not make time for Him? Do we focus on Him for one church service a year? Maybe Easter or Christmas?
We were not created to run around doing all the things and neglect to focus on Him, the One who created us.
Listen, I am talking to myself, as well. I struggle to keep up and make time for Him! The whole reason this blog was written was because I was thinking about how I shifted my focus off God in the area of health and wellness.
I had put all my focus on Christ and scriptures that reminded me to take care of the body that God gave me. Things were good with eating and exercise. But then, just like Peter, my eyes lost focus for a few days. A few days became a few weeks and my unhealthy habits came back.
My only hope in being healthy and staying healthy is my focus. My focus on our creator.
Our answer as a world is to shift our focus back to where it is supposed to be.
Do you want peace? Do you want to feel the presence of Jesus in your life? Do you want to know the outcome of this mess? Do you want to feel and know everything will be okay? Do you want the anxiety to end? Do you want comfort that feels like the strongest giant holding you, taking care of you, and keeping you safe when life gets out of control? Do you want ultimate happiness?
The answer becomes simple once you begin. The answer is available to everyone. The answer does not require cash.
The answer is a real relationship with Christ.
How do we get a real relationship with Christ? FOCUS. Focus on Him. Spend time with Him.
1. Read our Bible. It is the ultimate instruction manual for life. Reading the Bible may seem boring. I know, I used to think that. But I found a study Bible I like. My study Bible has explanations and it takes me twice as long to read, but the study Bible really helps me understand what I am reading. The New Living Translation (NLT) has become my favorite. The stories in the Old Testament are more interesting than Netflix.
I used to think reading my daily devotion calendars was enough. I love them. But I learned they can not replace reading the Bible. Something changed once I opened the Bible in the mornings. I began to feel the presence of the Lord with me often.
If reading the Bible feels overwhelming, start by reading only 5 minutes a day. Or maybe just one page a day. There are many days my readings are just a page. But that one little page makes a big difference in my life.
2. Pray. Praying each day is another component on focusing and having a relationship with Christ. Relationships involve conversations with each other. It is hard to hear God talking to you when you have not been talking to Him.
I know a lot of us pray throughout the day. We may pray before we eat or pray with the kids at bedtime. But are we setting aside time, maybe just 5 minutes, to just pray? Do we spend time thanking Him for all He has done? Thanking Him for providing for us? Thanking Him for being there for us?
This I struggle with each day. I say prayers with Tyler and Olivia every night at bedtime. I pray with my Mama when I visit her. But it is hard for me to stop and pray at home with so many things I need to do. But, I will keep trying.
3. Church. Yes, we are supposed to go to church. Let me speak from personal experience. When my kids were in a Christian daycare, I thought, all was good. We did not have to go to church as a family. I thought they were getting the foundation they needed at daycare. I mean, they went to chapel and everything.
When daycare ended, we started to attend church one to two Sundays a month. I thought it as something I needed to do for the kids, not something I needed to do for me. I mean, who wants to get up early, get dressed, and go somewhere on your day off, especially after a busy, stressful week?
I wanted my kids to have the foundation of knowing that Christ was the answer. The answer to every problem, every stress, every sadness, everything in life. It was important for them to have these answers in a world that is full of fear, meanness, hardness, and problems. But, I soon realized that I needed church just as much, or more than they did.
At first, church was a great “refresher” once a week. Something uplifting that made me feel better, have hope, and peace for the week ahead. As the weeks and years went by, I realized my life was changing. Changing for the better. Church, our pastor’s weekly message, a family of people that truly cared for me made me feel so good. I found hope again. It became more than just a “refresher”, it was purpose, peace, life, and happiness.
Church also reminded me to read my Bible and pray. The other answers of focus. Focus that makes life so much better.
4. There is another component, that based on my experience, is crucial for focus and a relationship with Christ. This is one that has taken many, many years for me to wrap my brain around. One that will always be a struggle, but once you let go, it is pure freedom. Here it is: GIVING UP CONTROL and letting CHRIST TAKE CONTROL.
It is so easy to say, “Yes, Christ is in Control”. But, do you believe it? Do you feel it? Do you think He is in control of everything? Have you given up control of your life, so that Christ can lead? Are you reading, praying, and going to Church so that you can hear Him tell you what to do with your life and what all the answers are to your many questions?
Do you think you are in control of your life or the time you will die? Do you fear death or the end of time? So many of us think we are in control. That if we do this and that, we will save ourselves from death. But no, we will leave this Earth when He says it is time. Death is a good thing. A time of no more worries. When it is our time, if we have accepted Jesus in our hearts, we will go to a much better place. Jesus will take care of our loved ones left here on Earth.
Giving up control equals freedom. When you tell Christ, “I am here to do the work you have for me. Protect me and my family. You have control.” I can not protect myself from the evils of this world. I can make good decisions and take care of this body and life I have been given, but I do not decide the outcome of the things in my life.
This is probably the hardest thing I had to do, give up control. But let me tell you, once you put complete trust in God and hand Him the keys to the driver seat of your life, it is the best feeling of peace and freedom ever experienced.
The last thing I want to mention is to give up perfection and just take action. There are weeks I miss a few days reading the Bible, or sometimes I miss the whole week. To this day, we do not make it church every Sunday. I would love to make it to midweek service, but we are still a work in progress, and trying to make that happen. Prayer is still a struggle, but I keep trying. Letting go of control is difficult some days. There are days that I do not feel the freedom I mentioned above. I will keep trying, every single day. Just try. Try a little harder each day.
On the days you miss, give yourself grace. Know that the sun comes up again tomorrow. We are given that promise of a new sunrise, a new day, a new opportunity to try again and get it right.
Our turbulent world is a sad place right now. Social media and the news show us of a world full of hate and division. But remember, God is still in control. We will be okay. It takes focus on Him, to feel it and to know deep in our hearts that we will be okay. I pray that every single believer in this country and world focus on Christ. That you all have peace. That you all sleep well at night. That you do what you have been called to do to spread the love and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ!