Do you ever notice themes popping up in your daily life and wonder if God is saying something?
You read something that stands out to you and then you hear a song reinforcing the same message. You find this topic coming up in conversations throughout the day. Maybe you even see it appearing in your newsfeed on social media. Your heart moves a little bit every time you see or hear this theme.
This has been happening to me this week. The theme is actually a question: What are your eyes fixed on?
I'm preparing to lead See You At The Pole at my school tomorrow and the theme is Fix Your Eyes. It comes from Hebrews 12:2 which encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus and follow his example in how we handle difficulties and suffering.
Then, I read this amazing blog post this morning by Sharon Hodde Miller about how being a people-pleaser and addicted to approval ultimately causes you to become completely self-focused. (Check out When the Self-Help Gospel Isn't Helping You Anymore on www.annvoskamp.com.) Though I consider myself in recovery for this addiction, a lot of what she wrote still rang true for me. I started to ask myself, "What am I fixing my eyes on?"
I've also been listening obsessively to Kristene DiMarco's new album, Where His Light Was. The lyrics to her second song, Fear Not, started shouting to me:
I would like to tell you that my eyes are firmly fixed on the Jesus who modeled humble surrender to God's leadership when he went to the cross because of the joy set before Him. And, the truth is that my eyes often are fixed on Him. But, that is not their natural inclination.
My eyes naturally focus on me: How am I doing? Do these people like me? Do they think that I'm doing a good job as a mom/wife/counselor/housekeeper/friend/person/human being? How could I be better? How could I feel more sure to earn and keep their approval? How can I feel safe from any possible chance of rejection or judgment? How can I justify my behavior if I find that I may have come off as judgmental, selfish, silly, irresponsible, immature, or unkind? How can I get their reassurance that I'm OK and I'm doing life OK without directly admitting that I want or need it??!!
Right about here is when I realize that I am craving an approval fix.
I am back in the throes of addiction and all that I can see or think about is how to get my fix.
This is also the moment where Jesus lovingly invites me to fix my eyes back on Him. He gives me grace to deny my craving and to allow His approval to be the only thing that satisfies me.
Sometimes, I have to do this all. day. long.
Other times, I enjoy the absence of that craving and the peace of living my real life as my real self without thought about what others may think.
In both cases, I appreciate God's loving reminder about my eyes and being careful about what they fix themselves on.
So, what are you fixing your eyes on?