Questions, answers, and Focus

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Do you ever get asked questions that you just don’t know exactly how to answer?  You know those questions about life that you really don’t have the answers to.  I get asked  questions all the time that I either don’t know the answer to, or the questions that I don’t really want to answer, or even those you are tired of answering.

Here are a few examples, but I am sure there are many more that could be added.  In high school there are the questions; what do you want to do when you grow up, where do you want to go to college, what do you want to major in, are you going to be in a sorority/fraternity.  In college it was the questions;  where are you from, what is your major, what do you want to do when you graduate.  If you are in a relationship you are asked;  when are you getting married, where did you meet; is he/she nice, cute, etc…. .  If you are newly married; when are you going to have children, how’s married life.  If you are  single; why aren’t  you married, don’t you want children, why don’t you try online dating, aren’t you lonely, do you want to meet someone, do you want to be set up on blind date (wanting to set you up with someone just because you are both single and cute and no other reason), and then there is this…. I hope you don’t die alone…. 

No matter, in what stage of life you find yourself, there are always questions people ask about what is to come.  Sometimes those answer are clear and simple, sometimes the answer may be more complicated, sometimes there is not answer, or even the answer stirs up emotions that the individual does not want to share with just anyone.  In those questions there are many assumptions going on, on both sides of  the question.

However, there are questions that are not being asked.  Are you happy?  Are you content?  How is your relationship with Christ?  What is the best thing that happened today?  You see, in society, we tend to focus so much on what people don’t have or aren’t doing, and in doing so we forget that they may be doing a great deal where they are.  Not that they don’t desire different circumstances, but they may be using their days to the fullest where they are now.  People may be struggling with what they are without, and those questions may be a reminder to them of that struggle.  It isn’t bad to ask those questions, but ask the other one too.  Maybe even ask them first, and the answers to the other questions may be in the answers to the first ones.

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians he was giving practical counsel of how to live, giving examples in his own life.

     Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 
      Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
      I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me.You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.  I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.  Philippians 12:4-13

We could do an entire study on the Church at Philippi, and what they were experiencing and doing at the time, and how that translates to the church of today.  And, oh how Paul’s words ring true today.  It is so important to learn be content where we are, but also seek what God has next for us, as well.  Contentment does not mean the absence of desire for other things.  Being content, according to Dictionary.com, is being pleased and satisfied (feeling content) or making someone else feel happy and at peace with things.

So are you?  Are you at peace with where you are?  If not, what do you need to change?

In my experience, I usually have to adjust my focus.  It is when I am focused on what I don’t have or I compare my life to someone else that I become discontent and not satisfied with where I am at the moment.  I allow worry and anxiety to creep in where contentment should be.  In doing so I forget the words that Jesus spoke as He was teaching the crowds in what we now call “The Sermon on the Mount.”  This was toward the end of His address.

…Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these.  If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith?  So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.   Matthew 6:25-34

When I do adjust my focus, it is then that I begin to look at my situation and world differently.  It is not about me, but about glorifying Christ in all things.  And, while I may still desire different things in life, I must serve Him where I am now and look forward to what is to come.  He is always on time with what He has for us in life, because His timing is perfect.  I always say,  it is a good thing that God is God and I am not, because I would mess things up.

And sometimes, I have to re-focus daily… realizing that it is not all about me!  So, here is a new question:  How are you serving Him today, where you are at the moment?

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