“Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom” Psalm 90:12
Within the last week I have heard of the untimely deaths of seven people I have known. Though each has graduated to heaven, the realization of life, loss and death have hit heavy on my own heart. After the shock subsided each time, I heard news of the next one.
With the reality of the brevity of life so close this week, I have wrestled through the night thinking about purpose and the use of my days. I have thought of who I am living for and who I am expending energy trying to please. I have prayed for the families experiencing the losses and prayed for myself to be rid of anything that is keeping me at arm’s length of living fully today.
Imagine my surprise the other morning when praying and God spoke softly and sweetly to my heart, telling me that I waste time. Waste time? Hmmm….could this be the voice of the Lord? I asked if it was He who was pressing this on my heart and I got an affirmative. Then I began to ask Him to show me how I waste time and what to do about it … the answer is not what I expected.
I figured maybe it was too much television, shopping, recreation. But, no, that was not the time-wasting in my life at all, it was actually deeper than any of those. I waste time by allowing my mind to go places it doesn’t need to go. I frequent a mental place called, The Funk, and often just wallow there for hours, sometimes days. For those unfamiliar with The Funk, can I just say it is a place of a dejected, discouraged mood. ( That is Webster’s definition).
As if I never learned any of this before, it all has become a new lightbulb moment. I have an enemy, the battlefield is my mind and he works overtime to tempt me to allow my mind to go places it doesn’t need to go. If he can’t get me to do other things, he works on tempting me to thinking that causes defeat, discouragement, shame and feelings of dejection. The longer I stay in this funky place the more time of my life is wasted. Each of us only have a limited number of days, why waste them allowing our thoughts to be negative and painful?
If you can relate, let me share what gets us into this place and how to get out! For each the cause or circumstance will be different but the problem is exactly the same. The problem is our focus. When our focus gets “off” we get funky, eyes get on self, our problems, negative feelings and the current circumstances. This is the enemies greatest way of derailing us. Since focus is the issue, then focus will be the solution as well.
There is a reason we are taught in Scripture to set our focus on things above. When we set our focus, choosing where we will allow our focus to be, the enemy can not get a spiral going. In Lamentations we see Jeremiah getting funky. He got his focus on himself and on everything that was negative and began a mental spiral into a bad perspective. Look at how he turned it around:
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:19-23
You see, he stated prior that he was a man who had seen affliction. He wasn’t a wimp, he had real life stuff going on. Hard stuff. So naturally, just like us, it was easy for him to focus on the stuff. But that focus led him down a wrong path mentally. When he began to LOOK UP, his mental attitude began to change.
If you, like me, have found yourself wasting time mentally spinning about stuff in your life… hurt feelings, bad relationships, lost opportunities and hardships, then pay attention to what we can learn here. Instead of focusing on bitter things how can you and I lift our gaze to better things?
Just some thoughts from someone who doesn’t want to waste the precious days I have spinning a web of discontent and discouragement.
“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge…keep me from the snares.” Psalm 141:8