Friday, October 7, 2016

Big Picture or Laser-Like Focus?

According to my mother, I was blessed (?) with the “gift of gab” since I was a wee little girl.  My aunt relishes the story of a blueberry picking adventure with me when I was little; ants crawled all over me as I perched myself on an ant hill.  I was oblivious as I gabbed on about whatever was on my mind at the moment.

It should be no surprise that I am now in a “speaking ministry”!  I mean, how many women get legitimate reasons to talk and share….with people actually listening?  God called me to this wonderful place but He has also equipped me; I have learned what to say, how to say and when to NOT “say”! 
 
Recently I set out on a speaking trip that involved five events in three days.  We took routes through the back roads of a beautiful area of Wisconsin and enjoyed two overnights in the homes of gracious women.

A dear friend accompanied me and I especially appreciated Linda’s navigation skills.  With the help of her smart phone app, we determined best routes and times needed to get from one event to the next.

Speaking five times at five different locations required a laser-like focus.  It meant  pin-pointing specific turns, focusing on the names of key women who had been my contacts and remembering what materials I needed each time.

Something strange happened, though. After speaking, then heading to the next one…. and then the next, etc.…along the way, someone would ask, “And where were you yesterday?”  Or maybe I would hear, “which club did you speak at on Monday?” The “strange” part of this was, I couldn’t always remember!

Later, as I shared this dilemma with my husband, he made a statement that was spot on:  “It’s like looking through a keyhole”. Bingo!  That’s exactly what was happening.  My focus for each event was so strong that my mind shoved aside what had already come to be.

Linda and I eventually looked at my larger atlas and we were able to put each destination, each stop and each adventure into a bigger picture.  The Wisconsin map showed us how it all came together.

I believe my journey with Jesus is comparable to that. There are times He wants me to totally focus on Him, or perhaps on a specific scripture, or possibly on a special moment/time/event.  When I am meeting with someone who needs encouragement, it is imperative that I use that laser-like focus to listen, think and speak thoughtfully.

On the other hand, when I headed up a women’s ministry team at my church, it was critical that I see the big picture of how all the sub teams fit within the mission of the women’s team….and to take that a step further, how this team complemented the larger picture of the mission of our local church.

I like the King James Version of Proverbs 29:18a, “Where there is no vision, the people perish;” this scripture refers to the big picture of where God is taking us.  But unless we break that vision down into goals and strategies, it goes nowhere. 

The book of Acts describes a focus on the “nitty gritty/the components needed to organize that first church.   Acts chapter 6 describes the choosing of elders and the formation of the first board of deacons.  The larger picture/vision had emerged through the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus.  It was time to get the believers organized to fulfill Christ’s mission.
 
God has designed each of us with His purpose for our lives.  We get to be a part of that grand vision by living out our own God-given purposes.  He calls, gifts and equips us.  Isn’t that exciting?  We all share the same purpose/big vision (think gospel message here) but we live out that purpose within our individual life circumstances. 

What exciting journey are you on?  Is it challenging?  Is it fulfilling?  Is it fun? Busy?  One thing I know for certain: Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Amen!

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