Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Out of Focus?

When I am trying to get that special shot... that one precious photo... I want a nice, clear focus. What good is that picture if it is all blurry? (Unless we want the blur for art purposes, I suppose) If I thought I had taken that photo and captured it “just right”, then developed it to find that it was blurred, I'd be disappointed! My days are like those photos. If my life is out of focus, my day isn't what I had hoped for. I need time with God in prayer and reading His Word in order to bring my day into focus. I need to put in place what God wants in my life... His Spirit... and the Spirit's fruit: peace, joy, love, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. You cannot fake that fruit. It is either there or it isn't. If I am not pursuing God and striving for the Spirit's fruit, my daily life is both fruitless and out of focus.

A couple weeks before Christmas I misplaced my glasses. I remember seeing them in the center console of the car. Then they just weren't there. Scott detailed the inside of the car and still no glasses. I thought they would turn up around the house. They didn't. These are tri-focals and quite necessary for reading. They also greatly improve my basic vision and I miss them every day! I had not realized how important those glasses were... how details are now missing... edges are blurred... I can see “okay”, but, life is definitely out of focus.

Yesterday I got to thinking about how out of focus my spiritual life has been. Some very “big” things have been going on in the parenting arena, requiring a lot of energy and attention. I have become quite distracted and irritated. I have resented having to take so much time to deal with parenting. I have been angry, have held onto that anger and have been unforgiving. And that has had an impact on who I am. Instead of being a mom with a soft answer, I have been easily bothered and routinely frustrated... short and snappy. Instead of taking all these cares to God, I kept doing the next thing. Life has been out of focus externally and internally. I knew all along that I was choosing to stay frustrated. I knew all along that I needed to forgive my child and turn on the love. I knew that I was ignoring more meaningful time with God because I didn't want to be loving. And I knew that God would lead me straight to forgiveness and love. Because I've wandered on this path before...

“God? He keeps doing the same wrong things over and over!” And I feel the answer... as if God is saying, “And you don't?” Ouch. “Yes, God. I do wrong things over and over.” And I know what is next... God lets me know, “I forgive you every time.” And I know that I need to forgive. Like I have been forgiven.

I suppose I resist this because there's that part of me that wants justice... it wants payment... it wants to be compensated for being wronged! And that works out fine a lot of the time when parents teach their child that they have a consequence. But, deeper than that is my attitude... “He's just going to do this again...” And, yes, he very well might. But, what about me? Am I so different than that?

Isn't it just incredible to realize that man wronged God and God did require justice and a payment... and provided that for us, instead of requiring us to pay for our own justification?  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned...” John 3:16-18a

After confessing the anger and receiving encouragement from others to get back on track and put God first in my day, life looks a bit more focused. I still have some challenging things to work through, but with God's help and the self-discipline of prayer and devotion I can be the person I know I should be... the kind mom... the soft answer mom... the fun mom... I was extremely blessed to be able to order another pair of glasses yesterday. Now I eagerly wait for both the physical and the spiritual to get in focus! It's been a bit blurry lately up here... seven steps up...

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