Now part of this are the number of details in life that we are juggling, and part of it is that usually our attention is someplace else when people are talking to us. But I know that there is a focus issue that I need to work on. There is a guarding of my thoughts so that I don’t go down futile rabbit trails.
When I think about my focus, sometimes the thing I need to guard isn’t only the topic of my thoughts, but the direction of my thoughts on that topic. Recently there was a situation that caused me to question motives, caused me to start down a negative road of thoughts about an individual whenever the situation came up.
About a week ago, I randomly read the following scripture, and when I looked at my Facebook memories for that day, I had read the same scripture exactly 4 years earlier.
God is so faithful to remind me to keep my focus on the good things, the good aspects, the noble things in people and situations. What does this scripture say?Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which …transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” -Philippians 4:6-8
It tells us NOT to be anxious, but to pray about every situation. It tells us that THEN the peace of God will guard our hearts. It tells us that this is something that bypasses our understanding and goes straight to the heart. Then this passage tells us to focus (think) on what is true, noble and right. To focus on the good.
I don’t believe this speaks of a cheap grace, but rather of approaching matters and people through the lens of Christ. It allows us to love and to extend grace. It allows us to give any hurt or defensiveness over to God because we are trusting Him to guard us. It is allowing ourselves to walk in the ability to extend grace, and to receive grace.
When we focus on the good in others. It brings things that could come across as hurtful or offensive, into points of prayer, opportunities for compassion, opportunities to extend grace. Grace – isn’t that what God is constantly extending to us?
I love this quote from Ann Voskamp. When we focus on God, on what He would focus on, we can respond in grace. We can give grace. We can receive grace. That is what opens others up to us for true relationship. It’s unexpected. It isn’t common in today’s world and usually does shock.
When we put our focus where it should be, when we allow prayer to be our outlet for things that concern us, our hearts and minds are safe. When we keep our focus, we can move forward instead of getting stuck in the muck of life. We can walk in grace, trusting that Love has our back.
So, as thoughts on situations, concerns, bombard me, I’m reminded once again today to keep my focus. Therein lies my peace. Today I will focus on the good and allow God’s peace to cover me.