In the second grade, I discovered the American Girl books. I was utterly enthralled. I was so captivated, in fact, that I vividly recall sitting at my desk amongst my classmates and finally tearing my eyes away from the page only to notice that all of my classmates had their heads down on their desks.
Many of their eyes staring at my unintentional defiance, when really I had been fawning over Felicity and was entirely oblivious to the teacher’s instruction. The class had been rowdy earlier that day and the entire group had been sentenced to this punishment prior to recess. I was so super-focused, though, that Felicity and her antics held my entire attention and I was unconscious of anyone else’s actions or instructions.
While I certainly don’t want to take the analogy too far, I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I were as super-focused on God, His Word, and His will for my life. We certainly need to submit to governing authorities and pay special attention to the needs of those around us, but how much more clearly could I learn and grow in my faith, and tune into His will for my life if I was entirely unconcerned with what the world thought I should be doing with my life.
Am I keeping up with the Jones's, ahead or behind in retirement planning, paying as much attention to my children's or my own academic, social, or physical development?
If I could super-focus on only exactly what God wanted me to be doing at every single moment, the most important thing right here, right now, how would my life change?
I don't think it has to mean career changes, possession purging, or other drastic measures. Sometimes, often even, it will be the most important thing and God's will for my moment that I change that diaper, fill a sippy cup, or get some sleep. But it may also mean giving more generously, taking more risks, and being a light to rather than a competitor of the Joneses.
Each new moment would be a fresh start, a firm step off the wide path and on a new adventure with no map and no crowd to follow.
When a new year is approaching I tend to find myself mentally planning for the journey of the year ahead. Sometimes I set goals and make plans, bracing myself for the busier seasons, and trying to remain optimistic while feeling pressure to live up to expectations I've set for myself. It can begin to feel heavy.
It can also tempt me to put both confidence and pressures on myself, as if it's my own efforts that will allow me to accomplish my goals, and my strengths, planning, and persistence that will be celebrated should I succeed.
How would I live each day differently if it were not a long, slow journey, but a race?
If I didn't have to pack, plan, prepare for the possibilities of the next year but could toe the line on each day, each moment as its own, free from worldly pressures and distractions and run the race marked out of me, focused singularly on God's will, eyes heavenward, how would my life change?
I could let go and shed so much of the unnecessary.
I don't want to discourage you from setting goals or laying plans, but if God places someone or something directly in front of you, presenting an opportunity in the here and now, don't push it aside or ignore it when it doesn't mesh with your long term plans and goals. Seize those opportunities and let God speak to your heart on a daily basis.
Tune in, super-focus on His Will for your life.
Bury yourself in The Book and run your race.