Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tunnel Vision

Before I got my official driver's license, my mom made me take drivers ed. So, after school a few days a week some lady would pick me up and we would drive around town. I would drive while she would correct my posture, hand position, turning signal timing, and my need to slam on my brakes rather than taking my time to come to a nice slow (aka: graceful) stop. One of her chief complaints as to my driving skills was my "tunnel vision." Pretty much, I would get so concentrated on where I was going or when I was stopping that I would completely forget to check my mirrors. My eyes became so focused on the road that I was no longer paying attention to anything going on around me. This tunnel vision made me an unsafe driver and it was something that we had to work on over and over again. 

This is an issue that I’ve had in my spiritual life as well. I tend to get so focused on one single thing that everything else just gets shoved behind me and disregarded or forgotten. This time last year I was really struggling with some serious homesickness. All I wanted to do was graduate so that Adam and I could move back home to West Virginia. We dreamed of going into full time ministry at the end of the semester, but I was set on getting a position back east. Everything I did and everything I planned was with this goal in mind. To me, this wasn't an issue. Of course God was going to provide a ministry position for us close to our families, why would He not? He placed that love for my family in my heart and He wanted us to be home just as much as I did. So I really didn't entertain the thought of going anywhere else. My tunnel vision was focused on getting home permanently. Thankfully God has bigger and better plans than I have for myself and He is able to see way past my own limited vision.

I was sitting in chapel when God began to shift my focus. The campus pastor began the service by saying a few words. Honestly, I don't even remember his point, but I do remember him asking if we were willing to go where God called us. Now, I had heard this a million times before. I’m a Bible college student; of course I'm willing to go where God has called me! But then I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit question me, "Anywhere, will you go anywhere that I call you?" And just for a moment I broke free of my tunnel and the whole world opened up before me. I suddenly realized, that if I answered that honestly, I would have had to say no. 

Now, I'd like to say that I left the chapel that day with none of my tunnel vision in tact. I'd like to tell you that I was fully ready and prepared to go anywhere that He called me. That is not the case. However, it did open up a new honest dialogue between myself and the Lord. I told him that I was scared, that I didn't want to go anywhere, that I just wanted to go home. But you know, God is loving and full of grace, and He continued to work on me. When I fell back into my old tunnel visioned ways He, in his grace, would remind me once again, "Will you go anywhere?" and gradually His peace seeped into my world. Slowly but surely He took my tunnel visioned focus on going home and shifted it to Himself. 

I don’t think I’m the only one that struggles with spiritual tunnel vision.  Maybe your focus is graduating, getting married, or even starting a ministry. You might be focused on good things. However, if our focus isn’t on our Lord first and foremost, we’ve got our priorities wrong and they need to be corrected. It might take time; it certainly took me awhile. You might have to work on it over and over again; believe me, I still struggle.  It can be gut-wrenching, and it can turn your whole world upside down. But Paul tells us to run our race with our eyes fixed on Jesus, throwing aside anything that hinders us (Hebrews 12:1). So, if you're anything like me in your tunnel visioned ways, this is my prayer for you: That you would be covered in His peace, seeking Him and allowing your focus to be shifted to Jesus and that everything else would fall into place behind Him.

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