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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Fresh Start

Thomas Edison said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."  Just in case you hadn't noticed this fact, the only time we really see the obstacles the clearest is when we have redirected our focus from the goal toward the obstacles.  I don't enjoy painting a room because I see all the obstacles - the cutting, high ceilings which will require me to go up and down the ladder way more than I really want to, and all the furniture which must be moved out of the way to accomplish the task.  I do love a clean, freshly painted room, and a fresh "redo" once in a while to just change things up.  So, if I am ever to get to the point of having those freshly painted walls, I need to keep that goal in mind - not the obstacles to accomplishing it!  Some of us would do well to stop being so "obstacle-focused" and a little more "goal-focused" if we are to realize some of the things we want to accomplish in life!

If we say we have an intimate connection with the Father but we continue stumbling around in darkness, then we are lying because we do not live according to truth. If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins. If we go around bragging, “We have no sin,” then we are fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. (I John 1:6-9 VOICE)

One of the biggest obstacles which often stands in our way is something scripture labels as sin.  In plain terms, sin is any attempt to hit the mark and then missing.  It is kind of like in archery when you shoot the arrow at the bulls-eye on the target, but totally miss the target entirely!  We often find ourselves seeing our past sins as our obstacles to ever becoming what we want to become.  We see them, focus on them, and then find we are discounting our ability to overcome them, so why even try.  We are simply continuing to "stumble around in darkness" when we get our focus off the goal.  The goal - to become like Jesus.  The means - Jesus himself.  The obstacle - us.  There it is!  That is how we talk ourselves out of even trying - we see ourselves (including our past mistakes and blunders) as obstacles to ever being like Jesus.  We make "becoming like Jesus" an obstacle of its own!

The path to the goal is usually riddled with obstacles. Truthfully, I haven't found anything worthwhile ever comes to me without some type of obstacle.  Even when my daughter gets "free stuff" because she is a blogger and they want her to try out their things, they come with some type of obstacle.  She has deadlines to meet to post about the product she is trialing, or she has to remake a room to accommodate the new item she has received.  These are definitely obstacles in my book.  If you give me "free stuff", I just want free stuff! I don't want to have to "redo" my life to get it!  Now, she does it because it is what she does for a living - she is a blogger and she appreciates free stuff.  The obstacles might get in her way once in a while, like when deadlines come one right on top of the other, but she does it because she is passionate about it. Could it be our passion is key to our focus?

Whatever we are passionate about seems to remove some of the continual focus we place on the obstacles in our way. Sure, we occasionally see them and become a little frustrated by the fact they are there, but we don't become consumed by the obstacles.  We push them aside and move on.  I think sin's greatest opportunity in our lives is when we cannot push those failures aside.  When we focus on them and become consumed with having missed the mark, we find it hard to move beyond wherever the sin has us at that moment. Edison had it right - our greatest weakness is not in falling, but in giving up when we do.  

When we own up to our sins, it is as though we are acknowledging there is an obstacle in our way - it is getting between us and God.  "Owning up to the obstacle" is part of getting beyond it.  We don't overcome sin by ignoring it, much like we don't just walk around a huge tree sprouting up in the middle of the roadway.  We have a tendency to just "divert our path" in life when obstacles present themselves. God has a different plan - he wants to remove those obstacles so we don't have a tendency to focus on them all the time! If we confess our "obstacles", he is faithful and just to remove them!  Just sayin!