Tunnel Vision

“…For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8

“The main thing to remember is … don’t forget the main thing!” Unknown.

“I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Have you ever listened to a sermon or attended a seminar where you heard something or received some knowledge and thought, “Wow! So and so should really be here to hear this! This really applies to them!” Well, the scripture about the “double-minded man” bounced around in my head for a few days and I thought to myself, “Yeah, some people are really double minded.” And then it bopped me on the head like the V-8 commercial – this applied to me.

Hey. I’m human. I make mistakes – all the time. I fall for some of the same tricks that most people fall for. But in order to keep from making the same mistakes, I try to learn from the past so that I can move on and make different mistakes. The trap that has ensnared me for years now is a technique my brother refers to as, pulling me off my square. Think of it as a game of say, chess or checkers, where each piece is supposed to occupy its own colored square. The trick is to get your opponent to commit to a move where you can take advantage of him. If you can get him to respond to what you are doing, instead of working his own strategy – to play your game instead of his own – you have successfully distracted him and in effect, pulled him off his own square. In other words, he got so caught up in what you were doing that he forgot his own purpose.

This trick has worked effectively on me for a few years now. Have you ever started something, some noble cause or ministry, or even something that you just really enjoy, only to be derailed by the efforts of others? I have. In the past, I’ve seen many tricks of the enemy that caused flourishing ministries to crumble, leaving them in ruins. Massive egos run amok (sometimes, my own), leaving destruction in their wake – everyone yielding to their inner “Id” – me, me, me. In the end, everyone loses and the enemy has won, for he has destroyed something that once began with such promise. Talents lay wasted as we go from some great purpose to no real purpose. I’ve watched many a great vision go up in smoke because of petty disagreements. And because we all forgot our main reason for even being there.

Sometimes, it’s not even others who distract us – we allow ourselves to be distracted for our own reasons. For instance, I may have allowed myself to be distracted from dieting and exercise by say, the offer of fast food or sweets from my (ex) husband, who may have wanted to sabotage me. He had his own reasons for wanting to maintain the status quo, even if it meant cheating himself out of a thinner, healthier wife. Maybe he was insecure about what it would mean for our relationship. But he is not to blame. I allowed it to happen for my own reasons – like, maybe hiding behind fat because maybe male attention makes me a little nervous at times. I’m just saying.

It’s a good thing that looking back in the past works both ways – I can remember my failures but I can also remember my successes. I remember being so focused that nothing could hinder me. I was on a mission! I recall moving forward with purpose, letting nothing sidetrack me, not even myself. I remember one summer where I laid out all of my goals and attacked them with a single mindedness that was stunning, even for me. I tackled a layoff, impending divorce and a hard real estate course in the space of a few months. Nothing slacking, nothing lacking. Meanwhile, my mother was in the hospital, recovering from a heart attack. It was a tough time for me, a desperate time, but I didn’t shirk from my responsibilities, nor give up my vision of the future. I saw each obstacle for what it was – merely an attempt to distract me from my true purpose. I felt like my family, our very survival, was at stake. With something so important on the line, I could not afford to let myself go off course so I kept my mind on the tasks at hand. Being able to see the big picture and being totally committed to my purpose bought me success.

I’ve been in the habit of looking back to learn from my mistakes; it’s very human to beat myself up over all the things I’ve done wrong. But now it’s time to learn from my success – to look forward – to take those lessons and apply them. I have found myself distracted for too long, pulled off my square, even more so in the past few years by myself, people and various events. I recently realized that this only happened whenever I forgot my purpose. For me, purpose brought clarity. I asked myself, “What am I really trying to accomplish? What’s really at stake?” At that moment, I knew – I saw the trick for what it was. It was not about the argument or distraction. It never was. It never is. It’s about keeping me from fulfilling my destiny.

Realizing that, I now move forward, putting aside the distractions. Knowing that I can no longer allow myself to be pulled off course and go chasing after them. That way lies destruction and certain failure. As long as I continue in that pattern I will never accomplish my true purpose or attain my goals in life. So I look back now, only to see what I’ve done well and what was successful. I use the past as my example and move forward with purpose now, staying focused and keeping my eye on the prize.

Be blessed,