Maintaining Focus and Declaring Dependence

Life has shown me over and over again that it offers many things, and apparently trials are part of that offering.  We seek from life acceptance, success, health, benefits, money, love…….no one really asks for or wants trials.  No one wants to fail.  Not many, especially me, want to NEED.  And yet, when I DO find myself in the midst of a failure, or thrown about by trials, where is my focus?  On whom do I depend?

Too often, I am immersed in the trial, or the failure, and begin to think that they define me.  I even let the situation(s) overwhelm me.  This often leads to tears, or anger, or the rising of my pride in obstinate assault against the fact that I have failed.  And yet, soon follows the acceptance of the failure, defining me in yet another light.

But do you see something here?  Where has my focus been?  What am I depending on?  Right now, all that existed in the mix was ME.  Me, such a broken vessel, drowning in my own efforts, or submerged in the mire of the trial – not quite knowing what is up or down or if there is even an end in sight.  But, my dear friends, THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH – FOR ME OR FOR YOU!

As a Christian, I often hold onto the truth, and I have been humbly but clearly reminded today that the truth is not defined by my circumstances.  The truth is not designed around my health, or my accomplishments in my career, or even by epic failures that are sure to occur in my life.

And I must confess, as a Proud American, I often demand my independence.  It is foundational to our country, and the freedoms afforded Americans feed that – and I suppose rightly so!  We are blessed by these freedoms, yet they often feed us the lie that we are dependent on no one, except maybe ourselves.

Both the view of myself and the view of my independence is flawed.

The truth always has been and always will remain this – I am a child of God, created in His image.  I must focus on Him, and declare my dependence in all things to Jesus.  I am not in control, He is.  And no efforts on my part really change that – or can conquer anything that happens around me.  Nor do trials that surround me diminish the fact that Christ blesses me over and over again in small and huge ways everyday.  Even when I am sitting in the hospital, or raging in anger, or sleeping peacefully.  Even my successes don’t take the place of Jesus……what a novel idea!  And the truth is, I need to rejoice and focus on the REAL truth!

I was reminded something today –  I often take the Bible for granted, even though it is a big part of my life.  I received a Minor in college in Biblical Studies, and although I am not a theologian by any means, the Bible has had an intimate part in my life and education.  Yet, I often forget it is a LIVING THING.  It can and should influence my heart and remind me that Jesus has “got this covered”.  Here’s some of those messages:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:  “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 (NIV)

Why my dependence should be on Jesus (emphasis mine)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

May I be reminded – and remind you as well – when the winds of problems surround me, I am NOT in control, but instead depend on my Lord.  HE will not leave me nor forsake me.  I may have trials, yes, but I can and will rejoice in the fact that He is my Truth.  I am His.  He has me in His arms.  And though I might have scapes or pains or frustrations, He is right there with me.  And the blessing of not only KNOWING that but BELIEVING that, is amazing on my focus!

And, in closing, this truth also remains – even when I am deep in my own focus on suffering or self-pity, God is faithful.  For He supplies those who pray in my stead, lifting their voices to Him when I can’t, and intercede in my behalf.  If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is.  And look for more posts that reflect on how God has truly been blessing me, Deana, and the kids.  One such blessing has been our new church – Crossroads Community.  Thank you Lord!

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