The other day I was driving down the road and I realized that I was struggling to keep my car in the middle of my lane. I had a lot on my mind, but I felt like I was having to give more brain power than normal to keep centered as I was going down the road. As I slowly, yet consistently, bounced from center line to edge line I began to get frustrated. I thought to myself, “I’ve been driving far too many years to be struggling like this!” Then it hit me!! In the midst of my thought-burdened mind I had lost focus on what was ahead of me… my eyes were not focused far enough in front of me.
When I think back to before I got my driver’s license… all those hours of setting in driver’s education classes… all those hours of driving with my parents in the passenger seat… all of those uncomfortable hours spent in the driver’s education car with an instructor. I remember the one thing that I struggled with the most. It was the ability to keep my eyes focused far enough down the road in front of me and relying on my peripheral vision to keep the vehicle within my lane. See my tendency was to focus on the center and edge lines just in front of the vehicle and then use my side mirrors to look at the lines behind me to ensure that I was in fact where I needed to be. For my analytical mind it seemed like a pretty decent strategy… since the goal was to not go left of the center line and not go right of the edge line I figured the best strategy was to watch those boundaries so that I knew when I needed to make a correction. I found that it was a struggle to keep the vehicle within the lines when I did this… I would constantly be heading for one line or the other… never able to stay pointed in direction of my intended path. When my focus turned towards the center or edge lines, my brain would naturally cause my hands to steer the vehicle towards that line… the very one that I was focusing on in order to avoid. Eventually, my dad started to notice what I was doing and asked me where I was focusing my eyes. So I told him my strategy. He then told me that my main focus should be down the road ahead of me… set on the center of my lane just above the horizon line. With my eyes focused ahead, he told me that my peripheral sight would naturally allow my brain to execute the appropriate steering corrections to keep me centered in my lane. When I became comfortable with this strategy it was amazing how easy it was to remain in my lane with little to no focus on the boundaries.
All these years later and there I was focusing on the boundaries, without even noticing, and struggling with the task of driving… something I feel like I have a pretty good handle on! After I turned my eyes back to the proper focal point, my mind began thinking about another area in my life where my current focus is crucial in guiding me down a desired path… my daily walk with the God of the Universe.
As I look back on my life I realize just how screwed up my focus has been, and still is, when it relates to living like my Creator intended. The pathway that I am journeying down… the road that I am traveling on… is this LIFE. It represents my past, my present, and my future… where I’ve been, where I find myself right now, and where I am going. The boundaries on either side of the path… the center and edge lines along the road… are the SINS that so easily entangle me. Contacting them or crossing over them will either lead to some very bumpy, uncomfortable situations or will put me at risk of a collision that is going to hit harder than I can handle on my own. The sole focus of my life… the focal point centered down the road ahead of me just above the horizon line… is JESUS. When my attention is on Him, the temptations in my life have less ability to pull me into sin… when my thoughts are focused on Him, it is easier to keep my journey pointed towards my desired destination.
At a young age, I was introduced to the concept of a Biblical World view through my parents and Sunday school teachers. So early on in life, I knew what was considered right and wrong. I knew what it meant to be a good person. I was taught to follow the rules and in order to do that I was told exactly what not to do. The way I shaped my actions was to do the opposite of what was wrong. I didn’t really focus on what was pure, holy, and righteous… I focused on what was corrupt, evil, and deceptive and I just made sure that I didn’t do those things. As a result, just like when I was learning to drive, I’ve found that my tendency, thus far, has been to focus on the boundaries and not the goal ahead. Instead of keeping my eyes on the Author and Perfecter of my faith, I fix my sight on the things in my life that are in direct opposition to Him. This is definitely not how my heavenly Father intended for me to live this life.
If I am truly honest with myself there are a couple different ways that this shows up in my life and each one can have a negative impact on my walk with Christ…
TO BE CONTINUED…