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August 06, 2007

How ’Bout a Little Off-Roading?

Offroading Lately I’ve been talking about focusing on what has been placed before you right now, in concordance with Jen Marshall’s book, Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century. Now, I would like to take a different angle. While we do need to focus on today instead of always thinking of tomorrow, we also cannot just live completely in today. If we don’t have a forward mindset at all, then what purpose do we have, in the end? If we don’t have Christ-minded thinking and a Christ-centered focus, then our today-focus won’t be worth the trouble.

“When our identity is anchored in Christ and we have a sense of belonging to Him,” says Marshall, “He becomes the reference point by which we set the course of our lives.”

As important as it is to not be worried about the future, we can’t stop thinking about it altogether. There is definitely a balance, and that balance is different for each person. We should set our sights on Christ; He is the best reference by which one could ever set his or her life! Think about it, how amazing would life be if every person modeled Jesus’ very footsteps? If everyone played the game completely by His guidelines?

Marshall uses an example of driver’s training to describe this concept. I can relate to her, because I, about five years ago, had to go through driver’s training as well. When I was learning to drive, I distinctly remember my instructor telling me not to focus on the road directly in front of my car. “Focus on the road a little bit ahead, ever so often glancing a bit further, and the car will easily maneuver those turns, since you have anticipated them and prepared for them,” is something like what he would say to me. He told me if I focused on the road directly in front of the car, that I wouldn’t be able to see what was coming, and the driving would be a lot more frantic, erratic, and accident-prone.

So how about a little off-roading?

It’s definitely a thrill at first. A little adventure never hurt anyone! But when it comes right down to it, if I don’t have my sights fixed on God in the days, months, and years ahead, and instead am so intently focused on what’s right in front of my face and can’t see the next bump in the road, I’ll end up overreacting to everything that comes along, because I’m surprised and scared and couldn’t see it coming. 

Everyone needs a little training. God tries to get our attention daily and show us that while life is about today, it’s also about tomorrow and ultimately about Him. We shouldn’t worry about what will happen tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). What we do need to worry about is where our focus is, and where we wanted to end up. Romance and marriage are things that are good, things that we desire, and things that often are a long time in coming. These are things that often-times just happen and don’t happen when we want them to or expect them to. But just because you don’t know when it will happen doesn’t mean you should constantly yearn for that road up ahead, or be so worried about it you don’t see it coming.

No, you should anticipate it, and expect it, but don’t worry yourself silly about it. What I’m starting to learn everyday is that when I focus on Christ and make Him my reference point, I will end up in that place eventually. It’s a process, and some roads are shorter, longer, or more unstable then others, but each can and will, when centered on Christ, lead to the same destination.

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