Focus

berry focused

You’ve got a multitude of thoughts fighting for space. The voices are many and it’s hard to decipher one from the next; separate truth from lies; fact from fiction; evil from good. When every voice is speaking, overlapping one another, how do you know which one to listen to? Do you listen to the loudest or the softest? The most logical or the most insane? The most repetitive or the one that only speaks a time or two?

Sometimes, I find it easiest to do nothing; listen to no voice but that doesn’t mean they go away, nor does any problem get solved. Lately, I’ve been in an all-out battle with the voices of enemy. A cloud of gray, threatens to blanket the light of the truth. The truth about me, about my God, about my character, about my intentions, about my life and my future. This cloud hovers and swirls and rains and impedes what I know, trying to substitute it with what they think, what they say, what they feel.

 

The question is: Does it matter what everyone else thinks? Do you care about what the enemy really thinks of you? If you do, it would be of more benefit if you didn’t. He’ll just make up one lie after another until he can get you to believe one or all of them. This is a daily fight and anyone can be used to project these lies onto the movie screen of your life. Believe it or not, you have a choice. You can absorb these words or replace them with the word of God. It’s not an easy thing to do. In fact, I found myself awake around four a.m. one morning, struggling to silence the lies swirling around my head. I pulled out my phone and opened the Bible app, searching for a scripture that would eat up the falsehoods that plagued me. It took me nearly an hour to find it. Meanwhile, I tripped and stumbled over one verse and then another, finding others that spoke to me, even though I wasn’t looking for them.

Wicked people and liars have attacked me. They tell lies about me, and they say evil things about me, attacking me for no reason. They oppose me, even though I love them and have prayed for them. They pay me back evil for good and hatred for love. Psalm 109:2-5 GNT

While the wicked slander me and tell lies about me. They surround me with hateful words and fight against me for no reason. I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them! They repay evil for good, and hatred for my love. Psalm 109:2-5 NLT

This verse of scripture put into perspective what was happening but it didn’t change the words that had been said, the names I’d been called. Nor did it make them disappear. It only identified them. I have to remember what God says about me, who He says I am. I have to focus on Christ and His words.

“You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse…”  Philippians 4:8 MSG

 As much as I’d like to tell you that the process is simple, it isn’t, but I found a way to divert the negatives. There’s a song I love called: “Fix My Eyes” by, for King & Country. The first time I heard it, I danced. The second time, I cried. The refrain is simple. It says: “I’ll fix my eyes on you.” You meaning, Christ. Other words of the song that resonated with me were: “Love like you’re not scared.” We’ve all seen that little haiku that says: Love like you’ve never been hurt. The sentiment is sweet but for some reason, the words, Love like you’re not scared, struck a chord with me. Even more, the next words made me weep. “Give when it’s not fair.” Seriously? Who does that? What a way to turn generosity on its head. To give of yourself when it’s not fair, I feel, is quite a radical choice to make. We’ve all given, at some point, out of our surplus, or when made us ‘feel’ a particular way. However, to (on purpose) give to someone who ‘doesn’t deserve’ the gift, is extreme. It’s basically choosing to take the bum deal, the short straw, the disadvantage. I’ve got two words for you: Radical Grace. That is what God gives us on a daily basis. A grace that overrides anything we’ve done or could do. He gives it to us all the time, be it fair or not. I dare you to try that. No, really, I dare you! If you’re brave enough to give of yourself in conscious unfairness, I’d love to hear about your experience. Share it in the comments section.

 If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. Luke 6:32-34 MSG

If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them? And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. Luke 6:32-34 NLT

This song—those few words, at least—have been on a constant loop in my head. Even though I hadn’t heard the song for weeks, it played (and still does) in my subconscious. When the untruth begins to whir and yell, I hum the lyrics and the lies are pushed aside. I focus my thoughts as much as I can on Christ, on what he’s instructed me to do, on the reminders he’s sent as a reward for my obedience.

Instead of honing in on the pain of I feel, I train my eyes on the prize. Christ is the prize and if I am in constant recollection, spewing a never-ending rehash of events, thinking of how or why this “happened to me,” there’s no way I will ever see the goal of the Almighty, much less meet him at the podium where he’s storing my rewards.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We           are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.                                2Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT

So, I’m fixing my eyes on him. I’m sharpening my focus. I’m blurring the lines between love and hate so that enemy can’t tell the difference. He just may fall into my Love Pit and find himself covered in the love of Jesus. Let’s concentrate on one thing at a time. When it feels like too much, (you can stop, it’s okay), reset and hang out with Jesus for a while. He’ll enjoy your company. Besides, he’s pro-rest anyway!

~Signed

The Trained Eye

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