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Sharpen My Focus

Im blind. Ok not literally. However, once at an eye exam my Dr. said “ Whoa, you’re not blind but you wouldn’t know if you were waving to a cute or ugly boy in the hallway”. I was well aware how bad my vision was and of course still is. I imagine if they hadn’t invented special thin lenses my glasses would be too heavy for my face. Luckily I got contacts in the 9th grade and haven’t looked back. The issue is I’m really nearsighted. I can see things that are super close but move it a foot away and my eyes are useless. My spiritual life is a lot the same. The further I am from the Lord, the more blurry things get. Now the issue isn’t some retinal dysfunction. It’s usually distractions. It’s so easy to get distracted. There are so many things vying for our attention in this world. It can start as soon as I wake up. My phone is on one side of my table and my Bible and journal is on the other side. Now you know those photos I posted late last night have some comments by now on social media right. Or the group message chat may have something new to say. I’ve been up for 2 minutes and I’m already getting distracted. The other day I sent my daughter upstairs to make her bed. A few minutes later she came back downstairs with broken decorations from her room, in her hand. “What happened?” I asked “ Well, I was looking at it hanging from my fan and hitting it a little to make it move and I accidentally pulled it off”. I then proceeded to ask if her bed ever got made. You know the answer. She got distracted. She went upstairs with a specific goal but she let her eyes wander and completely forgot the original plan. That’s what distraction does, it makes our vision blurry. We can’t remember why we started in the first place.

In Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him in the boat to cross the sea. It says Jesus went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Can I just insert here a moment that you will find Jesus intentionally making time to pause and seek alone time with the Father throughout the gospels. There would have been more than enough to keep Him occupied or distracted even before social media days. When evening came the boat was already quite far from Him. Verses 26 to 33 Jesus walks to them on water. At first they were scared and I can’t exactly blame them for this. They thought maybe He was a ghost. In their culture, although they were fishermen by trade and quite comfortable with boats, the sea was an eerie place especially at night. There was so much misconception about the sea, its depths and power. Jesus spoke “Take heart, It is I, don’t be afraid.” Peter said “ Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” He said ‘Come”. (Now I’m taken back a minute. IF?? IF it is you. Who else do you know that may know where you are and be walking on water? But again, grace, Erica. God has to reveal himself to me time and time again). Peter gets out of the boat and walks on water towards Jesus. However, Peter saw the wind and became afraid and started to sink. Peter got distracted. His vision got blurry. Jesus was RIGHT in front of him.

I want to say I’m Jesus every time in this passage. I’d love to pretend I am continuously choosing quiet time with God over being distracted but the fact is I’m more like Peter in this story than I’d like to be. God has given you and I a purpose, but this world is right infront of me and I’m nearsighted. There were a string of days I was feeling the emoji “meh.” I had more on my schedule than needed and I was focused on all the wrong outcomes. I was shorter tempered, more irritated and spiritually dry. I was distracted. I had let my focus shift. I was more concerned with performance, production and others expectations than I was with my call to love others well. To be quick to listen, to be slow to anger, slow to speak and really ABIDING in the word. Sure I was reading my Bible every morning but , it was more like James 1 :24 “For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like”. I wasn’t sitting in it long enough for it to transform my atmosphere and heart to fuel my day to love others well. I would put it down, put it away and change lenses. Photography is fun. I know a little but not a whole lot about it. I have a camera that I like to play with. What I can tell you is to get a good picture it relies on illumination. You pick your focus and decide how to illuminate it for the best result. Do you change the aperture? ISO? Shutter Speed? To be honest I get lost in it. But I do know that if you want to focus on the main thing you blur the rest. Are your distractions the main thing? Is what Jesus has called you to become blurry? This world has so many people, things, events, causes, projects, jobs and expectations to keep you distracted and busy for a lifetime. I have spoken the honest prayer of “Jesus, I feel lost and overwhelmed, I’m not sure what I need to do, please guide me and give me discernment over what I’m doing. Let my days, decisions, obligations and service be Holy Spirit lead and kingdom minded driven”. Depending on the season, I have to readjust my lens many times a day. Like a blurred camera lens I need the Spirit to put my mind/eyes in clear focus of Jesus Christ because on my own it gets fuzzy. HE is the one who can truly realign my heart.

  1. Are you in a place you feel clearly led to and walk in step with the spirit or is it more like you’re looking around wondering how you got here?

  2. How do you feel right now? Frazzled? Depressed? Lost? Joyful? Feelings can be deceitful but they can be warnings.

  3. Make a list of what is on your plate, are any of these unnecessary or unwise distractions? Can you rearrange them?

A few verses I love as a heart check.

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5: 7
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, FOLLOWING THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:1-3

To me this verse speaks so much to the reality that this world is strongly going one way and it would require intentionality to pause and take a look to make sure you weren’t just following course.

Erica lives in Southern Illinois with her husband of 18 years and their 3 kids. She loves Jesus, all things homeschool, coffee, podcast, reading God’s word, camping, crafting, writing, hiking, any sweet treat, and watching her kids play outside with the animals. Her favorite Psalm is 139 because she loves the way it points us to the heart of God and his immense love for you.

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