Looking In The Wrong Direction

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.    Proverbs 4:25

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESJocelyn got a candy jewelry set in her basket at Easter. She was enamored with the candy charm dangling from the bracelet. In fact, she couldn’t keep her eyes off it. Later that day, as she gazed at the bracelet instead of the stairs she was walking down, she fell. She landed hard, and got two bruises on her hip.

After I hugged her and dried her tears, I talked to her about the danger of looking in the wrong direction. It almost always leads to stumbling and falling. As I was talking, the words resonated with me, speaking to me on a different level. 

I am a chronic multi-tasker. Very rarely am I able to look straight ahead. Instead, I have to keep my eyes on all the balls I have up in the air. But juggling umpteen million things at once is a norm for me. So I’ve become quiet skilled at moving forward without looking where I’m going. But no matter how skilled I am, there’s always a bump in the road that I stumble on. I may not actually fall, but just that hiccup has all those balls crashing down around me.

This is when I have to move into the “sorry” phase of juggling: “Sorry I haven’t responded to your email.” “Sorry I didn’t return your call.” “Sorry I didn’t complete that task on time,” etc. I vow to use the “Sacred No” more often, or delegate out. But most times I’m just repaving my path with “sorry stones,” trying to smooth things out so I can start my juggling act all over again. I justify it by labeling a lot of those balls as things I’m doing for others.

The even bigger issue is my greedy ego. When I do things for others, I start off with my eyes on God, doing for others as I would do for Jesus. I want my efforts to be living prayers. I want my actions to glorify God, shining the light His way.

But before you know it, I become weak and my ego becomes strong. My focus shifts from God to me. Slowly, I find myself doing for others out of my own need to feel valued, affirmed, recognized.

When I allow my gaze to go off in the wrong direction, I inevitably stumble and slide down the entire slippery slope of my ego. I end up at the bottom, wanting all the glory for myself, and all the light shining my way. Not only do I end up exhausted and resentful because I’ve drained my own well with all the doing, but my ego’s appetite revs up. Because it’s impossible to ever satiate it, my ego ends up famished and bruised.

It took weeks for the bruises on Jocelyn’s hips to fade. Each day, as I helped her change her clothes, I used them as a reminder to her that she needs to always be looking in the right direction when she’s walking on stairs. I need to remember that my own bruised ego is God’s reminder to me that I need to always be looking to Him, doing for Him and not me, when I’m walking on this journey of faith.

Questions For Reflection:
 
     * Do I take on too much because I haven’t learned the art of the “Sacred No” or delegating? If so, what can I do to begin practicing both?
 
     * When I do for others, am I doing so to glorify God, or myself? 
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2 thoughts on “Looking In The Wrong Direction

  1. Oh this post was just what I needed today! April and May are two of my crazy busy months where the “Sacred No” gets lost in the shuffle. “Yes I can organize that year end gift” “Yes we can do 50 million activities…it is spring and we need to be outside” “Yes I can make that video slideshow” etc. It is important to leave some whitespace in the calendar and in our hearts to check in with God and make sure we are doing what we are doing for the right reasons. As always, awesome post!! Thanks Claire

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    • Thanks so much for your comment Jess. Funny how the end of the school year can be the slipperiest slope. We see that light at the end of the tunnel. So we rev it up, and then lose our way in the process. Good for you for recognizing that. Stay strong in your “Sacred No.”

      Liked by 1 person

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