Monday, June 13, 2011

Focus, Mom - Focus!

I kicked the bay quarter horse into a canter and turned him toward the first fence. He thudded across the arena, flicking up clumps of wet sand. His jumping style was not smooth, and my primary intent was to stay on board. I was never an outstanding rider, just another girl with a passion for horses.

“Look where you’re going!” screamed my red-faced instructor, as we lurched awkwardly over the fence.
I thought I was, I rejoined silently; but one didn’t answer back, even if one didn’t understand. I had no idea she meant look at the next fence you’ll be jumping.

A well-schooled horse follows the direction of the rider’s eyes. It’s partly because the tilt of the rider’s head effects the balance of both horse and rider. Similarly, our spiritual condition follows our focus. Each day, we are heading towards either growth and victory or confusion and defeat. It’s all about our focus.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things,” instructs Paul in Philippians 4:8.  Our focus, of course, is determined by our thoughts. If you’re like me, your thoughts can weave you into a pretty tight slump. This is a constant battle for some of us.

The other day, I read a horrifying article about the growing problem of parent abuse by teens in the UK, facilitated partly by laws that undermine parental authority. It was heartbreaking. After that, I read two news stories about situations that must have triggered unimaginable levels of grief. Then I took my daughter and her friend to choir practice.

The parking lot near the church has only one meter, and several people were lined up to pay. To my amazement, the young European man behind me casually stepped in front of me, ostensibly to read the rates sign. Then, turning his back to me, he remained in position, overtly taking my place in line. I might have missed something. Maybe I inadvertently cut him off as we walked across the parking lot? Whatever his motives, he was clearly determined to have his way. I did not say anything for one reason: he was bigger than I am. And I sensed that he wouldn’t mind  wielding that advantage.

That night, I was depressed. The climate of our world was really getting to me. I did not see much hope and I felt defeated, even worthless. I decided to read my Bible anyway.

“Live as children of light… Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs… Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord… Husbands, love your wives… Children, obey your parents…” (from Ephesians 5 and 6). God did not leave us alone down here, abandoning us to the consequences of sin. He guides us along the way of peace and love, empowering us to live differently. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)

At first, I wasn’t sure why I felt so uplifted after reading these passages. Then it dawned on me that God had changed my focus. Instead of looking at the terrible results of rejecting God’s ways, I had remembered Jesus.

When we focus on Biblical truth, God lifts us out of fear and hopelessness. It’s true that we see a lot of tragedy, sadness, and brokenness. But God doesn’t want this to consume our thoughts. He wants us to focus on Him. When we do, we’re empowered to reach out, sharing His hope with others.


9 comments:

  1. HIS tender mercies were certainly in your behalf...how simple it is for the Lord to work with the humble...you are great!

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  2. I'm often overwhelmed with despair too as the crime rates here go up,as the different races and religion here mouth threats to each other, sometimes I fear too, esp for my children. butyou are right, we've to focus on HIm.

    So I try hard now to instill this in my children, to trust in HIm..and hope they'll remember when it comes time for them to stand ontheir own.

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  3. I'm following you via voiceBoks! Hope you'll stop by and follow me too...have a wonderful day!

    By the way, if you're interested, I host the Be-Bop-A Blog Hop on Wednesdays.

    http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/

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  4. Love this post! God does guide us, and he expects us to help each other remember. I think today he pushed me in your direction, because I needed to remember these things. Thank you! I am here from voiceBoks. I followed via GFC. Hope you get a chance to come visit me too.
    http://klcmaher-themorethemerrier.blogspot.com

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  5. Thanks, everyone! I'm glad this post was helpful. Martha, it sounds like you're a wonderful mom. I'm sure your children will internalize what you're teaching them. Peace!
    Lisa

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  6. Focus is what I need at the moment...what with the slew of distractions around...so thank you for writing this post...

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  7. Public civility seems at an all time low - if you sensed the large young man wouldn't respect a woman's physical space you were almost certainly right.

    Isn't using size and strength to intimidate the definition of a bully? I feel like it must be the sign of serious breakdown in basic relationships. Recently a man on Hubpages wrote such nasty comments on one of my hubs, denigrating female anatomy and female intellect - and what I thought first was, "How can any man treat a woman this way? He must have a mother. Did his mother abuse him? Abandon him? Did he end up hating her for some reason?" I sent a copy of his messages to the administrators, and he was banned from Hubpages. But I just find it sad things have come to this pass.

    Peace and respect between male and female is so valuable. All of society suffers when that leaves.

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  8. Right, Kathleen. I'm sorry to hear about your experience on HubPages. I've seen some horrible stuff online too.
    Our culture has long been on the decline. We have far too much in common with ancient Rome, with its cruelty, harshness, and immorality. And daily we seem more determined to go the whole way. I believe it starts with a rejection of God's Word.
    It's wonderful to know that God is on the throne, working out His plan. He will bring us through and use us to share His love as we follow Him.

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  9. Thank you for such an uplifting and inspiring post. I needed it today!
    Christina

    Visit me at Spilled Milkshake

    Visiting from voiceBoks!

    ♥ xoxo

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