Is There a Silver Lining to my Failures?
- Jennifer Heeren Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2014 26 Aug
When I realized that my weight crept up to where I never wanted it to be, I felt like lamenting and regretting the past behavior that got me that way. Come to think of it, I probably did lament for awhile. What did all of those regrets do for me? Nothing except make me miserable.
Doing a word study in the bible for the words “one thing” led me to three verses that seem to fit together in a kind of philosophy of life—life as God intended it—a life of focus.
First, I came across the scripture passage where Martha is very worried about the details involved in hospitality. Martha wants Jesus to rebuke her sister, Mary, for not helping her. Jesus doesn’t do it. Martha’s hospitality gifting is a good thing, but her worries over it were not.
“There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus in a posture of worship and listening for his wisdom and instruction. Her focus was on Jesus. Mine should be too. I often get so caught up in my to-do list that I forget why I’m doing those things in the first place.
To focus means to concentrate on a central point by letting your mind settle on the heart of the matter. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the center.
The second scripture in my study comes out of Philippians:
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 3:13-14).
The Apostle Paul’s one thing focus is the present moment. Looking too hard at the past leads me to regret, and looking too long at the future leads me to worry about how I’ll get there. Instead, he tells me to press on in today’s moment to finish my race well. There are no regrets or worry if I simply concentrate on the next step. It’s when I look away from that first step, that negative thoughts arise. And Christ called me to this race, so just like Mary my focus is on Jesus.
The last scripture in my brief study is:
But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8).
This time the “one thing” emphasis is on time, and how great a resource it is. Many precious days can go by, just like that, when I’m not purposeful or when I’m simply doing the bare minimum in order to get by. Days, months, and even years can seem to slip through my hands with nothing to show for them. But one day full of focus and purpose can actually feel like a year. Ask people that are waiting in an ER waiting room for a loved one’s prognosis and you’ll find the truth of this. Time is short and a lifetime can go by like that, but with focus each day can be more purposeful.
The answer seems to be to focus my time on activities that worship God. What activities worship God? Everyone immediately thinks of going to church and reading the Bible, but these activities are only the beginning. I want to do those activities, but I also want to go beyond them to activities that help other people.
Like pausing for a moment in the morning, even when I’m in a hurry, to wish my husband a good day and kiss him goodbye. Slowing down to let someone into my traffic lane. Stopping to listen for the answer instead of just using “How are you?” as a greeting. Going the extra mile in a task at work. Speaking to someone who looks like they’ve had a rough day, or possibly even a rough year. Sometimes it’s as simple as pausing to care instead of rushing in my own agenda.
What did I do to apply this to my regretful weight gain? I’m in the process of focusing on today and making the most of it. I am trying to concentrate on what choices give me the most energy for today. I’m trying not to worry over the long-term results. So far, I’m down six pounds, but more than that I’m feeling more vibrant in my daily activities. I’m more able to make the most of each day and I’m more able to accomplish tasks that care for other people.
- Focus on the reason to care for other people—which is God’s love.
- Focus on today—not what you should have done yesterday or will do tomorrow.
- Focus on using the biggest resource you have—time—wisely.
How can you make the most of today? Who can you help? What worry or regret can you give up in order to make room for accomplishment and joy?
Jennifer Heeren has always loved to write. For more than a decade, she has enjoyed writing encouraging blog messages. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
Publication date: August 26, 2014