Choose Your Focus

Recently I had a rare moment of clarity. And that clarity came from choosing to blur out the background. Let me explain. There was a sweet, and rare, moment that my youngest daughter actually fell asleep in my arms. This is the girl that doesn’t like to be held too much. She prefers to do everything, including falling asleep, on her own terms and her own timeframe. So when she actually fell asleep while I held her I just HAD to take a picture! 

I find that pictures help me grab moments. Moments my scattered brain will soon forget, moments I don’t want to forget, moments that take my breath away, moments I want to share with someone who’s not there, moments that I want to hold on to and pass on. (This is why all my digital storage is FULL of photos and the sheer weight of all my printed albums could easily match a herd of elephants.) But photos are funny. No camera can capture a scene the same way our brain sees it. 

I’ll save you the full neuroscience disclosure of why this is true, but I can sum it up fairly simply. Our brains do us a favor (sometimes) by helping focus on details that it seems important or remarkable. Our eyes take in LOTS of information. Much like a camera lens. But our brain helps us sort through it. While you may be staring at your screen right now, your eyes are seeing everything around the screen and in the periphery too. But your brain focuses in on just the screen. The information is there, we just don’t pay attention to it. 

   But a camera just captures the information. And when we look at a picture our brains do a little better job of paying attention to more of the details because it’s focusing on the picture and not all the other things going on around you. And that’s precisely why I like to look at pictures, sometimes. Sometimes it captures little details, like the way my daughter’s hair curls “just so”, or that little twinkle in their eye, or the facial expression of an onlooker in the background. But sometimes it captures details I would rather blur out- like the messy house in the background, piles of laundry laying around, or the facial expression of an onlooker in the background. 

   And that’s what it did this time. I took a picture of my sweet sleepy baby in my arms, but then when I looked at the picture later I immediately noticed the piles of laundry in the background. And I had to make a choice. I had to *choose my focus*. I wasn’t about to let some *thing* distract my focus from some *one*. And luckily due to advances in photo editing software I could actually physically blur those distractions away so the picture would better capture my experience of the moment. 👍🏻

      Don’t you wish we could do the same thing in real life as simply as pushing a button? We CAN do it, our brains are actually pretty good at it, but we have to choose. We have to tell it what’s important (and what’s not) and then *choose* to focus on *those* things. 

      When I started writing this post, the words of the chorus of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” kept coming up in my mind. 

      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow         strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.

It was that experience of choosing to look to Jesus and letting “the things of earth” grow strangely dim that I was experiencing. I don’t know of any better picture of faith, trust, love, and peace than a sweet sleeping baby in your arms. And isn’t that what Jesus calls us to? 

     But when I looked up the lyrics of the song, I was struck more by the words of the verses that I had forgotten. They contain a promise of a life more abundant and free, a reminder that we are more than conquerors, instruction to seek the scriptures for his faithful promises, and a charge to reach others with this message of hope!! But the part that really struck me was that it wasn’t being sung to the Perfectly Perfect Pewsitters. You know- those people that are always perfect, always happy, and always (seem) to have it all together. No, this song was for the soul that was weary and tired. Sweet Momma, is your soul weary and tired today? 🙋🏻 If so, let the words of this sweet song encourage you today. And if not, save the post because it will be sooner or later (am I right?). 


O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
     In the light of His glory and grace.

    Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion
    For more than conqu’rors we are!

    His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
    Believe Him and all will be well;
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!

    But now I better get back to that laundry….