Losing My Focus

Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-GZ via @blestbutstrest #inspirememondayMy Super Bowl XLIX experience disappointed me. And not because of the final score—sure, I wanted the Seahawks to win, but at least both teams played well and the match seemed even. The Patriots were my second choice for winners, but hey, we can’t always get our preferences.

What disappointed me the most? NBC seemed to have problems with its online coverage. Last year, I watched the entire game and all the commercials with nary a glitch. This year, I saw a “NBC Coverage Will Resume Shortly” sign for a good third of the game and only four commercials.

I confess to watching the Super Bowl for more than the athletic contest—for years I’ve loved the new commercials that aired during the game. In between the stress of cheering for a team, I could laugh and enjoy the witty humor of advertising teams.

In recent years, though, the commercials seem more crass than crafted. This year, only four commercials made it to my screen. None of them made me laugh. One of them left me hoping that everyone involved was secretly poking fun at today’s society and the way they crave instant information from celebrities.

I must also confess that I used to read People Magazine on line (back when ‘on line’ simply meant a web site with words and a photo or two and connecting to the Internet involved a landline and pterodactyl-like noises as my computer connected). I used to watch television, too. I also went to see movies when they came out and avidly watched every episode of Friends and ER. I longed for more money so I could purchase designer clothes and hated the fact that we couldn’t provide our children with music lessons, gymnastics AND league volleyball or soccer, as well as their own little designer duds. Did I mention that we faithfully went to church each week, where I taught toddler classes and kept my children under control during the sermons?

A lot has changed since then. Cancer. Debt. Job loss. Growth (mostly mine—although our daughters are now in their 20s).

When you almost lose your spouse, you suddenly realize that the latest celebrity’s fidelity (or lack thereof) really doesn’t matter. When debts pile up from cancer costs, magazine subscriptions and cable get cut first. When the uncertain economy rips the rug of a good job out from underneath you, it’s hard to care about the Kardashians (call me a cavewoman, but I vaguely know there are more than one of them, I have no idea why they are famous—I’ve never seen one in a movie (not that I watch many) or a TV show).

What I have discovered is that my God is faithful. (tweet this)  Pedro is alive today because of God—not because of some miracle cure. Each hardship has shaped us and given us tools for God to use us, really use us, just where he wants us (even if I moan and groan a little bit about living in such a small town in the middle of the desert). I don’t slavishly attend church each week because I think I should. I attend church because I want to worship with other believers—and some times, I spend the day in the great outdoors because I want to worship God alone.

Which brings me back to the T-Mobile commercial where Kim Kardashian bemoaned the fact that with other carriers, people lost their unused data each month—data they could be using to look at her, what she wore, where she vacations and what she’s doing each second of the day. Like I said, I really hope the intent was tongue-in-cheek and she sought to poke fun at those who actually do all of those things.

All the game and the commercial did for me was to make the You Version Bible verse of the day jump out at me and make me wonder if there’s a heavenly conspiracy afoot.

“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16 (HCSB)

In retrospect, I can see that verse played out in my life. Maybe it all started with Diana Spencer’s engagement to Prince Charles, but the fascination certainly sucked me in. The more I paid attention to the world—it’s fashion, style, trends and concerns, the more I craved the latest knowledge of the world. I poured a lot of time, energy and money into worrying about what the world thought. I lost my focus.

Different things of the world entice each of us in different ways. I’ve discovered that I can only keep my focus on what’s ‘real’ if I am constantly growing in my relationship with my heavenly Father. What about you? Have you ever struggled to maintain your focus?

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!

Take a moment to visit the other hostesses, too! Angie, Cindy, and Denise.

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Great truth. Thanks for sharing.
    Amanda recently posted…My Faith StoryMy Profile

  • Anita, I think we’ve all gotten sucked into that Entertainment Tonight vacuum at least once in our lifetime – staying there is dangerous (IMO). We do not subscribe to cable tv and I am so grateful for the $100/month savings! We DO have a Roku and can select what we see – and it works well for us. I continue to learn just what is and what is not important in the scheme of things. I want to lay up my treasure in heaven not in the things of this world. Great post.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…what i learned in januaryMy Profile

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s found the way out of the sinkhole ;). We have three or four programs that we watch on Amazon Prime or Netflix (my husband watches a lot of the nature shows and documentaries on Netflix, too), but I’d much rather read a good book!

  • My Super Bowl job was taking care of the dogs, and staying out of the way so my wife could watch it. With the deal that goes along with dying, I’d rather read something that inspires me to keep crawling toward the Light, and to keep the faith.

    Yesterday it was Nicholas Irving’s :”The Reaper”, detailing his service as a sniper in Afghanistan. Our time in the profession is separated by a generation, but I felt like I was among friends.

    Speaking of the what’s now become Sniper Chic, here’s the link to what I would post on Inspire me Monday…”So I Married A Sniper”…

    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…So I Married A SniperMy Profile

    • Have you read Unbroken? What a testament to faith and the power of God to change and heal. I love good biographies! I’ll have to check out The Reaper.

  • Pingback: My Faith Story - Airman 2 Mom()

  • Oh, Anita … so well said.

    Life and death crises have a very keen, startling way of cutting out all the dross, all the junk, all of life’s trivials that are oh-so-unnecessary. And give us laser focus on what truly matters.

    And that’s a reminder that we need. Often.

    Hugs for you today, friend!
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…Team Us: Marriage Together * Party Giveaway #1My Profile

    • Thanks for the hugs! Sometimes we forget that we are to be refined in the fire (that doesn’t sound very comfortable, does it?) in order to burn out the dross. But the results will always be worth it!

  • Anita, God’s Word so beautifully tells me what I need to remember and remember again. I know how easily we can become ensnared in the web of the world. Praising God that He is always near and when I reach for Him, His hand holds mine.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    ~ linda recently posted…Journaling Your Way Through Caregiving, Part 2, @ Soli Deo Gloria ConnectionsMy Profile

    • Amen! I’m glad he’s always gently shepherding me back to where I belong!

  • i’m with you on all the celebrity news. i have seen that kim khardasian (i know i don’t have that spelled right!) commercial. surely it has to be tongue in cheek. the commercial i found refreshing was sponsored by always (i think). it was the one about running or jumping like a girl. i loved seeing how the younger girls responded to it:) their answer on what it means to run like a girl? you run as fast as you can! what a great response:) if you haven’t seen the whole commercial, you will love it:) especially in light of the experiences you have lived through!
    martha brady recently posted…SORTING THROUGH OLD FILES…My Profile

    • I’ll have to look that one up! The best commercial from last year didn’t even get accepted for airing. It was made by a coalition of Native Americans.

  • Amen sister! I am with you all the way. I was there with you in the Friends and ER era too (even if we are at different places in life). I was so into the Entertainment news and the lust and discontentment that can often entangle you when you become engrossed in that stuff. I am so grateful for the freedom that has come by the Grace of God. I not longer have any desire whatsoever to dive into all of that garbage.
    Messy Mom recently posted…I Am Trying to Talk to YouMy Profile

    • Amen for freedom! The sad thing is, people from other countries think that all Americans watch all the movies and follow all the television programs and speak and talk and swear just like in the movies. They’re a little surprised to meet Americans who aren’t like that ;).

  • Love this post! I was hoping the same thing, with that commercial. And even though the puppy and other tear-jerking commercials were cute, they were so manipulative. Anyway. There was a time when I read People magazine and watched TV and movies, though not tons of them, and now I can happily say I don’t give a biscuit what goes on in celebrity lives. The people I want to talk to are the people in my life…and authors, if we’re talking “famous” people (authors are not usually rich and famous!), because I have so much to learn from them and I admire the work they do and the people they are, not the things they wear and the places they go.

    Also, I read way more books than I watch TV. Right now it’s only Downton Abbey. I’m my mother’s daughter. 😉
    Laura recently posted…Five Tips On Getting Things DoneMy Profile

    • Authors are so much more interesting! Did you see that Harper Lee is going to publish the sequel to TKAMB?! The manuscript was lost but recently found.

  • God has a way of stripping the outer layer so we can see what really matters. Thanks for reminding us all.
    Martha Mason recently posted…Rememberance of FaithfulnessMy Profile

    • Amen. Thank you for stopping by, Martha :).

  • Great truths. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Laura recently posted….be brave.My Profile

  • Hey! Thought I would pop over since you popped over first! hehe I learned a lot about you from this post so now I am super happy that I did come over. Also, I found a linkup for Mondays! Naturally I will forget by next week but right now I am totally excited! I love linkups, they encourage me to write even if I don’t really think i have anything to say, because lets face it, every thought we have can easily turn into something worthy of sharing!
    Anyway, you write beautifully and I will do my best to make it a habit of hopping over here at least once a week 🙂
    Marisa recently posted…Painful PruningMy Profile

    • I’ll have to remind you about the link up over the weekend :). Thank you for popping by to say hello!

  • It is so easy for me to lose my focus as well. Yep, I need to keep God in my sights too.
    And I need to NOT be overly busy.

    Thanks for causing me to have a mini reflection of where I am focus-wise. Today? Not too bad..
    susan recently posted…12 Ways to Develop Community at CNC This WinterMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Susan :). It’s easy to get sucked into the busy trap, isn’t it? Have a wonderful day!

  • Donne

    You’re not alone, Anita, in wondering why the Khardasians are famous. As I understand it, from the 3 minutes I thought about it, they are the ex-wife and daughters of one of the lawyers who defended OJ Simpson and step-daughters of Bruce Jenner. Mama decided her girls should be famous and spent literally millions of dollars putting them in front of the media at every opportunity until they got their own cable show where people watch them go through their “ordinary” lives.

    So, one has to ask, why is it that the media is so ready to make ‘stars’ out of nobodies? Is it just the money? Why can’t they focus on real ordinary people who go through their lives, making their way the best that they can? What about the viewing audience? Are they all so ‘stuck’ in their own lives that they need to watch other people’s lives go into a tailspin to feel better? Talk about losing focus! Thanks for the reminder that we need to maintain a focus on the important things; those that will make our life a more positive place to be.

    • Thank you for the history lesson–isn’t that child abuse? I’m not sure where our insatiable desire to live vicariously through other people’s lives comes from. Perhaps a whole in our own lives that we think can be filled with someone else’s story–when in reality, it can only be filled by God’s love story for us.

  • Confession – I didn’t watch a single second of the superbowl this year. I was at a get together with friends. There were kids…and my kids…and a hot grill…enough said.

    But I can say I have been getting the same Truth that you have my friend…just in John 15 (different passage, a lot like the same Truth). Love this and LOVE that I finally got a chance to connect here again! You inspire me!
    Bethany Boring recently posted…One Branch RemainsMy Profile

    • I’ll bet some of those kids were in their twenties, too ;). I love how God seems to inspire many of us to write about the same theme at around the same time–there’s someone out there that needs the message, and it’s popping up all over the place!