Monday, March 7, 2016

Where To Glance and Where To Gaze

Am I the only one who has a problem with televisions in restaurants?  I understand that those dining alone might appreciate watching the game or catching up on the news, but for the rest of us who are dining with family or friends, those stupid televisions are distracting.  Take my precious husband, for example.  When we dine in a restaurant that has televisions, we have to make a conscious effort to seat him back to the offending beast (when that's even possible).  Why?  Because the constant movement on the screen captures his attention, making him inattentive to anyone else at the table.

It's bad enough that technology has made it possible for anyone to reach us anywhere at any time via our cell phones.  But now we have to contend with the distractions of televisions too.  In restaurants.  Where we have gone to get out of the house and away from the television.  Good grief! Does anyone else see the irony?

Though I have, on rare occasions, grown frustrated with poor Jason for paying more attention to the big screen than to me, I can hardly blame him.  Bright lights, blaring noises and constant motion are hard to compete with (unless I want to jump up on the table and do the hula while singing at the top of my lungs though I doubt that will evoke the kind of attention I want).  Let's face it.  Things that move, hop, jump, swirl and dance are much more likely to catch our attention than things that are stable, steady and unmovable.  Movement makes us want to gaze while stillness causes us to only glance.  Is it any wonder, then, that we have trouble in our spiritual walk?

Thoughts, emotions and circumstances swirl through our lives in a constant, frantic motion, drawing our attention this way and that.  With so much going on around us, it's easy to lose focus and to find ourselves gazing at our circumstances.  The trouble is that if we're gazing at our problems, we're only glancing at our Savior.  Unlike our troubles, He remains steady, unmovable and constant.  He seldom resorts to using bright lights, blaring noises and motion to get our attention. He is simply there.  Always present.  Always the same.  Always available.  Always attentive to our every need and cry.  And always longing for our attention.

Could it be that we need to take a proactive approach when it comes to determining our gazes and glances?  Jason and I both understand the trouble caused when he's facing a television in a restaurant, and because we understand the problem, we make a conscious effort to place him outside of temptation by turning his back to the television.  Perhaps we need to do the same in our spiritual walk through life.  First, we need to understand and admit that we are easily distracted by the things of this world, and that distraction causes us to spend time and effort gazing at all the wrong things.  Second, being aware of our issue, we need to try to place ourselves outside of temptation.  If a certain person, place or activity causes us to lose our focus on Christ, then we need to make some changes.  If our troubles and circumstances beyond our control are stealing our time and attention, perhaps we need to spend more time with the Lord, resting in His capable arms.

Yes, the flashy and urgent more easily grab our attention, but what do they offer us in return?  Nothing!  Whereas, the Lord, who is constant and steady, promises us peace, joy, comfort and so much more.  He longs for us to turn our gazes upon Him, leaving everything else with only a mere glance.

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. - Psalm 16:8

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