Shifting Focus

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Shifting Focus
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have
overcome the world.” 

John 16:33

I remember the first time I experienced heartache. In the grand scheme of life, it seems so insignificant, but that moment has gripped me and rules my thoughts. I was in 3rd grade and I was publicly shamed by a classmate during gym class. I'm sure others didn't even notice or won't even remember the feeble two seconds that the comment from the student lasted, but I still feel the sting and insecurities that were caused from the remark. To this day I still find myself obsessing over that moment.

There is no doubt that there is pain, sorrow, and suffering in this world. We see it daily - death of loved ones, loss of jobs, rejection, mockery, illness and disease, and a long list of deep, heart wrenching struggles. The effects of sin permeate every aspect of life on earth and it can often be overwhelming. Doubts begin to creep into our mind. Those doubts drive our choices and decisions. We limit ourselves and allow Satan to trap us in a cage of uncertainty and distrust. 

We question God and wonder how such pain and agony can cross borders and fill our homes. We often hear the question - "Why is this happening to me?" and this is part of the problem. It's not about us. I know the world would have you think otherwise. We live in an egocentric culture. We get attention when we have a nice house, a good job, obedient kids, etc. We share achievements on social media, we work hard and deserve a vacation, we can splurge a little bit to get a nicer phone. We like to focus on US. 

Now I'm not saying to disregard all responsibilities and that we can't enjoy the luxuries of life, but the danger of putting focus on yourself is that it is not always positive attention. When you are so worried about your life, you open yourself up to constant defeat because we end up being controlled by our feelings. You notice your flaws, you dwell on them, you mask them in any way possible and pray that no one notices these insecurities - whether they stem from a past failure, a future fear, or a passing comment made in 3rd grade. You put your trust in the fragility of human nature, which will always fail. 

Life changes in an instant. Our God doesn't. He has lived in this world of pain and suffering. He felt the temptations we do and experienced living in a world riddled with sin, but he overcame it for us. Turn your focus from yourself and your flaws and focus on the one who is flawless. When your gaze is on God, your outlook will be one of joy and peace. If your world is falling apart, it is because it is your world. The kingdom of God never falls apart. 

Your struggles are real and they are many. But you are not facing them alone. Cast off your doubt and despair and put on trust and hope. "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18). Our pain on this earth is but a momentary affliction. It may be the worst thing you will ever experience. It may last a week, it may last the rest of your life, but it will end. And when that suffering ends we will be welcomed into our Father's arms whose unfailing love will still persevere. 

"Do you want to lose your sorrows? Do you want to drown your cares? Then plunge yourself into the Godhead's deepest sea and be lost in its immensity." 

-Charles Spurgeon
*Many thoughts and themes in this post are inspired by 
Freeing Tangled Hearts by Dolores Kimball.

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  • Olivia Peitsch
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