focusing on the blessings

As you are aware, I have had a difficult week.  I haven’t posted much, and what I have written hasn’t been so happy or encouraging.  But I have had some time to do a bit of thinking and praying and reading, and I have come to realize something.  Somewhere along the line between the time of my diagnosis and now, I have drifted from my focus on God and walking this journey totally dependent on him and taking him at his word, to focusing on the blessings he has given me.

That may seem like not a very big deal, or a very big difference.  But when I feel safe knowing my friends are praying for me to recover, instead of putting my trust in the Lord first, that is a big deal.   When my mind turns first to Sam to help me get through this hard time, instead of my heart turning first to the Lord, that is indeed a big deal.  When I realize that the therapeutic nature of writing this blog has become important enough to me that I have started to write when I am stressed before turning to the Bible, that is a big deal.  None of these things are wrong – in fact they are all good – all blessings from God.  They just can’t come before God.  I can’t focus on them first.

The Lord has blessed me in so many ways – my husband, my amazing family, my loving friends, a fantastic work family, talents that I enjoy exercising, interests that I enjoy pursuing.  But if I focus on the blessings instead of the source – the gifts instead of the giver – I not only miss the true joy and meaning of life, but I can become self-centered and ungrateful, just looking for what’s in it for me.  The biggest joy in this whole experience has been God giving me Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Holding on to that verse and truly believing that Jesus was holding my hand as I went through some scary tests and hard times of waiting and harder times of telling family about my diagnosis was an amazing thing.  I had a peace that was absolutely outside of human possibility.  As wonderful as my husband is, as precious as my friends are, and as much as I love and need their presence and prayers and love – I want that knowledge that I am holding onto Jesus, and even more important, he is holding onto me.  I don’t want anything to get ahead of that.

This week, rough as it was, has been a good time for me to get my eyes back where they belong, on the giver of all good things.  I am truly grateful for the gifts in my life, and if you are reading this, there is a good chance you may be one of them.  If you are, thank you for being an instrument of blessing and grace, and allowing God to show his love through your life.   But above all, I am so amazed, so awed by the simple fact that the God of the Universe loves me, cares about what happens to me, day by day, every detail.  I don’t deserve it, not one tiny bit.  That’s the wonder and the glory of it.  And I am so thankful.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.  Colossians 3:2-4 MSG

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