What Are You Focusing On?

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“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory” (Colossians 3:1-4, NLT). 

“When you live in the light of eternity, trouble just doesn’t bother you as much anymore” (Rick Warren).

Last week, I shared that my current “light and momentary troubles” were nonetheless piling up heavier than usual. Since then, they’ve invited more of their friends to join them:

  • A flat tire that inconsiderately occurred after the repair shops were closed
  • Electrical circuits that jumped from “unreliable” to “dangerously overheating,” necessitating a three-day power shutoff to wait for an electrician
  • A letter from the IRS reporting that someone forgot to provide a Form 1095-A for my tax return

Aware enough that others have much worse trials to deal with, I’m still reluctant to say “At least [fill in the blank] hasn’t happened,” lest I give ideas to some demon assigned to frustrate growing believers. That’s not entirely tongue-in-cheek; being in the first stages of a devotional-book project designed specifically to minister to the depressed, I do have a strong sense that all this is part of a spiritual battle.

Now is a good time to remember that Scripture and prayer are the best protection against Satan’s “fiery arrows.” (Thanks to Mindy Ferguson’s Walking with God Bible study, especially Session 8 of the accompanying DVDs, for reminding me of this.) Now is also a good time to remember that it’s illogical and futile to fume over losing possessions, having career paths hindered, or seeing our plans interrupted—we can’t keep those things forever anyway. Only what’s done for love and God’s glory has real staying power, and God promises us“a glory that vastly outweighs [the worst of our current problems] and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NLT).

Sometimes, it seems that our current “momentary” troubles are what’s dragging on “forever.” If you feel like that, ask God to give you a heart and vision for Heaven. And:

  • Remember that you’ve had hard times in the past, and they didn’t last forever.
  • Remember how your past struggles have already helped you grow—and have often given back more than they took away.
  • Focus on thanking God for the blessings you still have. “Everything is going wrong” is one of the devil’s favorite lies.
  • Seek prayer and empathy from other believers.
  • Continue serving others in love.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask God for what you want—but ask respectfully, and don’t sulk if His answer is “No” or “Wait.”
  • Trust that God knows what He’s doing. He is fully in charge, and He uses the problems we despise to bring about far better things than we imagine.
Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Jo Swank

     /  April 13, 2018

    Wow! Beautiful encouragement, Kathy! Thank you! Sounds like your recent trials have provided excellent food for your blog. : )

    Reply
  2. Katherine Swarts

     /  April 14, 2018

    What doesn’t kill you not only makes you stronger–it makes for a lot of great stories!

    Reply
  1. When You’re at the End of Your Rope … Let Go! | Strength for the Weary

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  • A blog for naturally melancholy Christians tired of being told to "snap out of it"; for Christians who struggle with mental-health issues and long for assurance God delights in them nonetheless; and for naturally optimistic Christians who want to understand their "gloomy" loved ones.

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    I am the go-to writer for people with tough stress issues and special emotional needs—and for those who love them, organizations that serve them, and anyone who just wants to better understand the world of mental/emotional struggles. Or who just wants to pick up some good stress-management tips! Visit my main website at www.PositiveContentFactory.com.

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    Bible quotes used in this blog are from the New Living Translation or the New International Version (1984). See http://www.biblegateway.com/ for copyright details.
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