Mary K. Gamble
Is It Time to Shift Your Focus?
It’s the time of the year when the last of our fall decorations have been stored away in boxes, and now twinkling lights, pine trees, and collections of snowmen welcome the guests in our homes. While generally considered a cheerful time of the year, holiday seasons can also bring moments that are anything but peaceful. Excessive list-making, marathon baking, endless shopping, and poor sleeping habits can quickly result in exhaustion. Yet there are times during the chaos when hearing the faint melody of Joy to The World playing in the background of our minds can bring us hope again. If this scenario sounds familiar to you today, I want to encourage you to shift your focus.
We can see how society places such a tremendous focus on the calendar, ultimately suggesting how we should “feel” at certain times of the year. During the month of November, you may have felt challenged to be more thankful and giving, and now December is ushering in the Christmas holiday, with the secular world influencing us to spend, do and have more. But be prepared for January, the month of new beginnings and resolutions, where society will try to influence us to weigh less, have less (simplify your life ) and serve less (focus on you). To truly shift our focus, we need to be intentional about what we think about, how we spend our time, how we manage our finances, and ultimately, how we act and react in every situation. The overall tasks sounds pretty simple, but our minds are complex, and our reasoning process is easily influenced.
When I consider the complexity of the mind and the struggle it is to focus at times, the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that God, our wonderful loving Heavenly Father, is the magnificent creator of our complex minds. He created us with the astounding abilities to learn and be creative, and He lovingly gave us free will to allow us to choose what we focus on. Because He is such a faithful, caring Father, He did not leave us alone to figure everything out, but instead gave us directions in The Bible and sent the Holy Spirit to live within us to help us learn and to guide us.
In my opinion, analyzing thoughts as they enter our minds is the first step to being intentional in our daily lives. In Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) we are directed, “ Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. “ It is so easy to be distracted by the busyness of the world and lose the focus we need to have on God and His Word, but in Colossians 3:2 we are called to do the opposite by setting our minds on things above, rather than the earth.
I am sharing this message with you today because, in the busyness of my morning, God placed the words “shift your focus” on my heart. I have not yet heard the audible voice of God, but I thank Him daily for communicating with me through the Holy Spirit. I often find the words of Psalm 46:10 (Be still and know that I am God ) resonating in my heart and bringing peace to my mind, where the true battle for focus occurs. Yes, my friend, it is a battle we are in, but the good news is that we aren’t in it alone. God is right here with us, and when we shift our focus to Him, everything else will fall into place. Praise God for His grace and mercy that is tender and new every day, and the abundance of love and patience He has for us even when our focus is off.