My kids have recently dubbed me the “queen of backup driving.” They were recently telling one of their friends, “its one of my moms secret talents” (teenagers can be so ridiculously funny). Just in case you are wondering how I got this so-called “prized title,” I’ll give you a brief visual.
So we’re headed down our one lane gravel road (already in a hurry), when someone in the car shouts, ” I forgot something.” I quickly assess the time and importance of the item left behind. If deemed important enough, I hurriedly flip the car into reverse. I then contort my body half way around in my seat, with my arm over the passenger seat-back. I speedily back up all the way down the road and back into our curved driveway in a straight and timeless fashion. Once stopped, I turn myself back around in my seat and am given a wild round of applause by the cars occupants.
Now I have to give credit where credit is due. I got my mad reverse driving skills from the excellent instruction I received as a teenager myself and was learning to drive. My instructor taught me a trick that has always stuck with me. He said, “Focus on something far in the distance and then drive toward that one thing.” It works like a charm every time.
The problem that most people have with reverse driving is that they are so focused on what is on both sides of their car as they reverse, that they swerve all over the place because they are driving towards their focus. It’s a focus factor… we tend to steer towards what our primary focus is.
When I was thinking about this driving scenario, and my newly esteemed title, I thought of the parallel that I have in my faith and daily walk with the Lord. While my kids may think I’m the queen of backup driving, I know I can often can get side-tracked and near-sighted in my walk with the Lord and often need to adjust my spiritual focus.
If my focus is not in the proper place (on the things of the Lord and giving him first place in my heart and life) then my reactions and emotions will be all over the place. Kinda like a driver not focusing on the road, swerving here and there. On the contrary, when I have a proper focus, then I experience alignment with God and the fruits that come with a right perspective such as love, joy and peace even in the midst of adverse circumstances.
Throughout the bible we are told to set our thoughts on things above, to keep our eyes on Jesus (the author and finisher of our faith). I think of the story of Peter getting out of the boat by keeping his eyes on Jesus (Matthew 14). When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water, but when Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink.
I can so relate to Peter’s here…we live in a world and times that are so distracting. It’s the enemy of our soul’s job to keep us focused on the wrong things. With so many distractions vying for our attention, we get caught up on the distraction of it all and in doing so we lose our joy and peace.
The enemies tactics are nothing new…if he can get us to focus on the wrong things, he’s got us just where he wants us. His whole goal is to keep us unsatisfied, unproductive, and in angst and worry about things we can’t control anyways (how silly is that?)
When we make circumstances or things our ultimate focus, or strive for the things of this life that we think will bring fulfillment, we are often aimless in a pursuit that will not bring lasting fulfillment. The bible says that those who want to save their lives will lose it, but whoever loses their lives for Christ sake, will find it (Matthew 16:25).
Pursuits for money, pleasure or personal fulfillment will only bring temporary satisfaction at most, but when we seek first the kingdom of god and his righteousness as spoke of in Matthew 6:33 (fulfilling God’s purposes and plans or our lives), the rewards that we gain are eternal. That why it’s so important for us to keep an eternal perspective and set our minds on “things above.”
Unless were anchored in Christ and keep our focus on him, were bound to drift and get off course. When the sailing of life is easy, its easy for us to lose our focus, but when the winds of trials are strong and the gale forces threaten to overtake us, our focus must be fixed on Jesus. He alone is the anchor in the storm and when we fix our eyes on him and not the circumstances surrounding us, he is the one who can bring us safely to shore.
Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG) So if your serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Hebrews 12:2 (MSG) Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he ever lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.