These are words I wrote awhile back, but as I reflect on them now I find myself thinking about decisions. I am not very decisive...just ask my husband. Growing up I often used the line, "My decision is choosing not to decide." That statement may have worked when my parents asked where I wanted to eat or friends asked what I wanted to do, but when it comes to life as an adult it doesn't lead to good results.
The last couple of weeks life has reminded me I need to decide where my mind will go and choose not to give my feelings too much power. As Christmas approaches I've found myself revisiting much grief from the past year...in just over 6 months I've lost a college classmate and two of his young children, a first cousin just a year older than me, a 20 year old niece and an uncle.
Loss is hard - we grieve for our own personal loss, but we also hurt for loved ones too. My heart hurts as I think of loved ones missing their husband, children, mom, sister, daughter, dad, grandpa, brother. Christmas is typically a time we look forward to, but when loss impacts the tradition the holiday is also hard.
The other day as I battled with thoughts of sadness and feelings that accompany grief, my mind quickly jumped to basketball practice. This was kind of an odd shift of thinking, but I believe it was God answering my prayer. You know, the help me take my thoughts captive one?
In my mind I saw the previous night's practice I'd had with my elementary girls...they were doing dribble lines and I was saying, "Eyes up. Don't watch the ball, look at me. Head up." God used that picture from practice to speak to my heart.
Friend, our Heavenly Father, our life coach wants you and me to follow the same advice. We must keep our eyes up. He doesn't want us to focus on our problems or feelings, He created us to look at Him. This instruction can be hard for my future Wildcats, but if they want to improve as a player it's something they must do. If we want to grow and mature in our faith, we must do the same.
When a player chooses to keep her eyes up it could lead to an easy shot for her teammate or it might prevent a turnover. Spiritually when we decide to keep our eyes up, we're more likely to see Satan's attack and we are able to focus on God's Truth. This strategy helps an athlete see the court and it allows a Christian to view life from God's perspective.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us, "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." When we look at Jesus, our perspective changes and we remember the power God has.
Psalm 16:8 states, "I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." If our eyes are up and we're looking to the Lord, we remember we are not alone...God is with us.
As I bring this post to a close, my mind again envisions basketball practice and I see balls bouncing off feet and girls looking down. Friend if you've ever been in a gym with 10-12 year old girls, you know it's a challenge for most of them to dribble without looking at the ball. The same is true for me when it comes to walking through life while looking up...it's not my natural response. I too need reminders and encouragement. I try not to be a coach with unrealistic expectations and a lack of patience...I want my girls to try and not fear failure. God wants the same and He instructs us perfectly!
The decision to keep our eyes up won't always be easy and sometimes we'll forget. There are times it will be hard and require putting our feelings aside, but it's a choice that will be worth it and an effort that God will reward!
Friend, I don't know what choices you have yet to make this Christmas, but I pray you will join me in making an effort to keep your eyes up! If we choose to look to God, He will provide what we need and enable us to do what needs to be done. Focusing on our Father will also remind us of the GIFT He's already given!
Today, I pray for you and me...Heavenly Father, Lord we know Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, but we also know it can be hard. Regardless of how we are struggling today whether the battle is grief, financial, relational or lies from the enemy, I ask You to help us keep our eyes up. Rather than our problems or pain, help us look at You and look into Your Word. Give us your perspective Father and fill us with Your Spirit. This Christmas may we choose to receive the gift you offer and then help us share that gift with others. Lord, thank you for the gift that puts all others in perspective. We love you Lord and want to keep our eyes on YOU. In Jesus' Name, Amen