Thursday, April 13, 2017

Focus and Peace



I need to tell you a story.  It's important.  (and i should really be getting ready for work right now, so please excuse the typos.)

Anyone who knows me could probably tell you that i am a pretty positive person.  Some people might tell you that i am a sickeningly positive person.  The name Pollyanna comes to mind.  I'm very very optimistic as a general rule.

Interestingly, last week, and in recent weeks, i have spent a lot of energy encouraging a specific friend who has been going through some very tough circumstances, to "focus on the Lord," instead of those circumstances and to trust Him and believe Him instead of believing the very convincing negative messages that have been being forced into my friends attention.  I think that a couple of times, my friend really wanted to tell me to go mind my own business for a while and let people be angry and depressed if they want to be.  But i didn't.

Stay with me...i little more prep work here...

In recent months, my super hero and i have been working on some lifestyle changes that have included some financial stress.  And as i am prone to do, i have been very positive about it all.

Until Saturday.

On Saturday, as part of an ongoing effort to trim the edges of our budget where it can be done, i was having a conversation with a customer service representative for our wireless phone company.  Our cell phones are our home's only means of communication with the outside world.  We don't have a land line or cable or broadband, nothing.  We use our phones to connect our computers to the internet, the whole nine yards.  So our phones are very necessary ... and our phone bill is pretty bloated.  It's bloated mostly because of an installment plan that we agreed to a couple of years ago, so that we could have brand new, top of the line, smart phones without having to do the smart thing, and just buy them.

Anyway, i've already trimmed the fat off of that bill as much as i can, and all in all, we're getting a pretty good deal, have a great plan, and it's fine.

But this customer service person......she told me that she could give me unlimited data and lower my monthly bill by one hundred dollars!!!!!!

A hundred dollars sounded really good to me, and after questioning the agent for a long time, attempting to sniff out any hidden hijinks that might be going on behind the scenes, i agreed to the change.

You might not believe me now, but the important part of this story doesn't have anything to do with our phone bill.  All those details are just fluff.  The important part of the story is this:  i got SO HAPPY about that $100.  For whatever reason, i had gotten really focused on this financial fat trimming, and when this $100 break came up, i was absolutely on cloud nine.

And this was my downfall.

Yes, that's right.

See, focus is important.  And focus on circumstances is bad for you, even when it's focus on happy circumstances.  Because circumstances are just circumstances.

But truth...TRUTH lives on a different plane than our circumstances.

Here's how that became extremely plain to me in a matter of a few hours.

After experiencing this giant happiness boost over a phone bill, i ran some errands and came back to my house to work on some online freelance work i've been doing.  You know, on my computer, which i connect the internet to through my cell phone.  And when i attempted to make this connection, it wouldn't work.  IT WOULDN'T WORK!

I tried to stay calm as i again contacted my phone company to find out what was going on.  Long story short, that new plan i agreed to had a catch i hadn't considered, and after a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, the second customer service agent got our phone plan reversed back to the plan we had earlier that morning, the one that was fine.

But i wasn't fine.  I was completely undone.  And completely undone is not a state of being that i am accustomed to.  I am accustomed to rolling with the punches, taking things in stride, having peace in the midst of circumstances.

When i say i was undone, i mean it.  You can ask my super hero.  I spent HOURS in tears.  It wasn't hormones either.  It was all about my focus.

Because whether the things we see seem good or bad, focusing on what is temporal and of this world, will kill us.  The things of this world will all pass away, but what God says is forever.  (loose translation of Matthew 24:35.

Even if you don't believe in this stuff, believe what i'm telling you, ok?  It's true.

Sometime mid afternoon on Saturday, everything became crystal clear when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about my focus.  After i had spent the previous week(s) telling my friend to focus on God instead of circumstances, i had learned the same lesson in my own life, but different.

Happy circumstances are great, but they cannot be where my joy comes from.

In that moment, when the Holy Spirit made things clear to me, and i chose to say with my mouth, "God wins," my way of reminding my heart and giving my prayer to God that He's in charge, and I know that His ways and His intentions and His outcomes are what i'm committed to...in that moment, i felt instantaneous change.  I went from complete basket case depression (over $100...good grief), to peace.

The Bible calls that the peace that passes understanding that guards your hearts and minds...

If i didn't say it yet, this is the lesson:  focusing on circumstances, even positive circumstances, is death to your soul.  Your focus must be on the only being Who is all powerful and always loves you unconditionally.  His words are what matters.  Everything else is just stuff.  Stuff is nice sometimes, but it's nothing compared to the peace of God.

Well, that's it.  I hope i told the story well.  And i hope you get it.  It's almost Resurrection Day.  And if you know the real meaning of that day, this will mean all the more to you.

Love to all my peeps. ;)  Time to get ready for work.

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