Mindfulness

In yoga there is a discipline called mindfulness. It is being conscious of what you are doing, focusing. In yoga it is often a focus on your breathing and the movement of your body. It brings a sense of calm when you are able to let distractions go and take a moment to just be. Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest emphasizes the need for a private life with God instead of an emphasis on practical work and busyness. Worship should be a time of focus on God through prayer, Bible study, and praise.

Prayer should be a time when we focus on being in the presence of God, letting go of distractions, but it is easier said than done. Distractions are by nature hard to ignore, and the enemy has a world full of options to choose from to distract us. Schedules, family obligations, work, politics, natural disasters, and illnesses are just a few of the options. It was not a time to come to God with a wish list or set of demands. That doesn’t mean we can’t bring our problems and fears to the Father; it just means that shouldn’t be our only reason for prayer. It is a time to simply be in His presence and listen to what He has to say to us.

Time spent studying the Bible is another way we can worship God and build our relationship with Him because it is His directions to us on how to live. In Nehemiah, after the walls were completed, the people came together and listened to the Word of God read aloud for hours. Today most people can’t listen or even read the Bible for more than a few minutes of time without being distracted by something. Society tells us that we should multi-task if we want to be successful in life, but while that may be true in the work place, it is not true in our relationship with God. We need to focus on God’s Word and what it has to say to us so that we can apply it to our daily walk.

The Psalms of David are great models for worship. He usually started with a focus on who God was and what He had done. David would often recount all the mighty works God had done in his life and for the nation of Israel. Recalling victories reminds us that God is always faithful. When we focus on God as Lord, it changes our perspectives. Instead of problems, we see opportunities. Instead of fear, we are filled with courage. Instead of despair, we feel hope. Worship sets our focus on the important things in life, namely our relationship with Our Heavenly Father. Once that is in proper perspective, everything else will fall into place.

None of these things happen by accident. It requires mindfulness on our part. We must choose to pray, study the Bible and worship God. We must focus our minds on what is truly important. Mindfulness requires practice. If we practice every day, when the moments of trials and temptations come, we will be ready to stand firm in our relationship with God and waiting to see how God will work rather than living a life of fear and hopelessness. It is better to take time to be mindful than it is to be busy because it gives us the proper perspective and attitude for handling hard times in a manner befitting children of the King.

 

Perspective

The way we feel about life and any given situation often has to do with our perspective. Two people can look at the same set of circumstances and have two totally different responses. Take for example having to get up to go to work. One person may get up with dread, while another may get up thanking God they have a job. There are usually at least two ways to look at a circumstance: negatively or positively. How we choose to look at our circumstances can vastly affect both our attitude and our response.

In Numbers 13, the 12 spies come back from Canaan with their report. Ten of the spies gave negative reports:

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we…33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

They saw the land was good, but they decided the negatives were too overwhelming to be overcome. They did not even want to try.

On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb were positive and enthusiastic, “30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” They were ready to take the land, fully believing they could overcome any obstacles in their way. What was the difference?

Caleb saw the promise of God, a land flowing with milk and honey. God was fulfilling his promise, and all they had to do was take possession of the land. The others saw themselves through the eyes of their enemies, as grasshoppers, instead of through the eyes of God, as conquerors in His name. It doesn’t matter what those around us think; it only matters what we believe. If we believe God’s promises, and we do our part, God will follow through on his part. If we believe what the world says, we will never even attempt what God calls us to do. We fail before we start.

So, we should face our circumstances from our belief in God, knowing that he is molding us into the person he envisioned us to be. Sometimes that takes us through challenges that look insurmountable, but if we remember that God is on our side as long as we follow His will, we can know that He will make a way for us. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks; it only matters what we believe because our response to circumstances will be a reflection of that belief.

The next time you are tempted to complain about a circumstance, take a moment to reevaluate the situation. Pray and ask God to reveal His will to you. It could make a real difference in your attitude as well as your response no matter what the outcome.