RE:FOCUS – Clear the Mechanism

>RE:FOCUS - Clear the Mechanism

Several years ago, we did an every-Monday blog series called RE:FOCUS that only lasted for about 5 weeks. I must have gotten sidetracked with something else, regrettably. So guess what? It’s time to start up again. As I grow older, I’m realizing more and more that going to church and having a regular quiet time are not the ONLY things that we need to be conscious of doing. Important, yes. But there is more. Life hits hard on Monday morning. When we hit the pavement, it’s essential that we have our focus correctly centered on Christ… and that we keep it there.

Focus is a hard concept to master. One of my favorite expressions is “clear the mechanism.”  I love baseball and I love movies, so when the two of them meet, it is pretty incredible!  In For Love of the Game, Kevin Costner is a pitcher who has the ability and discipline to get to a place where everything around him is completely blocked out.  Anytime the voices, people, criticism, noise, or even OUTSIDE thoughts get in the way, he reminds himself to “clear the mechanism.”  In this movie, you even see visually how he truly gets to a place of complete tunnel vision. Check out the short scene:

 

In our lives, there are so many distractions.  Our jobs can be difficult and stressful.  Relationships with co-workers, friends, neighbors, family, etc. can be hard.  Even “good” things in our lives can distract us from the true main thing… Our spouses & kids can distract us.  Housework can distract us.  “Church” can even distract us.  TV, facebook, internet, sports, music…. Must I go on?  Anything tangible in our lives can take the place of the One who should be our true focus.  Anything can become an idol.

My challenge to you and to me this week is to “clear the mechanism.”  Really take time every day to spend with God.  Not out of habit… or guilt… or as a chore.  Spend some real time developing the relationship between you and your Creator.  God is so good and He wants a relationship with us.  Not a relationship that is built from “what we have been taught all of our lives,” but a real, growing, thriving relationship with 2-way communication.  And remember, you don’t have to do all of the talking.  In your human relationships, if you do all of the talking, do you ever really get to know the other person?  Get to know Him.  Let Him talk to you.  And when those distractions come…. clear the mechanism.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:2-3

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Rediscovering Who I Am

You know the moment. You suddenly feel the world crumbling in on you and you feel completely alone. What do you do in that moment? Who hears from you?

God has surrounded me with amazing friends and family who are there when I need them. But those wonderful people all too often become a crutch for me. A place to lean. Friends I can see. I can hear. I can touch. This causes me to often turn to them, not to God.

The past few years have been a tough period for my family… filled with transition, pain, and working through thick strongholds that have felt smothering at times. In some of these times, I have felt completely alone. Many of the friends who so eagerly surrounded us before “seemed” to be non-existent.

In this darkness, I’ve pushed away the very tools God has given me to express worship. I’ve left my guitar in its case, even with music being the gift that draws me to Him like no other. I’ve been inconsistent with running, the world where my head gets clear and I can focus on His strength in me. And my fingers have not been striking the keys on this macbook like they have in the past. The writing has been put on the back burner… the very thing that allows me to process life.

I’ve been so distracted trying to fill the ache. Chasing after things that are just distracting me from the true calling in my life. The one I’ve known for a long time. Just feeling these words come off of my fingers and seeing them on the page makes my heart beat faster and makes me desire to feel alive in His presence again.

But God. Two of my favorite words in the Bible.

But God was trying to teach me something through the strange pain and loneliness. No matter how many times I’ve been told to “turn to Him, not others,” I needed to EXPERIENCE the feeling of having no one to turn to when I was hurting.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. – Psalm 62:1-2

God has been wanting me to stop looking out, and instead to look up. For once, to realize that when it feels no one else is here… HE. IS. So this morning I get it. This morning I accept. This morning I open my hands and my heart and ask Him to fill me with love and trust in Him ALONE.

With open hands & heart, silently hoping in Him… this is where I rediscover who I am.

So although we have a long way to go, I believe things are looking up because we’re looking up. I’m diving into God’s word, truly seeking to learn more about Him, and to learn more about who He wants me to be. And remember the ways I mentioned that I express worship? Music, running, and writing? They will not be kept on the back burner anymore. This girl has finally realized that turning to God is not just the “only thing left to do”…. it is the BEST thing to do.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. – James 4:8

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A Little About Me

I am a wife and mother who is passionate about Jesus and about simplifying things so that others may see Him in this crazy world we live in. God is teaching me what it means to grow where I am planted… to really live for Him. This blog is just a collection of my ramblings along the way.

We all struggle. We all have weaknesses. My desire is that this will be a place of transparency in a world that makes us think we need to be perfect. We all have a story. Here is a little of mine…

After 37 years, I finally came to the realization that God has given me a story to tell. Although I have made my own choices down the path of life, He has always known what those choices were going to be. My testimony is a GIFT that He wants to use as a blessing and encouragement to others. The place where I am “planted” is a true miracle, a clear example of what God can do in a life.

Why “grow where you’re planted”? God does not want us to run to try and find greener grass. If we are living for Him, within His will, we are to allow Him to use us right where we are. There was a time in my life when I thought I could find greener grass, and God set me straight. The goal for this blog is to be a continuous story of how we can grow and be used exactly where we are at any given time.

1 Timothy 1:16 says, “…I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.”

Now for the FUN stuff about me. I love spending time with my family and friends. With 3 kids 10 and under, I stay pretty busy! When I’m not busy wiping noses and trying to survive the hurricane that is our home, I love to get down to my artistic & athletic roots. Writing, designing, doing anything creative, playing the guitar, singing, running, golfing, watching baseball and college basketball… all of these things bring out the best in me (and the competitive side of me). One of my fun goals in life is to see a baseball game in EVERY stadium in America. I’m now at 7. 🙂 Oh! And did I mention that I love coffee??

So now that my serious stuff and fun stuff is out there for you all to read… let me sum it up by saying this: My life is very blessed. Not perfect… not by a long shot. But very blessed. And it would not be what it is without Jesus. If you do not know Him, I so desire for you to find Him here on these pages.