The importance of focus in balance

No, you’re not imagining it. The photo I picked today is blurry. But I was clinging to the back of a horse with no saddle, and it was difficult enough to get my camera out of my pack and hold it straight forward without losing my grip, let alone try to get it out of manual mode and into automatic. So … the image is blurry.

But this is the “road” to Esfuerzo II, one of the Kekchi villages I visited on my last trip to Guatemala. You can kind of see one of the buildings at the top of the hill.

On the road to Esfuerzo II - Peten, Guatemala

On the road to Esfuerzo II – Peten, Guatemala

Today’s verse is Proverbs 15:13.

A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.

I’m talking about perspective again this morning. I know I talked about it yesterday, but yesterday was more about focusing on the solution instead of the problem.

This morning, I got to wondering about how exactly you’re supposed to find the solution to think about in the first place. How can you be cheerful when nothing is going the way you think it ought to be?

Well, much like choosing the settings on your camera before you take a picture, you have to choose what parts of your life you’re going to focus on before you make a decision to be grumpy or glad.

I had an exciting experience yesterday that taught me a lot about focus. I woke up at my usual time 5:45 a.m. and rolled out of bed, but as I rolled over and sat up, the room kept rolling. It was truly the most disorienting sensation I’ve ever experienced. The room just kept spinning and spinning. Finally I got into a position where it stopped, but I still felt light-headed and weird. So I made it downstairs and sat down, but the moment I leaned back in a chair, it flared up again. So I leaned forward instead, and that made it worse! I was pretty sure I was going to throw up.

So I did what any self-respecting, independent woman with a high-profile corporate job would do. I called my mom. =)

So mom came out and got me, and she took me to the doctor. And it turns out I managed to catch a virus that attacks the fluid levels in my inner ear, which is what controls my balance. So I got a great big steroid shot (yay) and some motion sickness meds, and I feel much better today.

But while the world was spinning, there was only one thing I could do to get it to stop. I had to focus on a point straight ahead of me and keep my head level. That was it. Nothing else would stop it. No other movement or position would allow me to walk straight. I just had to focus on one point and not move from it.

I’m sure you probably see where this is going.

Our world is spinning out of control. No politician or political party can stop it. No congressional initiative can stop it. No educational grants or school loans can stop it. We’re all walking around in a culture that’s circling the drain, and we lose a little more of our future every day. And it’s no wonder we’re all grumpy and sad and bitter. Because we keep focusing on things that change.

When I was in the middle of these dizzy spells, if I tried to focus on something that was moving, it just made the dizziness worse. When I was clinging to the back of that Guatemalan-sized horse, if I tried to focus on the destination, I wouldn’t have been ready for the road under the horse’s feet, which was rocky and uneven and threatened to dump me off if I weren’t paying attention.

You have to focus on what you know isn’t going to change. You have to focus on the person who is going to figure it out.

In these instances, I had to focus on the butt-ugly wallpaper in my living room. And in Guatemala, I had to focus on the horse, when he gathered his muscles, when he relaxed, when he climbed, when he descended.

It’s the same way in our lives.

When everything is falling apart, focus on what the Bible says about God. That’s He’s good. That He has good plans for us. That He knows what He’s doing, that He never makes mistakes, and that He always keeps His promises. He doesn’t change, and He will be the one to figure it all out.

That’s what you focus on. And when you can focus on that, the gladness will soon follow. You’ll be glad because you don’t have to worry about taking care of everything. You won’t have to worry about things you can’t control anyway, and that’s a tremendous weight off your shoulders. And when you’re glad in your spirit, it won’t be long before the rest of you is glad too.

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