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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