Turn Your Focus Outward…


With so many people engaged in the pursuit of happiness, there is one principle that is absolutely sure. When your focus is yourself, you end up looking at yourself, dwelling on yourself, evaluating yourself and comparing yourself to others. And, the happiness you so ardently sought slips away imperceptibly, leaving you alone with yourself and miserable. When your focus is for others and what you can do to help them, your own happiness follows like your own shadow sure…

One of the greatest dichotomies in life is that when you seek yourself, your own self loses out. The more you study yourself, evaluate yourself and look within, the more you see your flaws, your imperfections, your foibles and your foolishness. And, in so doing, your confidence in yourself falters. Your focus is wrong. You’ve been tricked into trying to do what you need to do to be happy, not realizing that true happiness is found in what you can do for someone else. This is not to say that you cannot have dreams and goals or that you cannot pay attention to getting your own needs met, but rather, those things cannot be allowed to occupy your entire focus.

God’s grand design of life is very simple. He envisioned that you would rely on Him to supply all of your needs. In so doing and so trusting, you would be free to help your fellow man. The error behind self-focus is that you become the center of your own life and as such have to find out how to meet all of your own needs. You have to foolishly take on the role of being the God of your own life, minus all of the power, ability and love. Add to that not being able to see the future and you’ll find yourself in a precarious position. You want to be happy and Lord knows it has been a major focus in your life, so it behooves you try something new. Turn your focus outward…

Most Christians, and I do mean most Christians, find themselves in this situation, though by very different means. The believer has a heart for God and as such wants to do the things that please Him. However, they fail to recognize their spiritual opponent, also called the accuser, who accuses them night and day. In that accusation, he reminds them of God’s perfection and His perfect Word and then how they aren’t living up to that Word. He boldly and subtly points out their imperfections and where they come up short. And, instead of remembering to live their lives according to the accomplishments of another man (Jesus Christ) they try in vain to measure up on their own. They forget the “finished” work of Jesus Christ and add their own works of righteousness to be righteous before God. And, the harder they try, the more they come up short. They end up living their lives in perpetual condemnation, striving day by day to make their imperfect flesh perfect before Him. They cannot live for even five minutes without thinking about something they did wrong. Unknown to them, their focus is turned inward more and more, day by day, as they grow weaker and more miserable. They painfully recount all of their past moments, dwelling in and living out every failure, every misstep, every fault. Their solution isn’t more striving to be good, but rather to accept their Savior’s work; get out of their own head and help somebody else.

Have you ever noticed that the more you turn your focus inward, the more troubles you find? The longer you focus on something not working right in your body, the more negative things appear to focus on. The more you dwell on yourself, your situation, your life, the more your mind fills with petty worries and injuries and slights. The harder you press to get your own needs met, the more unmet needs you discover. But conversely, the less attention you pay to the so-called ills in your body, the better your body feels. The less you dwell on yourself and what you don’t have in your life or haven’t accomplished or haven’t yet acquired, the more things you have to be thankful for; the more you can accomplish, the more abundance flows in your direction. Life was not intended as a contest for you to get all of your own needs met, but rather an opportunity to help others get all of their needs met, ending in not only your own needs being supplied abundantly, but a sublime sense of happiness that does not go away!

You, my weary friend, must learn how to get the focus off yourself and onto other people. Listen with your heart to what people are saying to you. Understand how they communicate their pain and find ways to alleviate that pain. Ask yourself what you can do to help them or make their life a little easier. Offer them good words and hope and encouragement and love. Give them your whole, undivided self with nothing held in reserve for yourself. Bless them and be willing to make your own needs secondary and see if our great God will not only bless you with abundance, but with a peace and enduring sense of love and joy that never fails. Turn your focus outward and see how quickly things turn around for you…

Just some good thoughts…

Perpetual Self Analysis… or Better, I Want to Throw Up!


At one time in my life, I was an avid reader of self-help books. I simply devoured the material. You name it, I read it. And amidst all my frenzied study, I felt great. I felt like I had finally discovered the answers to all of my questions. But, looking back at my life, it’s obvious now that my dedicated study was based on one false premise; namely that something was wrong with me; something deeply flawed and in dire need of repair. Self-help promised me discovery. It promised me understanding and liberty from the things that assailed me. It persuaded me that if I just looked deep enough through perpetual self analysis, the remedies were all waiting for me.

Flash forward 20 years and now I want to throw up. Self analysis is a treacherous game that promises freedom while actually offering only bondage and slavery. You don’t become better from self analysis, you become worse. Self analysis purports that inside of you is some indwelling, profound goodness, that if discovered will make all your dreams come true. It suggests that if you can just eliminate enough bad behaviors or thoughts or actions, you will reach righteous nirvana whereby all of the answers will suddenly become breathtakingly clear. The problem is it aint true. It’s the same lie that fuels religion, a more acceptable, code name for self-help. Religion offers that if you can just get “good” enough, God will finally hear your prayers and help you or worse stop effing with you! It implies that all of your problems stem from something you are or are not doing. It seeks to eliminate your spiritual opponent and replace him with “you versus you” with you being the little devil on one of your own shoulders. And while the multitude spends their days embroiled in whether or not they are sinning or did sin or might sin, they have stopped living and succumbed to slavery.

Time spent in perpetual self-analysis is wasted time. It is pure futility in the truest sense of the word. As you probe deeper and deeper into yourself you will find only more darkness, more error, more problems. The Bible says that in your flesh dwells no good thing. It’s the spirit inside of you, once you become born again, that is good. All the rest is you succumbing to a cruel, evil master! All you will ever discover is a “natural man” with sin embedded in his blood line, lost and without hope; without God in this world! Analyzing and judging yourself, for whatever noble cause you have assigned it, is nothing more than you fighting against you. It’s you dwelling on everything that might be wrong with you in an effort to become a better you. Newsflash! You don’t get better by dwelling on and focusing on what is wrong with you. Instead you get weaker, more unsure, more doubtful and generally worse off than when you started. The world won’t tell you this because the world is busy hiding the real source of your problems.

Here is a deep thought! If there was no source of evil in the world, you would never have a problem. Life absent an adversary would work beautifully well in all respects. With no darkness there would only be light. But, this life is not absent an adversary! The adversary is ultimately responsible for every problem you have ever had. The treachery is found in convincing you that you are somehow the source of your own problems. If only you were better here. If only you made better choices. If only you could figure it out. If only your thinking was smarter… If only. Thinking this lie; a lie that has been drummed into our thinking, over and over and over, makes you the problem. It removes your spiritual opponent from the equation. Jesus never sinned, never stepped aside, never made a mistake, yet he suffered. You get it?

Self judgment, which if you’re honest, is what you are doing when you analyze yourself, divides you against you. It splits you up. It causes you to hate yourself. It persuades you to total up, catalog and tally every wrong you have ever done under the guise of making you do right. No-one gets better or stronger functioning this way. You cannot slice yourself into pieces and expect to be made whole. You cannot carve up your own heart and expect a healthy heart! This is the problem with Christianity today. Instead of turning their focus to God and His goodness, most Christians are obsessed with focus on themselves. And in doing so, they are easily defeated. You’ll never believe God to receive His promises with a head full of “what’s wrong with me.”

Your job as God’s lovely little human is to get your mind off yourself! Stop thinking about yourself, dwelling on yourself, analyzing yourself and judging yourself. Stop it! It’s not noble, it’s pathetic and weak! Instead just live your life. God, by way of His wonderful son, fixed everything that was ever wrong with you. He did for you what you could never do for yourself. That’s how wonderful He is, my friend! What He wants from you is a mind free from self-judgment, liberated from self-analysis and walking in the freedom that He gave you! You can read your self-help books. You can learn from anything. But, learn because you are already wonderful, blessed and accepted, no matter what you do or do not do!

You can break free from that nagging, irritating critic that lives inside your head, but it takes a commitment on your part. Stop indulging it. Stop accepting it. Stop buying into it! The troubles you are facing are so because you have a spiritual opponent that seeks nothing but pain and torture for you. It’s not you, it’s him! He gains access but what you will and will not think about; where you will and will not put your focus! Stop throwing up on yourself, wipe off your mouth and walk out in the freedom God gave you! There’s no such thing as self-help! It’s God’s help…

Just some good thoughts…