My kids are used to me pulling out my phone and saying, “Hold on! I want to get a picture of this.” It doesn’t seem to matter when or where the fancy strikes me, I want to freeze frame that memorable (to me, at least) moment forever. So I pull mom-rank and try to make them hold the pose in order to get that elusive perfect picture where no one is blurred from motion, all eyes are toward the camera and every one is clearly visible. With the glory of digital photography you can instantly see if you captured the essence of what you were experiencing. If you did, fabulous!! All parties are free to move about the cabin and return to regularly scheduled programming. If not though, the torture will ensue as I snap photo after photo after photo if someone won’t hold still or won’t smile or just basically won’t cooperate. This goes on until persistence wins…either mine in getting a good shot or that of the nameless other party seemingly bent on spoiling every shot.
I am not a photographer. I have no photography training. I don’t use a fancy camera. I point and shoot with the camera on my phone. That is all. Because I point and shoot, I’m at the mercy of the little automatic focus box that appears when I’m trying to take a picture. Whatever that little square thinks is the most important part of the scene in front of me is what’s going to get my camera’s directed attention and subsequently what is going to be captured as the main interest of that moment. Thus, anyone who looks at the resulting picture will interpret that little box’s focus to actually be my focus. But sometimes my camera latches to the wrong thing. It focuses that little box in on something other than the intention of my vision. I honestly don’t know what makes it do that and it’s aggravating when it does. Precious time (irreplaceable seconds!) can be wasted while I take my finger off the shutter button and start over, hoping that silly little box gets it right the next time. Unfortunately, while I’m fussing with that little box sometimes the moment passes and can’t be brought back.
So I looked up the word focus on the Merriam-Webster dictionary app on my phone. (Yes, I have and I use a dictionary app on my phone. I am a nerd. No shame.) HOLY COW, BATMAN! (See there? Another nerd reference.) I got a ton of information about subjects and main points and rays of light and convergence and divergence and prolongation and images and perception and concentration. It was quite overwhelming and slightly ironic for a word that refers to clarity. Then I looked up refocus. It was refreshingly simple: basically to adjust again or change in order to make something clear.
That’s not My intention for your attention right now. Let that fade to the background for a while. It’s time for this right now. Let’s do it this way this time.
I have sensed God refocusing me this year. Life is still happening all around me. That hasn’t changed. I still have my husband and kids and family to cherish, my church family to love and serve, songs to write, a job to work and now a summer to enjoy. But there’s been a divine reset of my shutter button from time to time. I get a pause in my Spirit as if He’s saying, “No, that’s not My intention for your attention right now. Let that fade to the background for a while. It’s time for this right now. Let’s do it this way this time.” Truthfully this can even be painful at times, but I must trust His eyes that see more detail than mine ever can. He has the eyes of a master photographer, knowing how to best capture the lighting, the characters and the essence of His glory in every scene of my life.
I don’t really know if this refocusing is just for a season or if it is my new normal. I can see now what a tragedy it would be to get past a life moment, look back at the memory and find a part of it blurred because there was no stillness, no peace. Or worse, to find someone was somehow left out of the picture because my attention was somewhere else, focused on something much less important. In real life, I can’t just photoshop someone in that I left out nor can I go back and slow everything down to fully appreciate what God was doing in each situation. When my life’s automatic focus latches onto something lesser than His big-picture vision, may I always allow Him to refocus my vision to align with His. Every adjustment He makes produces more clarity and definitely results in a better picture that exceeds all my hopes!
When my life’s automatic focus latches onto something lesser than His big-picture vision, may I always allow Him to refocus my vision to align with His.
So what has refocusing looked like for me these last few months? It’s looked like letting go of my specific way that something should be done in order to let someone else take it over, learn & thrive. It’s looked like being a soccer and basketball mom for the first time and instead of wondering (re:worrying) what my kid could or couldn’t do (because I’m literally scared to death of trying new things myself), letting them discover what they were capable of and pursue it with confidence, passion and joy. It’s re-evaluating what’s important in life when someone I love gets a devastating diagnosis. It’s realizing a person is more important than their successes…or their failures, even when those failures blindside me. It’s changing the way I perceive myself based on what God says about me instead of what I think about me. Sometimes it’s rejoicing as someone else comes into their season and purpose while I’m still waiting for my promised dream. And some of it is realizing things I prayed for and desired for years have come to pass by God’s faithfulness and now it’s time to dream again…time to refocus.
“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!”
Ephesians 1:17-19 MSG