Focus | Wrds From Above
Encouragement for the one who may be feeling discouraged in their walk feels unable to finish the task laid before them or is searching for clarity and vision.
As I write this, I definitely have final papers to complete and turn in...
but I just needed to take a moment and share this with you.
I started writing this post when the grass was hidden underneath piles of snow, trees were unapologetically bare, and skies a different hue of blue, (it was January for those of y'all that can't stand my poetic nature, haha!).
Now I look out my window and notice God taking his time as he so skillfully, and strategically dresses the trees, according to the slight and slow weather shifts; because not all the trees are fully dressed yet (thank you climate change -__- ). While the same grass that was once hidden, maybe even protected, has now proudly emerged as green beneath my feet. It's May.
So, why did it take me so long to write this blog post, or to at least publish it? Well, so many excuses and valid reasons come to mind, It's embarrassing. Have you ever experienced that? Someone asked if we've done something yet, and instead of just saying "no, not yet" we list all the excuses for why we haven't...and they're valid, but the problem is that they don't get the task done any sooner. I've found, that it also trains my mind to grow comfortable in that reality of "No, I didn't do it yet".
A more specific answer I now can say to the question above is this: I focused on the wrong things.
F O C U S.
I'm sure you're familiar with this term; the center of, or even the main point, is its official definition
but let's dig a little deeper. In the film or photography world, the word FOCUS is in reference to the sharpness of an image. What does this mean? An image's sharpness is dependent on many factors, but one of the main factors that I'm most drawn to, is what happens to an image when both the foreground and background are equally in focus. The image becomes clearer, giving the audience a wider scope of reference.
In Film, when referencing the background, it is seen as the area or scenery behind the main object of "focus". The foreground is the part of the image that is nearest to the observer. When both the foreground and background begin to come into alignment with each other, the focus shifts into a sharper view, thus allowing for you and me to see not only the whole picture but the picture clearly.
There is so much power in focusing on both the foreground and the background of our lives, the people around us, our purpose, etc, but perspective is just as important here. With a focus on both the foreground and the background, we have to be mindful of, what or who we choose to see and what may be keeping us from even seeing, to begin with.
This all impacts our viewing experience and how we see the background and foreground of the different areas of our lives.
What is it that keeps us from actually having the ability to FOCUS?
If you would've asked me a couple of months ago, what I need prayer for, I would have said boldly and plainly, " Focus, please pray for my focus".
"I was made a prisoner of procrastination, doubt, fear, fear of man, unfruitful relationships, anxiety, idolatry, addictions, and so much more".
A lot of the time though, I was very focused. When I look back retrospectively and think about my life, for example, one of the main differences between the Nicole Bethany of 2019 and 2020, is not whether or not I was focused. Rather, it was where and what I chose to give my focus to and what or who I allowed to hold my attention captive. I was made a prisoner of procrastination, doubt, fear, unfruitful relationships, anxiety, idolatry, lust, addictions, and so much more. I allowed these things to captivate my attention and become my point of reference for how I saw the world around me. My lens was in focus when it came to my ideas, my desires, and my insecurities, but all the while out of focus on the promises of God, His desires, His ideals, His love, and most importantly Him.
When I realized this, I desired a change here, so I had to begin praying differently (I share this prayer with you at the end of this post). After this, the lenses on my cameras, perspective, and focus, began to shift.
Who or what has been holding your focus captive.
What or who is captivating (insert your name) 's attention and how is this person, place, or possibly thing, distorting your view of the background and foreground of the life God has for you right now, for your calling, and to bring Him glory? I know for me, it's easier to focus on the what if's or excuses as I talked about earlier, but can we be real? We also tend to focus on our mess-ups, the sin in our lives, our humanity, social media, etc. When we do this though, those things become our point of reference for our lens and can distort the way we see both the background and foreground of our lives. If you find yourself in cycles of sin, hurt, worry, procrastination--your attention may be captivated elsewhere.
For this blog, what kept me from writing and publishing, was my focus on how the rest of my site is not ready, the fact that I always have so much homework, yada yada yada. Again, all valid, but my focus on those "valid points" was unfortunately not helping me finish the blog post.
When I focus my eyes on Jesus, I am able to see more clearly, the foreground and background of my life.
How can we see this WHOLE picture?
Friend, there is no way we will ever be able to see the WHOLE picture of our lives. Do you know how overwhelming that would be? God, is such a good father, so he reveals the picture bit by bit because he knows his children (i.e Nicole Bethany and company), will bug out otherwise! LOL. He reveals things not based on what we can handle (because I don't know about you, but there is nothing about God I have the capacity to handle lol), but based on our obedience, our heart posture towards the current areas he has us focusing on, our spiritual maturity and understanding, growth and with that, what he has equipped us for next.
There are certain secrets that God, being so awesome, so perfect, and loving has the authority to keep from us, and that's for our good, even if that doesn't sound good lol! But there are certain secrets he desires to share with you, and these are found in relationship and intimacy with him, as you spend time with him. Every time I am in His presence, studying scripture, worshipping with music, listening to a sermon, I feel like my eyes are being operated on. When I finish, I feel like I just went to the eye doctor and got new pair of glasses. A new fresh perspective.
23 May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body - and keep you fit for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Don't just wait for Easter, Christmas, New Years Day, or Sunday to get your eyes checked out...I believe this should be a daily occurrence. I invite you if you don't already, to believe in Jesus and spend time with him daily, to see the WHOLE picture. He loves you, and It's he who makes you whole, and that's the wholeness I desire to see. To see myself as whole, the way in which God intended and created me to be.
What if I already do have a relationship with Jesus...but still feel like I can't see?
A lot of us believe in Jesus, but we're not really following him. Yeah, I know...that's a tough one for me to read too. In order to follow Jesus, we have to keep our focus on Him and trust in his pacing and timing.
The beautiful discovery I am making in life right now, is that when we focus our eyes on Jesus, he directs us on what we should focus on around us, and sets our pace accordingly.
Y'all are quickly going to learn, I am a music nerd. I am always thinking about music and getting musical downloads in my head, it's the way God wired me, haha. As I think about focusing, I think about the song "Most Beautiful/So in Love" by Maverick City Music. There's a part that says, "With Just one look, everything changes, I'm captivated, I'll never be the same...with just one look."
We focus on people or things we love. Sometimes, we don't realize what we give our attention to the most, exposes how much we love it, even if it's not good for us. But with just one look...he can captivate your attention if you let him.
The secret to seeing the background and foreground of your life is to fall in love with Jesus, the holder of your life. To come to the knowing and understanding of this simple truth, that we love him because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Jesus had to have been captivated by us, focused on us, to sacrifice his life for us.
"With Just one look, everything changes, I'm captivated, I'll never be the same...with just one look.
- Most Beautiful, Maverick City Music
What is it that you are trying to complete, or get through today, this month, or this year?
Your own blog post?
A YouTube channel you're supposed to start?
That application you're supposed to fill out?
Whatever your IT is, to get through it, your eyes need a fresh perspective from heaven. Before you focus on them, I invite you, to focus on him. Prayer is the beginning of this shift, to FOCUS. Here's a prayer that is helping me, I pray it helps you and grows your desire to simply be captivated by him, for everything you do.
Wrd From Above:
Focus your eyes on me, child, and not only will I give you rest, but I will also give you clarity, comfort, and peace.
Thank you for being captivated by me, Jesus, and showing this public display of focus and attention, by taking my place, and dying on the cross for me.
Help me to be captivated by you, your beauty, truth, and love. I desire to see the big picture of what YOU see in my life, not just the temporal situation of what might be causing me to be anxious, fearful, or stagnant. Jesus, please open my eyes and give me a supernatural lens of focus on you, so that my eyes can be guided, gracefully on the things you are calling me to put my attention on in this season.
Help me to keep my eyes on you, and not get overly captivated with the things presented in front of me, so that I am sensitive to when you are asking my lens to shift, or transition.
Please, help my mind and heart to desire focus in areas you've graced me to focus on in THIS season.
Help me to remember that I am constantly walking in purpose every time my eyes are on you.
Help me to grow comfortable looking up, believing you'll guide my footsteps accordingly.
Jesus, be in the foreground and the background of my life and help me to trust that you are there. Sharpen the lens of my eyes in those moments it may not LOOK or FEEL like you are there.
In Jesus' name, amen.