Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Out of focus

So, have you ever had one of those seasons when everything just seems like too much?  I feel like I am just drifting from one spot to another, just waiting for God to show up and do something.  This last week, I had the amazing experience of going to kids camp with the church's 3-5 graders.  It left me with a realization that I don't have to wait for God to show up.  He's already here.

I'm gonna rewind, and then fast forward.  I have felt incredibly overwhelmed over the last several months.  Life has gotten crazy and a little out of control.  A very kind woman gently reminded me a month ago to be careful what I choose to put in my box.  She explained with such sincerity that when I allow something in my life, I get to carry it around in this invisible box with me.  Obviously, my kids need to be in that box.  School (until the beginning of November!!) has to be in that box, as does work.  But, what else is in that box? 

In my do it all mindset, I have allowed things that should have been left out of my box inside my box.  I carry the weight of too many things pulling me in too many directions, stress and worry over things I have no control over, as well as the normal single momma junk.  My focus became incredibly blurred.  The last six weeks, I have been trying to determine what needs to stay in my box, and what I need to push out of my box.  My box is becoming lighter, though worry and doubt that I am keeping the right priorities keep trying to jump back in. 

So this last week, our Children's ministry at church took it to the mountain.  Literally.  We spent several days in the Smokies, running around, worshiping God, and learning more about who He is, and what He so longs to do for us.  Watching those kids hunger after Christ really made me evaluate where I am in life.  I realize I give my all when I feel like I need to.  Do I give my all when I am having a great day, feeling on top of it all?  Nope.  I give my all only after I've tried everything in my power to fix things.  And that is not what God wants.  He doesn't want my leftovers.  He wants it all.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  I want to know I can do it on my own.  I want to know I don't need someone to handle my problems.  I want to know I can handle the life I've been given, without help. 

So many times in life we are let down.  So many times, we ask or we want or we need something from another person, only to be completely disappointed and let down.  In those times, we learn to do it on our own.  I can't even count how many times I have said, with pride even, "I don't need       (fill in your blank here)       I can do it all on my own."  As parents, we want our children to do things for themselves.  We want them to succeed without our help.  God just isn't that way.  He wants us to realize we aren't weak or cowardly when we need His help or His intervention.  He just wants our all. 

Ok, so fast forward.  I had the fun job of driving three kids halfway back to their house last Saturday (about a 15 hour round trip).  I was completely lost in my thoughts and worries, allowing my focus to be on how enormous all of the struggles were, instead of the fact that God is so much bigger than all of those.  I felt overloaded and ready to give up.  Even remembering the things God has helped me from didn't feel enough.  Driving along I-40, I was pretty much surrounded by trucks.  I was just following along, driving with my head in the clouds.  There is no telling how long I was behind this guy, because for the longest time, this is what I saw:

*This photo has been edited...

Just a truck.  One of hundreds.  And, upon further speculation, I realized something.  Sitting in that car, trying to get myself focused enough on all of the issues in my life long enough to get them fixed and acceptable was just not going to work.  The more I focused on my life, and the silly things that add up to feel  like so much, I realized I was getting frustrated, sad, and overwhelmed.  My heart wanted to fix so many things that I have no control over.  And I just kept driving thinking. 

I wasn't concentrating on the road.  I wasn't concentrating on the fighting in the backseat.  I wasn't concentrating on the music on the radio.  I was concentrating on all of my frustrations.  I started praying that God would give me the peace and calmness I experienced at camp.  I thought about all of the kids who were giving their all, without question or doubt.  I started to quiet those crazy thoughts.  When I really started to focus on the fact that God's got it all, I realized the answer had been there all the time.  This is what I saw:

The answer had been there all along.  I was so oblivious to everything around me, I missed it completely.  This simple reminder has been in my mind all weekend.  When we are focusing on how crazy our lives are, we tend to miss the simple answer: Jesus.  Cause, really, He is all we need.  He knows our yesterdays.  He knows our todays.  And, what I find so encouraging, He knows our tomorrows.  He has the answers to all of it, even if the answer feels blurry or out of our grasp.  When our focus is on Him, all we have to do is just follow Him.  He will guide us to where we need to be.  

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