Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. ~Pr. 4:25
Towards the end of last year, a freelance gig fell through and I was slightly ticked at the circumstances. Mommy gently encouraged me: yeah, it might have been nice do the job and though my schedule allowed it, it was just peripheral. It didn't connect to anything else I was working on, it wasn’t on mission or off mission; it was just fluff — so don’t get agitated about it.
I started thinking about the other peripheral things that were taking more energy and brain space than they needed to. I seems get distracted by the peripheral a lot. Most of the time these distractions aren’t bad in themselves but they take my focus off of what’s important. Giving too much attention to the non-essentials keeps me busy but really, it’s just another way of filling a void that only Jesus can satisfy.
It reminds me of the time Peter walked on water. Scripture says, “Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:29,30). The Message version says “…when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink…” Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to trust His own abilities. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him “You of little faith,” he said, “Why did you doubt?” (v. 31). Focusing on the surrounding circumstances causes me to take my eyes off Jesus. Then, I start to rely on my own strength and drown in unnecessary stress.
When my family began to choose our words of the year [read about Daddy’s word here], this verse came to mind:
The steadfast of mind, you will keep in perfect peace because He trusts in you. ~Isaiah 26:3
Steadfast — that’s my word. I want to fix the gaze of my heart and mind on Jesus. I want to trust that He will bring to the forefront what needs to be addressed instead of looking for things to address.
It’s not that I need to be more focused (those of you that know me know that I can be a little too focused at times). Steadfast is different from focused. Steadfast stays the same when circumstances change. Focused changes depending on the circumstances. Steadfast is set on a fixed target. Focused is fixed on a moving target.
Steadfast has Jesus always at the forefront. Steadfast is anchored in Hope amidst the waves of circumstance. It’s the result of faith tested. A steadfast heart is a grateful heart. Steadfast doesn’t run to fill the void but stays to hear the Voice; it isn’t afraid of being still. Steadfast trusts fearlessly.
Jesus, fix the gaze of our minds and hearts on You. May we choose not be be distracted by the peripheral but trust you to bring what’s important to the forefront. Guard our minds with your perfect peace that we may be joyful in all circumstances. May we be steadfast in the waiting. Steadfast in the working. Steadfast in the stillness. Renew a steadfast spirit within us that we might keep move forward in courageous obedience. Jesus, be the center.
*Hebrews 6:19, James 1:3, Psalm 12:7, 51:10, 57:7, 119:5