Years ago we were letting our youngest teenage daughter drive our manual 4WD on the town commons at Longreach in central Queensland. It’s not uncommon for outback kids to learn to drive in wide, open spaces so while in town we took advantage of the town commons where it was safe to let her loose! She had the whole hundred acres or so to drive the tracks wherever she chose to, with her sister and my husband and I as the passengers cheering her on.
In one particular paddock there was a dirt track that led under a road bridge. There was plenty of room to drive safely under the bridge and to then emerge in the opposite paddock. Two concrete pillars held up the bridge, one on the left of the track, and one on the right.
As we approached, our daughter was going a little fast, so my husband told her to brake. Then a slightly more commanding… “I said brake”!!! Then an urgent… “BRAKE”!!!
But for some reason she kept her foot on the accelerator, and suddenly we were veering toward one of the pillars of the bridge! My husband who was in the front passenger seat deftly pulled a “hand-brakey”…and our impending collision was avoided as we fish-tailed to a grinding halt. Impressive! We all looked at each other and burst out laughing. How on earth did Miss L manage to aim for one of the only obstacles in that whole hundred acres?!
It’s because she focused on the obstacle instead of on the track! What we focus on gets bigger!
I’m on a treatment track toward healing, but I’m constantly tempted to focus on medical reports, or to google more information about the type of breast cancer I’m battling. I made a promise to myself right from the start that I was not going to randomly google! And despite the temptation, I still haven’t. If I have questions, I ask my care team or go to a reputable breast cancer site. I know how quickly I’ll lead myself down a rabbit hole of too much information, where “cancer” will grow bigger and bigger in my mind if I don’t deliberately keep my focus on moving forward and through, one step at a time.
Early on I heard a catchy phrase that “cancer is a word and not a sentence.” It’s an evil, ugly word that I refuse to be defined by. Cancer is not me. The physical me feels different and looks different, and my mind is making adjustments for that, but the real me, my spirit, is still the same.
And it’s the same for everyone. You are not the label others have put on you. You are not your job title. You are not the medical condition. You are not the disability. You are not even the image you portray on your social media account.
You are a spirit made in the image of God , knitted together in your mother’s womb by the very hand of God, and living in a temporary earthly tent called your “body”.
From the moment you were born, your body began to die. I’m not being morbid, really! But the reality is these bodies are just temporary. On average they last us seventy or eighty years but our spirits live for eternity. Why do we spend so much of our time, energy and focus on temporal things without giving nearly as much time, energy and thought to eternity? The bible is very clear that our spirits live forever. We’ll either be spending eternity with God in heaven because of our relationship with His Son Jesus Christ who covers our sin, or we’ll be separated from God forever because we never accepted by faith what Jesus provided for us.
I find this analogy of a computer helpful. The hardware is our body. It is seen. It has a physical appearance. The hardware hosts the software. The software is unseen. The software gives the computer its unique characteristics and abilities. The software is therefore the “heart” of the computer in the same way our spirit is the “heart” of us. Without the software, the computer is just a shell. In addition, the computer won’t function to its full capacity without an external source of power. In the same way, we as humans are not designed to function to our full intent and purpose without God’s spirit living on the inside of us, in the very heart of us!
The scriptures say “…it’s in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) This focus on the spirit is contained in the mystery of Jesus’ encounter with a man called Nicodemus (a pharisee who had outward religion as his main focus). Jesus said to him, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.” John 3: 6-8.
Focus is important. Focusing on our spirit is definitely something that needs to be given consideration.
Right now, with no choice, I need to be focused on the healing of my physical body. But I am very aware that my spirit and soul are just as important, if not more so! That’s why I devote time, energy, and thought to my relationship with Jesus. Losing sight of one at the expense of the other, is like veering off track into some metaphorical concrete pillar!
Can I ask where is your focus right now? Is it too much on your hobby? Too much on your job? Too much on acquiring the next material possession? Too much on your body image? There is nothing wrong with any of these things, the danger lies only in them growing bigger in focus while other things that may be more important grow smaller in focus.
What about eternity? The challenge for all of us is to not lose sight of the spirit while still looking after the physical and the soul.
Here’s some things I’m telling myself in order to adjust my focus, and I encourage you to make your own list. It will be different for us all!
I will focus on healing (body)
I will focus more on the important and less on the trivial. (soul)
I will focus more on character and less on appearance. (soul)
I will focus more on facts and less on opinion. (soul)
I will focus on spiritual truth over what’s happening in the physical. (spirit)
It is possible to adjust our focus at any time! What will you choose to meditate on? There sure is enough bad stuff to be focused on right now, so let’s look to how we can adjust our focus to balance our spirit, soul and body with what will do us good!