Doug Creamer: Changing our focus
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 25, 2023
By Doug Creamer
I went for my walk today to clear my mind and think about my column. It turns out that there was a lot to clear away from my mind. Every time I thought I had cleared my thoughts, another train of thought surfaced. I was diligently working to clear my mind so I could begin to think about my column.
I tried to pray and ask the Lord for help, but my mind kept wandering off in different directions. Sometimes we need to think through some things and other times we need to clear the clutter. I took a deep breath and looked up. The sky was a clear, brilliant blue.
I looked at some of the trees and saw spring green leaves beginning to emerge. Then I saw a redbud tree in full bloom. The air was a crisp cool. Birds were singing and frolicking. I began to feel my clouded thoughts lifting and sense His peace and presence.
I asked again, what do you want me to write? Nothing came. I have some reflective exercises that I go through to help me find an idea. None of them gained any traction. My walk was rapidly coming to an end with no idea in hand. I decided to keep walking. I began to think about family and friends, those I pray for on a regular basis. I started to pray for them.
I thought about other people I know and focused my prayers on each individual’s needs. As I rounded the corner to come home, I thought about my neighbors. I prayed for them as I walked past their homes.
I sat quietly when I arrived home and my personal cares and needs began to cloud my thoughts. My focus while I was walking was on others’ needs, but when I got home my own wants and needs occupied my thoughts.
When my thoughts are focused on me, I become distracted and I am not much good for the Lord or others. How can I hear from God when my thoughts are consumed with me? When I can stop thinking about me, I can start to hear what’s on God’s heart and be sensitive to the needs of others.
The truth is every person that we know needs prayer. Some people are going through terrible health issues, while others are trying to deal with the loss of a loved one. Some are worried about their children; others are worried about their parents. Some are struggling with their finances while others are losing the battle with temptation. You may know someone who is trapped by drugs or alcohol. Others may be fighting doubts, fears, worry, anxiety or even depression. The list of struggles and battles is long.
The answer to all these situations begins with prayer. People all around us need our prayers. You may feel inadequate but don’t let that stop you. Your prayers make a difference! Maybe you don’t know what you can do to help, but sometimes a caring heart and a listening ear is all someone needs to help them make it through another day. Maybe you feel inspired to call, text or send a card to someone to let them know you are thinking of them and lifting them up in prayer. That might be God’s way of sending that someone a lifeline from heaven.
I am convinced that God can and will use each one of us if we can turn our focus away from ourselves and onto Him. God knows all our needs and He will take care of us. He will watch over us. He can and will use us to be a blessing to others. We need each other in the body of Christ. We need to learn to take our eyes off ourselves and focus on Him and the needs of others; then He will take care of all our needs. That’s the way things work in His kingdom.
I want to encourage you to move your focus off of yourself and onto others, and especially onto Him. He is a good, good Father who will take care of all of your needs. He needs you — did you read that? — He needs you to be looking out for the needs of others. God wants to use you through prayer and sometimes in tangible ways to touch the hearts and lives of others. When we focus on God and others, we will experience His peace and joy in new and unique ways. And we can watch in amazement as He meets our needs, too. We just need to change our focus.
Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.