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Today’s Truth

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB.)

Friend to Friend

As I gazed out the window of my living room on a quiet Saturday morning, only interrupted by the snoring of the dog and the humming of the appliances, I took in a deep breath to savor the moment as my eyes settled on a sight I’d never seen before.

At least a hundred times I’ve looked out this window, but I had never noticed the landscape quite this way. It was like the trees were climbing up the hillside to touch the sunrise. What changed, you may ask? The answer is simple. My focus.

Between my window and those climbing trees are a myriad of power lines traversing back and forth along with the blaring red of a stop sign on the corner and often the bustling of cars and school buses on their morning route. Sure, it was quiet without the weekday traffic, but that wasn’t the reason I saw it differently. Instead of staring at the power lines, I looked beyond them as my eyes steadied on the hillside terrain. For the first time, the power lines disappeared so completely, it was as if they weren’t even there.

At that moment, I realized how much time I lost enjoying this perfect view of God’s creation by choosing to focus on the less than perfect mess of man’s. Oh, before this particular morning, I would have defended myself by saying I wasn’t being critical, but simply observant. I’d argue that God made me that way. Yet, therein lies the problem.

Focusing on what is wrong can keep us from appreciating what is right.

Isn’t that also true when it comes to how we live out our faith? Our gaze – our focus – matters so much. Steadying our gaze on a problem fuels the grumble in our spirit. This has been true since the beginning of time. The Scriptures are filled with stories of God’s people being hung up on what is going wrong instead of seeing what was right—the gift of God’s provisions. Consider the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. How many times did they tell God what they needed instead of thanking Him for what He provided (Exodus 16)? Likewise, Paul admonished the Gentiles to be thankful and content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:12)? It is human nature to focus on the faults instead of fixing our gaze on Jesus as we run this race of faith.

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB)

Imagine being a Hebrew, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses – those men and women whose faith legacy was passed down one generation to the next through stories about God’s provisions, from the parting of the Red Sea to manna and quail falling from the sky, to the Battle of Jericho and more. These were not Sunday morning Bible stories, but real-life testimonies.

Sister, it’s time to make a habit of looking past the power lines to see the hillside declaring the glory of God. But we can’t do this on our own. At least I know I can’t. So maybe, if we see ourselves running this race of faith together, as part of that great cloud of witnesses, we can be more intentional about spurring one another on to steady our gaze on Jesus. Let’s run to Him, sister! Let’s run hard, run with focus, and not let the distractions of life derail us from declaring His glory and aligning with the best for our lives today!

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for being the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Help us, God, shift our focus off all that is wrong and see all that is right according to Your purposes and plans.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What do you typically find yourself focusing on – the problem of the world or the promises of God?
Who can you ask to hold you accountable to set your focus on Jesus? If you’re struggling to shift your perspective, leave a comment and we’ll pray for you.

More from the Girlfriends

Want to learn how to let go and live in a way that aligns with God’s best? Take the Align Quiz available through More to Be to discover your best next step in growing your faith and walking in God’s purposes.

 

© 2021 by Elisa Pulliam. All rights reserved.

26 Responses to “Fixing Your Gaze on What Matters Most”

  1. Toni says:

    Please pray for me. I am struggling with self worth about decisions I have made. I am just straight up struggling. My husband died 5 years ago, my children are grown and I live alone. I go to work and come home an pretty much just play on my iPad until it’s time for bed. Sometimes I just feel like I have no purpose. I wrecked my car this weekend and now I will be dealing with the aftermath of that. I’m struggling to hang on, to find how to enjoy life. I read and share your devotionals every day. I remind myself God is in the boat with me. Help me God to be the person You would have me be today, gently please 🙏🏻

  2. Beth says:

    Please pray for my attitude about work. I focus on all that is wrong and unfair. Please pray I can adjust my focus to all that The Lord has given me and be thankful I have a job.

  3. Cheryl says:

    I would like prayer. My focus is always on how much money I don’t have and I would like to change that

  4. Cathy says:

    I would really appreciate your prayers too. Struggling with history of hurts that hold me captive. Recently lost my job, so I have much more time to think and that isn’t always a good thing. I want to change, but deep down, I don’t really believe it is possible. I’m living defeated instead of victoriously in Jesus.

  5. Sherri says:

    Hi Toni…you are so worthy of God’s love. I too live alone and in my daily walk with Christ, I look for ways to bless people. …it may be standing in a grocery line, I see a parent $1 or $2 short in their grocery bill, or driving and see someone stuck on the side of the road, or hear an unpleasant conversation at work. I specifically PRAY and then, if possible, assist. You are so needed, and I know God has assignments for us daily. I am praying with you. Be Blessed!

  6. Sonda says:

    I struggle with focusing in the bad. Please pray that I will focus on the Lord.

  7. Kristin says:

    Dear Sister Toni – life can be difficult. Jesus said in this world we would have trouble but take heart for he has overcome the world. I pray for you in your struggle. I overcame the loss of my husband, also. It took me 7 years to come out of my fog. But we have “a cloud of witnesses,” we have our sisters in Christ to support us. May I suggest you try a small thankfulness trick – every morning before you get out of bed, list 10 things for which you are thankful. Small things like being able to wiggle your toes. God’s Love is holding you. I am sending up a prayer for you. Blessings for a good day today. Today. One day at a time.

  8. Michelle says:

    Good Morning Ladies. I am deeply and profoundly struggling to shift my perspective due to my husband’s infidelity. There are still many unknowns and while his porn addiction was uncovered, a multitude of other glaring concerns have yet to draw him to his knees. He just wants it all to go away meanwhile, I feel like my world is crashing and this must be panic attacks I’m feeling. I desperately crave the truth so that I can begin to heal. I am faithfully and prayerfully waiting and ready to move us forward but feel so defeated. Please pray for me. Please also pray for our 3 children. Thank you for your faithfulness and sisterhood, Michelle.

  9. Lisa says:

    Severe financial problems, no health insurance, covid restrictions on my job and my husband lost his job and is doing menial side work. I have struggled all my life with panic disorder and depression. I try to stay focused on God but the enemy knows how to get in my head. I am 58 years old and healthy but very concerned about the future even though I know it’s in God’s hands.

  10. Carola says:

    El egoísmo de mi esposo es devastador, para mí en todas las áreas solo piensa en su satisfacción. Solo le pido a Dios.que me muestra más allá de lo que veo y vivo.

    Muchas gracias . novia.
    Bendiciones.

  11. Kimberly says:

    I am struggling with anxiety for some reason not trusting in God. I asked God in prayer to please give me the faith I need in him. I don’t understand why I continue to try to fix everything instead I should be giving it all to God to fix for me. Why do I continue to not have the faith I need!?? Please pray my faith and trust in God grows. I need to remember he has me and is in control! I get side tracked to easy. Thank you blessings to all.

  12. Krista says:

    This was such a great devotional in my inbox this morning. Please pray for me as I struggle to have a positive relationship with my in-laws. I have finally learned after many years to put up healthy boundaries, but I’m receiving a lot of very negative backlash from them in response. I am angry and hurt, and worst of all, my husband is in the middle of this. I’m trying hard to focus on the positive and I know I need God’s guidance and direction. Thanks for sharing the love of Jesus!

  13. Connie says:

    Thank you for your faithfulness to write daily devotional that involve life happenings. I have subscribed via email for 2-3 years. Today’s really touched me. To give a background, my husband and I are small business owners. The last four years, but especially the past year, have had more than enough challenges. We are exhausted in every aspect of life. We seldom do anything but work, trying to save our 30+ year business.

    Today’s devotional, along with our youngest daughter (third) getting engaged this weekend, have given me something to look forward to. I will finally get to see my Mom, long term care, for the first time in person since December 2019.

    Words cannot express my thankfulness for your ministry. I do ask prayers for my husband and I to endure, for refinance that has drug on too long to be finalized soon; for all the pieces to come together.

  14. Leni says:

    Thank you again for your wonderful GIG ministries for another greatly blessed message of focus that has been shown in action many times even this morning when my pal had to rush her newborn prem baby Nylah to hospital and at first I panicked but knew my focus could only be on Gods power to take care of this diff situation and prayed for His love, healing and best treatment and praise God now baby and mum back home and things are better. It is just awesome no matter what and WHERE the problem is God is powerful!!!!
    I pray whenever we face a challenge God will always be our first call also for many of us going through feeling alone I pray that God will bless you with his comfort and presence Xx

  15. Toni, thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your story. I am asking God to show you the way forward and fill you with hope and purpose. I echo Sherri and Kristen’s words of wisdom. Thank you, sisters, for sharing and taking the time to encourage Toni.

  16. Michelle, thank you for taking the time to share your story. I wish I could come through the screen and hug you. My prayer for you is that you would find support as you walk through this. If you would like some recommendations, please email me at more @ moretobe.com and I’ll send them your way.

  17. Alison says:

    I know I have the promise of eternity with Christ in heaven, but struggling to find joy in the here and now. I know my thoughts/focus need to shift but can’t seem to figure how to do/sustain that.

  18. Carrie says:

    Ladies,
    As I read the responses, I prayed for God to free you all from the same struggle I have. My health is not good – I have a number of chronic illnesses including pain, headaches, and insomnia. In addition, I have PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks. I’m mostly confined to a wheelchair, homebound, and live alone – having recently (Jan 5) put my beloved dog down because she couldn’t hold down food anymore due to a lot of things. Every night, I pray to go home because I feel so alone, scared, and in pain. I’ve prayed this since I was 5 years old. I ask God to free us all from the earthly bonds that keep us from seeing God’s amazing provisions and promises for each of us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  19. Joy says:

    Dear Lord,
    Please help me to trust you and give all my concerns to you. I try to force things to happen and am not patient. Lord please open doors in my career. Help me to make the right decisions and lead me the right way. I need your guidance to help me make the best decisions for me. Thank you Lord for my job and all my blessings. I am not worthy of your grace.

  20. Trish says:

    For the last year I have focused on the WORLD and not on the WORD. I am trying to fix that and focus on the promises of our good father God. I would love prayer to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Jesus overcame the world, all sin, sickness and evil.

  21. Trish says:

    Carrie the will of God is for you to live well, healthy and prosper. In Jesus name I speak to your infirmities and tell them to go. Keep your eyes on Jesus and have faith that you will receive healing of all diseases in body, mind and spirit.

  22. JoAnn says:

    I too have looked out the window for a second time and saw something different. My spouse cheated on me with one of my friends more than 15 hears ago and never really told me why. Then he began to get phone numbers for girls at work and hide them. Each time I confronted him I thought i forgave him. He continued his infidelity by making online emails and social media accounts, all of which i found and again thought i forgave. I can’t seem to escape the past of what he’s done. I am going through menopause and also have chronic hip pain and because of this intimacy is not the first thing on my mind. However, he is often angry about not being able to be with me and makes statements about figuring it out on his own. This is guilt tripping for me and brings me back to the past of his infidelity. Not being able to be patient while I was being patient staying in the marriage and trying to work it out. Now its like, Oh I forgot how you were patient with me and its more difficult to wait without making feel like its my fault I’m going through menopause and have chronic pain. I also asked if he would read the word with me and he refuses to do so only on his terms. I told him i wanted a divorce if he doesn’t go to counseling. This is such a mess.

  23. Stacey says:

    Lately I have been so depressed and unhappy. All I seem to be able to focus on is how alone I am and how lonely I feel. I am in recovery from addiction and lately the voice of my disease and has been working overtime telling me I’m not worthy. I deserve to be alone because of the things I’ve done in my past. I’m really struggling not to listen, not to believe it. I don’t like feeling this way and I can’t seem to get out of my own way.

  24. Stacey, thank you for being brave enough to share how you’re struggling. It is so normal to battle the lies of shame the enemy spins our way, no matter what our past looks like. I would encourage you to seek out help through your recovery support network and a therapist. We’re not meant to go at it alone and need others to help us find hope in the journey of healing. Praying for you now.

  25. Dannielle says:

    I am late to be reading this, but please pray for me. I am a caregiver for my terminally ill father and have been in a very dark place. I struggle daily to see any positive in my life, and it is affecting me greatly.

  26. Elisa says:

    Dannielle, so glad you found this now and bravely admitted you’re struggling. I’m praying for you right now. What you’re walking through is incredibly hard. May God lead you to those who can support you during this journey.

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