Continued from here.
You will notice that none of the three focuses comes naturally to me. I am naturally self-focused, so an upward and outward focus are not on my radar without intentionality. My inward focus is naturally unhealthy, focused on how I want the world to be rather than on what I need to focus on inwardly to glorify God. I only have this one body to house my spirit during my time on this earth, and I need to maintain it so I can do all that God has called me to do.
Over the last several years, God has led me to a more balanced focus, although I did not view my life in those terms before taking this class on small group ministry and applying the principles to my personal walk with God. The more holistic my life becomes, the more joy, peace, and fulfillment I experience in my walk with God. Not one ounce of this has come naturally – It’s all based on choice.
Why do I choose to make such “unnatural” decisions in my life? Because I love God. Loving God is the key to this transformation. No other motivation would have been enough to get my thoughts off myself and my self-absorbed way of viewing the world and intentionally aligning them with God’s ways as revealed in His Word.
I used to read commands such as love your enemies and forgive those who hurt you and ignore them because I did not believe they were actually possible to do. I am still painfully aware that living the Christian life is impossible for me to do in my own power, but all things are possible with God. I did not forgive my child abusers because it felt natural or came easily to me. I forgave them because I love God more than I hated them. I also did not do it overnight – I prayed for my child abusers day after day, week after week, month after month for over a year until God did the heavy lifting and made it happen. What was impossible for me was possible with God because He is bigger.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace thinking about multiple math equations. Courtesy Bitmoji.]