Continued from here.
What does an upward focus look like in a Christian’s personal walk with God? For me, it involves setting aside time for God daily so I can shift my focus from myself to Him. I have shared many times on this blog how March 2013 was a pivotal time in my life because that’s when I made the life decision to tithe the first hour of my day to God, no matter what. My life and personality have changed radically since then, and the difference was tithing that hour. I now recognize that my choice to tithe that hour built an upward focus into my daily life, which profoundly transformed my relationship with God.
Before March 2013, I was primarily inward focused. I spent most of my time trying to understand what was wrong with me. I knew I was fundamentally damaged and did not know how to fix it, so I prayed … and I prayed … and I prayed for God to heal me. My prayers were mostly about myself, and the parts that weren’t about me were asking God to do things for other people. Very little (if any) of my prayer time was spent with an upward focus on praising and worshiping God.
I did spend a lot of time reading the Bible, but even my time in the Bible was about looking for answers to my problems. I wanted to figure out how I could be “fixed,” so the way I read the Bible was very inward focused. I looked for myself in the pages of Scripture and missed that what I was reading was about a God who is so much bigger than my brokenness.
Today, my life has a healthy balance of upward focus – not that I do it perfectly, but I weave much more of an upward focus into my daily life. I tithe the first hour of my day to God, which includes prayer, praise & worship, and Bible study. My prayers include praise, worship, thanksgiving, and listening in addition to my requests, and I ask that God’s will be done rather than my own (and mean it). I make a point of thanking God throughout the day, even when things don’t go my way. For example, if I have a computer issue, I thank God for this opportunity to trust Him more (an idea I got from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence). When friends come to me with problems, I remind them that God is bigger and encourage them to pray for wisdom and discernment. As I have added an upward focus to my life, I have grown to love God deeply and experience joy and peace that I never dreamed possible.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace standing in front of the word, “Up.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]