After months of begging, I finally allowed my youngest daughter to watch the Netflix series, Stranger Things – but on one condition – that I watch it with her.
Kennedi had warned of the language and other questionable content within the series, so I wasn’t completely in favor of Kassadi watching. But I guess she wore me down with her pleading.
I’ll admit I was also a bit curious given all chatter the young people made when the 3rd season was released a few months earlier.
While visiting a friend and her family, who also had not seen the series, we got comfortable in front of their TV and kicked off the series. We had no idea how drawn in we would be and found ourselves binge-watching straight through midnight.
Amidst the protesting, we left after watching halfway through that 1st season. I did not want to struggle to get everyone up for church the next day, and we had a long day in front of us.
As intriguing as the story line was, I didn’t pay it much thought on the way home, or the next morning when I woke up. It indeed WAS strange, and I enjoyed the jumping, yelling, and laughing we all experienced while watching.
While taking notes in service the next day, the message touched upon staying focused on God. The minister shared a unique point that I had never heard before concerning the story of Adam and Eve. In the Garden of Eden they had all their needs met, and they had a supernatural connection to God.
After they ate from The Tree, their focus shifted from a life in perfect communion with God, to focusing on themselves. Their newly acquired knowledge revealed that they were naked, and they covered themselves and hid from God as a result of their shame.
Their sin caused them to now concentrate on their own selfish, sinful nature and desires, and focusing on God was no longer a priority.
The minister further shared the story of Peter walking on water towards Jesus. At this point I’m fully immersed, because this miracle has always fascinated me. It was the absolute definition of an impossible act.
And we are faced with so many things – doctor’s reports, financial situations, emotional burdens, broken relationships that seem utterly and absolutely impossible.
But Peter did the impossible, but it was ONLY because of his focus. He was focused on Jesus, who was already walking on the water. But the moment Peter’s focus moved from Jesus to the water, he began to sink.
How many of us are sinking right now because of what we are focused on?
Back to my story – after thinking about Peter’s focus while walking on water, my mind went to Stranger Things. (WARNING: This is not really a Spoiler Alert, but I may give away some of the plot if you haven’t watched.)
Winona Ryder does an amazing job as Joyce, the mother of a child who has experienced an unfortunate event. Episode after episode, she refused to believe what everyone else seemed to have accepted concerning the fate of her son.
She did not waiver in her belief, and she was FOCUSED on finding her son. Even to the point that she exhibited strange behavior that caused people, even those closest to her, to question her sanity.
But no matter what anyone said, she believed what she believed, and she was FOCUSED on finding any sign to confirm what she believed. Talk about a woman of faith!
That being said – I have no idea how this story line will play out, but this mother’s hope has inspired me to continue to believe the impossible with her. I’m trusting that this boy’s fate will be directly impacted by his mother’s faith and determination, and these writers better not disappoint me!
But even if they do, I will still follow this principle in my life because today’s Formation scripture reminds me that I have an amazing, magnificent, and purposeful author of my life, and that I should stay focused by always looking to Him. Because I can completely and wholeheartedly trust Him with the outcome of my story.
[And just know I’m writing this while fighting off waves of despair. I had to (once again) go back and ask myself did I really believe what I just wrote! This battle can be so viscous, but I managed to pull myself together.]
So join me: instead of focusing on ourselves – our unmet desires, our missed opportunities, our disappointments, our heartache, and our pain – let’s make an effort to focus on the Lord who is within our current circumstances. He’s absolutely there – somewhere! Even though we may not be able to feel Him right now (am I by myself on this one?)
So whatever it is that you’re trying to figure out within your own knowledge and strength, I encourage you to hand it over to Jesus, shift your complete focus on Him, and watch Him work! I know that’s what I’m going to do. In 3, 2, 1…
What is consuming your focus today? How is it making you feel and react?
What can you do to shift your focus on Jesus? Changing what you’re watching or reading? Examining your social circle?
How can you take any distracting thoughts captive?
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…