Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Shifted Focus

"Have you ever stopped to consider that when you complain about the weather, you're essentially telling God that He doesn't know what He's doing?"

Once upon a snarky mood of mine, someone actually said that to me when I was complaining about the weather. Of course being the humble and teachable soul that I am, my first reaction was to deny it and defend my complaints. Then, the more I thought about the statement the more I realized that indeed that is exactly what I was doing. Color me guilty of this one, big time.

I'm one of those people that if I have to be uncomfortable due to weather extremes, I'd much prefer to be HOT than cold. In the heat you can always throw yourself in the pool, drop a wet towel around your neck, or stand in front of a fan. But when it's cold, it's a different story for me. I inherited thick blood which means my circulation is slower than average, which results in feeling like I'm freezing to death when the temp goes below about 65. I have numerous fleece jackets all over the house just in case I need to grab one real quick. I have my infamous Abominable Snowman slippers, and lots and lots of really thick socks. I also have a stack of blankets in the room I spend the most time in, in case I need one. When I get cold, I hurt, my toes go numb and it's a rather miserable existance. There are many times when the only solution is to stop everything and defrost in an extremely hot bath. In other words, being uncomfortable in cold weather is a huge inconvenience for me and my family as well.

I certainly don't mean to sit around and grumble about the weather like a cranky old woman, but I sure have been known to do it at times. I also don't mean to presume to know better than God about His plans for the weather. If it's insanely hot, it's by His design. If I wake up tomorrow to 6 feet of snow, it's also by His design. Who in the world do I think I am to tell Him He should have done things differently?

The thing is, none of us really think of it that way. At least I hope none of us actually think we know better than Him about the weather, or anything else for that matter. Rather, we just have this propensity to express our dislike for being uncomfortable - no matter what the situation is. It could be weather, or finances, or the rotten way we're treated on the job, or the kids who drive us nuts sometimes - or any number of other things that happen in any given day.

What does the Bible say about this?

Well, there are two verses that always come to mind and while they are certainly not speaking directly to this issue, they absolutely apply to our general attitude about any issue.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Cor. 10:31)
Do all things without murmurings and disputings (Philippians 2:14)

The emphasis there is mine, and I put it there because this is the attitude we're supposed to have no matter what is going on, no matter what we're doing, saying, feeling, thinking, etc.

I don't know about you, but this is a hard one for me. When I find myself in a difficult situation I tend do a bit of grumbling about it, rather than approach it with the attitude that says "Praise God, He is in control and His will be done!". While I absolutely believe that, there are times when unpleasant circumstances shift my focus and cause me even for a second or two, to forget who's really in charge of everything. Everything - good, bad, and everything inbetween.

If you're a photographer (hobby or professional) you know what a shifted focus will do to what could have been a most breathtaking shot. Even a slight shift in focus will ruin it. The angles are wrong, shadows are wrong, light is wrong and the subject is not where it should have been. It is exactly the same way in Christian living. Once the focus is shifted - even for a second - onto ourselves and our displeasure or discomfort, we've essentially railed against God and declared we know better than Him and it (whatever it is) should have been done a different way - OUR way.. Even if we didn't say it outloud or actually think it, in those words. It's evident in our displeased attitude. And we all do it.

I don't like a shifted focus in my photography, and I certainly don't like it in my Christian life. I'd much rather be in the place where I can honestly do all things without murmurmings and disputings - and do all for the glory of God.

Yep, that's where I want to be.