“Your focus determines your direction.”
You’ve probably heard that saying before, but have you ever really paused, considered and applied it in your life? There’s profound truth in that little bitty statement. The Bible says it this way, “As a man thinks so shall he be.” What we think about, pour our energy into, meditate on, and direct our focus to tend to increase in our lives.
Let me give you an example from my own life. I've spent the better part of my life a little miffed with God about my nose. Yes, my nose. I simply don't like it. I'm deeply dissatisfied with it. It presents an unreasonable obstacle to noticing my overall beauty. When I look in the mirror, or my reflection, or at pictures of myself, it's all I'm able to see. My focus on one perceived flaw blinds my ability notice any other good, any other beauty. It sounds silly, but if we're honest, how often in life do we do this? In our marriage, in our circumstances, in our appearance, our healthy journey, our view of the world, even our view of God? We may be absolutely wrapped up in blessings and beauty, but because we are laser focused on one perceived struggle, flaw or fault we are literally unable to see them. The answer the Lord spoke to my heart on this matter was simply two words. He said, "Notice differently."
I’m still working on getting better at putting it into practice, but I can confidently tell you this - the key to contentment is found in what you notice, what you focus on.
Scripture provides example after example of the importance of being intentional about what we notice and focus on.
Here are some examples from scripture:
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
“Fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest” (Hebrews 3:1).
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2)
Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. (Proverb 4:25)
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. (Psalm 101:3)
How would your life be different if you made a conscious decision to notice differently?
Instead of noticing what you'd desperately like to change, alter, and improve about your appearance, notice differently. Notice what you like. Notice what's strong. Notice what's stunning. Notice what God sees when He sees you!
Instead of focusing on that number on the scale, or the tag in your jeans, notice differently. Instead of counting the number of workouts you missed and days you wish you’d done “better”, notice differently. Notice the small improvements. Notice the successes. Notice the wins instead of rehashing the losses. Notice your effort. Notice your desire.
Instead of stewing and swirling inside over everything wrong and maddening about your relationships, notice differently. Notice the good. Notice what IS working well.
Instead of wondering if there's decency and kindness left in the world, notice differently. Notice the heroes and the happy endings.
And, instead of wondering where God is in the midst of turbulent times. Instead of indulging in cynicism and doubt, wondering if He's really going to do and be all He promises, notice differently. Notice the potential for change and hope for renewal found in the newness of a morning sunrise. Notice the lives spared, not lost. Notice even the faintest whisper that says, "It's going to be ok."
Friends, if you've been feeling stuck, discontent, discouraged or like you’re drowning in despair, will you try with me? Today, will you put on new lenses and notice differently? It may just change everything.
Father God, thank you for giving us clear sight. Lord, we ask you today to help us to see differently. Please help us to notice anew the blessings in our lives. Where there are obstacle in our lives that block our ability to see beauty in ourselves and others, we ask you to remove them. Where despair and discouragement have replaced hope, we ask you to give us new ability to see potential and renewal. Help us to look at life through eyes of grace. Please give us the strength to notice the good when the bad tries to take center stage. Will you help us to grow in our ability to dwell on our blessings and as we do so cause deeper levels of contentment to rise up within us? Lord, we want to notice differently starting today. Our focus determines our direction and our thoughts become who we are and how we live. Overwhelm us with your presence as we determine to be a people focused on you Lord. We thank you for Who you are and we offer this as a prayer of sacrifice and thanksgiving in Jesus name. Amen.