True Satisfaction is in Our Focus
Every day I have a silent alarm that goes off on my phone. It says — “What are you striving for?”
Inspired by a pretty cool friend of mine, I made a few silent alarms on my phone that popup constantly. I did this so I don’t forget who I am and who I am called to be.
It seems like a weird concept. I mean, why does someone need a daily alarm to remind them of who they’re called to be? Or who they are?
At first thought, setting alarms like this make me sound a bit crazy, but fortunately I’m not.
No, I’m not crazy. I just I live in America, a country where the average person has anywhere from 2-3 electronic devices with them at all times…
a place where the norm is for people to wake up and immediately check their Facebook feed…
a place where the average person spends 3 hours a day surfing the web and looking at others' opinions on their phone…
a place where encoded messages and unrealistic imagery drive our culture.
Are you trekking with me?
I’m not crazy when I say I have to remind myself of who I am and who I am called to be. EVERY DAY I come face-to-face with pictures and mentions of man-made ideals that shout “chase perfection". They beckon me to strive for and to pursue unattainable goals that will leave me running on a treadmill of sorts after things that don't fulfill me.
They try to get me to start imagining myself in a way God never intended me to. They try to make me to believe lies that want me to strive after money, power, human affirmation and fame… after things and dreams that don’t satisfy… EVER.
Sorry to rant a bit, but hear me when I say this — "I’m not crazy."
I’m in a war… a war for my eyes.
This war has tried to consume most of my life. To be honest, this war the devil has initiated for my eyes has overtaken me so powerfully before that I’ve felt like crumbling to the ground in tears because I was desperate for help, an escape.
Feeling tired, tempted to chase satisfaction in the wrong way, and desperate for relief from my thoughts… this war has made me want to give up.
But, you know what?
I’m still here.
I’ve fought for many years and still do . I realize that no matter how hard these thoughts bombard me, I must refuse to let them win. In fact, all this fighting has helped me to discover a way to beat these thoughts… every time.
What did I discover after all these years of fighting? — how to Focus.
Ok. Let’s be honest. Maybe I didn’t “discover” how to focus. But, God has sure given me revelation as to how it’s best done. In fact, doing it has revolutionized my life and provided me with the purest form of satisfaction.
Most people don’t know, but focus is defined by Google’s dictionary as — (of a person or their eyes) to adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.
Let’s think about this definition:
When we focus, we change our sight to see the "PREVAILING level of light", which then allows us to see things “clearly”.
Let’s go deeper — If God, in the bible, is likened to light (1 John 1:15), focusing is not just us changing our gaze to look at bright, happy or good things.
No, no, no.
It’s higher than that.
It’s us directing our sight to a level of light that PREVAILS — God.
Once we do, we can see our lives and the world around us clearly.
(This makes me want to do a little dance)
I truly believe that learning to focus is God’s call for me in 2016. I know everything I desire will be found in my ability to focus on Him. Deep down I know it is exactly what I want and need.
I mean, have you ever thought about why many of us deal with so many distractions every day? Every hour? What seems like every minute?
I think it’s no coincidence that we do. Our enemy, the devil, knows that if he can capture our gaze and steal our focus, he can lead us off course by tempting us with promises of satisfaction (the fake stuff). You know, the one’s that come in as “harmless” thoughts and then when accepted as true try to destroy us.
That’s the devil’s game. (John 10:10)
I believe focusing can heal our minds of damaging thoughts and keep us out of strongholds that have the power to destroy us. Even more, focusing brings us that satisfying peace that striving after worldly things will never give us.
It’s simple: focus (as I’ve defined it) brings peace and satisfaction.
Though it’s simple, how do we do it?
I really dig how Paul in the Bible gives us some pretty nifty instructions on how —
Finally brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:8-9
Here we have them: God's instructions on how to focus -
- Whatever is true, think about it.
- Whatever is noble, think about it.
- Whatever is right, think about it.
- Whatever is pure, think about it.
- Whatever is lovely, think about it.
- Whatever is admirable think about it.
- If anything is excellent, think about it.
- If anything is praiseworthy, think about it.
- Practice the good God has shown us.
- Don’t do anything not mentioned above (I threw that one in there to really seal the deal)
These 10 instructions are what lead to us being fulfilled, to us walking in peace that satisfies us. These are the things that help us to rest in who we are and where we stand in life (no matter how bad our circumstance)… nothing else.
When you think about your life and what’s going to bring you true satisfaction, what do you picture?
Do you see yourself getting married?
Do you see yourself making more money?
Do you see yourself thinner? more stunning?
Do you see yourself gaining affirmation from someone important to you?
Do you see yourself in a higher rank or with more power?
Do you see yourself famous? well known?
These things are not bad things, but if you see yourself finding satisfaction from anyone or anything other than Jesus - you’re heart is in a dangerous stance. He’s the only source of true satisfaction. Other things can bring us joy and provide fun, but they’ll never fully satisfy us.
That desire that’s in you to be something great, to be known, to be seen as special… He put it there.
That desire in you to be affirmed, to be loved, to be seen… it’s from Him.
Every single desire for satisfaction you have… He created it.
He gives us those desires so that we might pursue Him, so that we might run to Him with open arms and enjoy His love.
It’s in our DNA to desire satisfaction. It’s as if heaven is crying out from within us for our true homes where we’ll dwell in the present of God where we’ll never know dissatisfaction again.
We’re built to know it.
Now, don’t get me wrong… enjoying things like your boyfriend and a cheeseburger (oh, how I love cheeseburgers) is not wrong. We just have to realize that true satisfaction cannot and will not ever come from these things.
It’s simple. It’s real. It’s the truth.
So, back to my daily alarm's question —
“What am I striving for?”
Nothing really, if it isn’t in Jesus.
What am I focused on?
He’s my satisfaction and may all I do be with Him in mind.
Praying for our focus in 2016,