The Focal Point

From the time my girls were little bitty they were aspiring ballerinas.  The love for the dance came with a gift of two tutus that a friend had found.  Their Grandma took them and spruced them up.  The girls, ages 3 and 5, fell in love with them the moment they put them on.  Days and days, hours and hours of twirling and prancing around the house in what was just a hand me down. To them it was the ultimate princess outfit.  As they grew the Barbie Movies- “The Nutcracker”, “Swan Lake”, etc.  reinforced the desire to dance.  As they grew, I finally got them set up with dance lessons with a friend.  They were thrilled.  I sat on the side lines as they learned the basic moves of ballet.  Most of the time quietly whispering to the mom next to me as we visited and waited.

Every once in awhile I would hear the instructor give the girls a little tip on how to do one of the harder moves more effectively.  In one of the dances they were learning, they were supposed to twirl from one corner of the rectangular dance floor to the other.  A move that I am certain, if I attempted it, I would land flat on my back from the dizziness.  Their instructor told them that the best way to make it from point A to point B while twirling across the floor was to have a focal point picked out on the wall that they were going to.  She said to start by twirling slowly and to watch for the point with each turn as they moved towards it.  Sure enough the more they practiced it, the more straight their path from point A to point B became and the less dizzy they felt.

I’ve often thought about that ballet lesson in the years since then.  There’s actually something quite profound in the simplicity of it that can be applied to some of the most complex, stressful situations.  There are times life feels like we are spinning around and around while we are trying to go from one point to the other.  With current events as they are, this is one of those times.  If I allow my eyes to get off my focal point, it’s quite possible to end up either flat on the floor with my head spinning, full of anxiety, depression, fear, etc.  Or I may just end up way off course. It is my continually going back to my focal point that keeps me going the right direction.

Peter in the Bible learned that lesson pretty quick.  Not in a ballet class, but in a boat far from shore.  Peter had went out on a boat with the other disciples ahead of Jesus to go to another town.  When the boat was being buffeted by the waves they looked up and saw what looked like a ghost to them walking toward them.  Peter recognized that the ghost was not a ghost at all, but it was Jesus. He had the courage to ask if he could come out on the water with Jesus, and Jesus told him to come.  As Peter walked along, he started to notice the wind and waves around him.  He took his eyes off the focal point, Jesus.  That is when he began to sink, but it is also the time that Jesus bent down and lifted him back up saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Last night I had a short time of looking at the waves, or in ballet terms getting my eyes off my focal point.  The waves of the evening news, situations I am aware of, what seems like a never ending/ ever increasing plague. At times, it feels like my comfortable American life is going down the drain. Uncertainty of the future… spinning around and around, going off course…

This morning I awoke to the picture of my sweet girls wearing their tutus in my mind. I kept thinking, “Watch the focal point, always get back to the focal point”.  When I sat down with my cup of coffee and my Bible this morning, I kept contemplating keeping my eyes on Jesus, my focal point.  I read a short devotion from a book my daughter let me borrow. It quoted a Psalm that David wrote.  Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”  David experienced times of plenty, times of lack, times of peace, times of war, but he had found the one thing that kept him.  He returned to his focal point, God.  His desire was to dwell in His presence, to behold God’s beauty. No matter the situation, No matter the storm, No matter how much my world spins: I must keep my focus on Jesus. I am also thankful that when it seems like I can’t get my focus on Him.  He takes hold of my hand like He did Peter and pulls me back up on top the water, and He is the one who with a word calms the storm. He has me and as we traverse this storm of current events together. Look to Jesus. He has you too!

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