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Drop, Focus, Consider

Let's admit it, there are just times when we don't feel like anybody 'gets' where we are at or what is going on in our lives! They say they understand, but do they truly? Do we walk alone in this struggle? We certainly feel that we do! Truth be told, there are hundreds upon hundreds who have walked that path already - maybe not as us, but they have faced similar fears, anxious moments, inability to trust others, and all those similar emotions to ours. Were their circumstances identical to ours? Not likely, but their underlying spiritual, emotional, and perhaps even physical responses to the circumstances were the same! Humans react similarly to life stresses, so we really are not 'alone' in our struggle - even when we think it is unique to just us. We 'stand surrounded' by those who have gone before us...let us learn from their examples what NOT to do, as well as what TO do.

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

We are to drop the 'extra weight' we are attempting to carry - that is the first lesson we must learn and learn well. We all attempt to carry things upon our shoulders that were never ours to bear. We assume no one else will carry it, but is that the truth? Even our guilt is not something God ever intended for us to carry around. He gave us the capacity to 'feel' guilt so we'd know when we needed to turn to him for the forgiveness of the sin that caused the guilt to be there in the first place. But...the guilt is not ours to bear as a 'weight' we must carry. It is to be lifted at his feet, never again to be born by us! There are times when people want to put the 'weight' of what is going wrong in a relationship totally upon us, but if we are totally honest with each other, it takes two to be involved in a relationship, so no ONE person is totally to blame for the relationship 'woe'. We each play a part and this is how we get through them - by taking responsibility for our part, finding a way to resolve it, and move on together.

We are also to 'stay focused' on Jesus. That statement clearly implies there are a whole lot of things we can get focused on that aren't going to serve us well. What is that thing that has the majority of your focus right now? If you are like the rest of your neighbors right now, it is this viral attack that has our world in an uproar right now. Yes, we need to be wise in where we go, what we do, and who we are surrounded by at this moment. No, we don't need to make this the ultimate focus of our lives. We still need to focus on relationship - with Jesus first, then with each other. We need to create a culture in our lives that allows our focus to be 'limited' to those things that will uplift, encourage, admonish, and keep us motivated toward growth. The other things that might creep into our focus are not worth our continual attention!

We are to consider his life and example, never losing heart or growing weary. Now, that is something to aspire to - never losing heart when challenges get a little too tough for us, or growing weary when the day's demands are heavier than we'd have liked them to be. You know what? As we drop the extra weight we are carrying, getting things into correct focus in our lives, it becomes easier for us to look to Christ's example and learn from it! We find we have an uplifted heart and a sense of soaring above the challenges instead of being drawn down by them. Just sayin!

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