Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.
Don’t worry about missing out.
You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.
God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Matthew 6:33-34 (Message)
My sister started a drawing class a few weeks ago. Her first assignment intrigued me. She was to draw a common household item using charcoal, pencil, and chalk. What drew my attention was that she was to start with the background first. Once that was done, then she was to draw the object. The background, she explained, is what creates the depth, it reveals the shadows and the three dimensional aspects of the drawing.
I thought about how I usually start my paintings (mind you, I’ve had no training or classes, just a hobby I’ve picked up recently). I focus on the object, carefully drawing it, then filling it in with paint, and finally, if I’m creative, then I do the background. Sometimes I leave it blank, sometimes I just paint it a neutral color, but I always do it last, as an afterthought. Although I enjoy the end result, I’m often struck by the flatness of my painting. I have never learned to create dimension.
My sister shared how it was a major paradigm shift for her. Our brains are used to focusing on the object, allowing everything around it to fade to the background. She talked about the challenge of retraining her brain to see the background first. To allow it to create the many dimensions of the drawing before adding the object.
Several days later, my prayer partner and I were discussing Matthew 6:33-34. Jesus is talking about worry; about our human tendency to worry about life, provision, and money. In essence, what we naturally focus on. He goes on to encourage us to give our full attention to God’s activity, trusting as we do, that the needs will fall into place.
The drawing assignment came to mind. I saw the object (in my sister’s drawing, a small vase), as what I choose to worry about. It’s my natural focus. It’s where I usually start. It draws my attention.
But, what if I were to start with the background?
What if I were to change the paradigm and focus on the activity of God rather than the problem?
I see in my mind’s eye the background—all the space around the problem, the immense activity of a God who is constantly in motion, working all things for good, providing for His much loved children. Isn’t that what Jesus is talking about?
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now.”
More often than not, I lose sight of what God is doing. I easily forget that He is in the background, doing things that I’m completely unaware of as I trudge through my day. My focus then resettles on the problem, giving it much more attention than it deserves.
As I shift my focus back to His activity, life becomes more vivid, more brilliant. God’s movement reveals His glory.
What about you?
Where do you find your focus?
On the small vase in the center of the drawing, or on the background which provides the beauty, dimension, and movement?