Saturday, February 6, 2016

Focus + Seed Tending = Change

Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."  He was so true in this perception of not only his inventive creations, but in plain old, everyday living!  The problems we create will never be overcome or changed into something different than "the same old problems" until we change the way we have been thinking about them!  To change our thought process we often need to change what we are focusing on so much. I have said this before, but it bears repeating.  If we always see the problem, we will never see the solution standing just beyond it!  If all I see is the river in front of me, raging out of control and making it hard to pass over to the other side, I will likely not see the bridge being lowered from the other side!
 
Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. (Psalm 51:10 VOICE)

Restoration is a process of not only being "clean" of the sin in our lives, but of being able to look beyond the sin.  We can ask for forgiveness when we have done something we are not very excited about doing, but if all we keep thinking about is that thing we asked forgiveness for, will we never move beyond that thing?  Nope!  It will still be the thing we focus on - anchoring us to the same place we have always been!  Then we wonder why we aren't moving beyond it!  Truth is we could have, but we didn't take our eyes off it long enough to see our way beyond it!  The drawbridge was being lowered, but we missed it because all we saw was the raging waters of our sin!

Our psalmist hit something on the head when it comes to "seeing things from a new perspective".  He reminds us we need a sense of being brand new to be what moves us from where we always have been into the place we want to be. I don't know how you "sense" things in your life, but I have to "picture" myself or the object I am trying to move toward in a certain way.  For example, if I want to see flowerbeds take shape in my backyard, I have to first walk the space to see how far I want them to extend into the yard, looking carefully at where the sprinkler system could be tied in so I can get water to the beds.  In my mind's eye, a picture is being created.  I am seeing something which is not yet there, but which I am envisioning will take shape.  I am sensing what it will be like to realize the beauty of the bed in that place.

The same is true when I want to move beyond those "problematic" areas in my life which might plainly be called those "sinful areas" of my life.  If I want to move beyond them, I have to picture something different than what I have been doing, saying, or thinking!  I have to allow a new focus to take form within my mind's eye!  I don't think we do this in a vacuum, though.  It isn't something WE create, but rather it is something which is created within us - in seed form.  It is part of being "cleansed" of our sin.  We receive that seed form of what change will look like, but for full restoration to take place, we have to cultivate the seed!  We have to believe growth is possible.  We must do what we know to do and leave the rest up to God to help with the growth process.  I plant seeds in my garden in the yard all the time.  I do what I am capable of doing, such as choosing the right location, planting at the right depth, cultivating the soil around it, and then watering on a regular cycle.  The rest is up to God!  I don't "bring forth" the growth - he does!

What I can do is begin to change my focus.  When my focus is on the problem exclusively, all I see is the lack of growth. Restoration begins when we have a new "vision" in our minds of how something will be different.  I have begun many a home improvement "restoration" project, only to realize I didn't think thing through too well.  But...I took the steps to do something about the way things were and things DID change.  They might not have gone without a hitch, but they did change into something closer to what I imagined in my mind's eye.  This is how all change begins - by seeing things differently than we have always seen them.  We don't always control the means by which change will be accomplished, but we can control what we focus on while the change is taking place!  Just sayin!