Focus Upward

It has been a wet summer around our place this year.  While moisture is needful for the garden to flourish, the abundance of it has created a massive weed problem.  It is a year where I have seen new varieties of weeds – not exactly the kind of diversity I am trying to promote in my garden.

Usually I don’t mind a certain amount of weeding.  It goes with the territory.  I love to garden and not everything that grows will be of my choosing.  This year, with the increased amount of nuisance plants, weeding has become burdensome.  Trying to clean up the garden in between rains has become an arduous task.

I often find myself getting quite intense in my weeding practices.  In my frustration I focus downward, determined to get the job done in as little time as possible.  The other day I was going at the task quite feverishly.  I had limited time and I was enjoying the benefits of a breeze that kept the mosquitoes at bay.  As I stood up to straighten and rub my back I realized an important fact.

I had been so intent on my weeding that I had almost missed a glorious sky.  The clouds were light and fluffy, floating along in a hurried pace with the wind.  The sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing.  All around me were signs of God’s creative hand – a myriad of colours, textures, and sounds.  

As I began to look up and around I felt restored.  The sunshine on my face was medicine to my soul.  I drank in the beauty of the plants all around me and the glory of the forest that surrounds my home.

That day I had forgotten the true purpose of my having a garden – as therapy and as joy in growing my own food and decorative plants.  All I had seen for weeks was all the negative work and the loss from the water damage.  I needed a reminder of what my true calling was.

It’s very easy these days to focus on the “weeds” of life.  There are a lot of negatives out there that can draw our attention away from what is important and restorative.  The “weeds” are easily definable and can run rampant as easily as dandelion seeds disperse in the wind.  

Think about your day today.  How much time have you spent looking “down” at the troubles in your life?  How easy is it for you to focus your attentions downward?  What blessings have you missed seeing because your energy has been consumed by the negative?

It is also hard to look to God when our focus is downward.  When we get mired in our flaws, disabilities, attitudes, inconsistencies, and issues, we lose sight of what is truly important.  If we don’t focus upward it is challenging to have hope – hope that God freely provides.

In Psalm 121 Scripture states:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber.” (verses 1-3, NIV)

I pray that today you will raise up your eyes and your countenance and embrace the hope and joy that only God can provide.  When things in this life get you down, remember God’s promises.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  Our gracious God, who never sleeps, is on duty 24/7 to guard and keep us.  

Next time this world’s pressures push your attentions downward – look up and be restored.  Take note of God’s blessings which far outweigh any negatives this world can throw at us.  The same God, who sent His only Son to die for the forgiveness of our sins, will be faithful.  Hold on to His Word and find hope and peace in His wonderful ways.  

Look up – look way up – and you will see God’s mighty hand at work.  Embrace that today.

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