Yesterday I started this blog. After publishing the first post, I shared it with a couple people. Almost immediately, I started wondering if anyone had clicked on the link and read what was posted. It’s out there now, I wonder what they think. The “is it (am I) good enough?” tape began to play in my head. “Perhaps I should share it with more people” in hopes that by casting the net I would have the chance of someone accepting it (or accept me). The internal committee started talking.
The message that I just need to keep writing, studying God’s word and reading other’s works and studies started to drum in my head. Focus. It’s not up to me to make this happen to the extent of my dream, it’s God. Do I need to be obedient, yes; and that requires action! Obedience and action will require focus and being intentional. “Keep writing and posting as the Lord leads, don’t try to hard, let it flow” is what I’m hearing now. He will part the waters, just wait for Joshua 3!
“Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success (act wisely) wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7
Do not turn from it to the right or to the left. The “it” is the instruction to follow the law of Moses. As believers and followers of Jesus, we get the law that Moses received but also what Jesus instructed us to do. The commandments Jesus gave us is to love God and love others. Sometimes we see the Ten Commandments and think “rules” and maybe even defiantly “rules are meant to be broken”. We start to see rules and automatically start to add our own, man-made rules and pass judgement. This is so dangerous because in doing so, we start to lose sight of what we’re really supposed to be doing and just start making, following and enforcing rules and putting people (or God) in boxes rather than creating relationship.
So I’m going with the laws from Jesus, to love God and love others, as my compass. And loving others includes loving myself.
For me to stay focused, it’s important to know what is catching my attention.
I look to the left and see others doing better than me. Sometimes, looking to the right is actually listening to those tapes or the internal committee in my mind. The mind is powerful, and it can play intense messages over and over again. While growing up, and doing some of the change work my family participated in, we called them “tapes”. Messages we tell ourselves over and over. We put these messages on repeat, usually its not the truth. Sometimes I call them gremlins, that gives me a really good visual! Often it feels like the tapes have taken on a life all their own and I accept them as truth even more.
I look to the right and get distracted by laundry, different projects, tasks that others want me to do, and the myriad of other busy tasks that serve as excuses to not keep walking the path before me. Honestly, sometimes I allow those glimpses to the right or left gobble up my time, brain space and energy because I simply don’t know where to step on the path next.
What catches your attention, to the right or to the left?
How can I (we) stay focused on the path? For me, knowing the truth helps me to be focused and keep walking. The truth is I am a complete and powerful woman. The truth is I am worthy. The truth is that I am a child of God, His daughter. The truth is my life is rich and abundant! The truth is my family is making generational change. The truth is that knowing what I want is important. The truth is that even when I get sidetracked veering to the “left” or “right”, lessons can be learned. And by God’s grace I can continue to walk the path with those diversions.
Another way for me to stay focused is to use the commandments Jesus gave us to love God and love others. For me, to love God is to spend time communing with Him. Some people call this prayer. I pray, but for me sometimes it’s being or working outside and enjoying enjoying and learning from His creations. Reading His Word and listening or singing praise music. Playing with and loving my kids, to me is a way of loving God. We also show our love to God through our obedience, which is an action word.
Loving others can be a tough one sometimes, and I believe that loving others includes loving ourselves. Part of loving myself is knowing the truth and not believing the false tapes playing on repeat. Taking time to spend with others whom He has gifted me, being present. Showing others love through our actions and not just speaking it. Doing things for people with the attitude of love and thankfulness, not because I feel obligated. I can choose to love on my family by doing their laundry with joy and gratitude. I can serve them with clean underwear and clothes to wear instead of being really angry that it’s one more thing on my to-do list. Loving others doesn’t have to be over the top, it’s simple. I don’t do this well all the time, there is room to grow. And for that I am grateful.
“Do not turn to the right or to the left that you may act wisely where ever you go.” If I am to “go over this Jordan” and reside in my promised land, I want to stay focused while loving God and loving others. Focused, aware and present.