In the strain of life, where can we find focus?

How do you focus when life is too much?

• When the days seem to end before you can gather your thoughts?
• When the piles of dirty clothes don’t get smaller even though the washer and dryer run all day?
• When the dishwasher is full of clean dishes you can’t find time to put away while more dirty dishes fill the sinks and spill out on the counters?
• When one child can’t get settled and the other child can’t remember to be kind?
• When the bills are piling up and the money is short?
• When illnesses won’t stop?
• When the ache in your heart is disabling?
• When all is wrong in the world and the weight of the world seems to sit on your shoulders?
• When there seems to be no end to the arguing among adults who know better?
• When we can’t watch TV or see movies, billboards or social media without being bombarded with the objectification of people, all people—children, teens, women, men, all colors and races?
• When the cry of the people is dismissed?
• When the very heartbeat of the nation feels like a heart attack?
• When the followers of Christ appear to be more divided than unified?

In the midst of it all, how do we focus?

In the midst of it all, Jesus will give us rest

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary” (Matthew 11:28).

Do we go to Jesus? Do we stop and find the words of Jesus and focus on them, find solace and peace in them? Do we take a moment actually to seek Jesus first, seek Jesus’ will, seek Jesus’ way, seek Jesus’ plan or call or kingdom?

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Seek first his kingdom (Matthew 6:33). It’s not just an old worship song; it’s Scripture.

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Let us not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9) for our time here on Earth is to shine the light of Jesus and to be the salt of Jesus (Matthew 5:13-16). We must do more than just survive. We are called to live in the midst of it all as salt and light.

How can we be salt and light when we are so hard-pressed?

Using everyday things as pointers to Jesus

When we awake tired at the beginning of the day, let us thank Jesus for a new day and a fresh start.

When we wash the mounds of laundry that never end, let us thank Jesus for clothes and washers and dryers.

When we sort out all the dirty and clean dishes—not to mention the rest of the mess in the house, let us thank Jesus for the food we eat and the people in our homes.

When the children have hard days, let us thank Jesus that we know what it’s like. We have been there and can offer the children grace, just as we have had grace lavished on us.

When the bills are never-ending, let us ask Jesus to calm our hearts and give us clear minds to address them, and let us never be too proud to seek out help.

When the sickness won’t stop, let us ask the Holy Spirit for healing and also for endurance.

When the ache in our hearts is disabling, let us thank God for community and cling tightly to the promise that Jesus will never leave us.

When we can’t figure out the world and the sickness of it—the undoing that seems to be ever-present, let us thank God we can be a part of the solution and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us.

When we see objectification all around us, let us speak up and be strong enough to make a stand and say, “No more!”

When the cry of the people is dismissed, let us work harder to make truth be more important than agendas.

When the heartbeat of our nation feels like a heart attack, let us be ready to perform CPR and restore life.

When the followers of Christ seem to be more divided than unified, let us hold out peace to our sisters and brothers who believe differently than we do.

Jesus never promised this life would be easy. Jesus did promise to be with us. I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit and the comfort and peace that only the Spirit provides.

As we follow Jesus, we can choose to allow the strain of life to take over, or we can choose to focus on Jesus. May our eyes ever be on our Savior.

Dalese Black was a volunteer children’s ministry director and a self-supporting collegiate missionary. She has a Masters in Christian Education, is a mother of two children and is married to Eric Black, executive director, publisher and editor of the Baptist Standard. The views expressed are those solely of the author.

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