In 2013 I asked God for a “WORD” for the year (thinking having one word would be loads easier than having my usual detailed list of resolutions). He gave me three: #1. Release #2. Accept. #3. Engage. (I thought I knew how those words would sum up. When it all came down, I realized I had no idea what was coming.) And so, I skipped the whole “one word” idea for 2014 entirely. Yep. I’m a chicken.
I have resolutions (goals) and a plan to hope for the best. I don’t need a “one word,” right? But this word keeps coming up in my prayer and meditation time, and I keep brushing it off. I finally looked it up, and the following definition brought tears to my eyes… I guess this IS my word for the year.
FOCUS: (verb)(of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.
A minister we followed used to say, “walk in the light that you have.” There’s wisdom there. As long as we are limited by these mortal vessels, we’ll never have ALL the light, not even on any one particular subject. There’s always more to learn, more to know, because God is infinite. I like to think of God as an algebraic equation: God is the constant, as far as we comprehend His truth; and everything else is a variable. Most of the variables we don’t even see, or know, or understand. That leaves a LOT to the unknown, a lot to trust and faith and hope.
In other words, you might think you know everything there is to know, but you really only know what you can see, and what you can see is limited to your perspective, which is, in turn, limited to your particular bag of dirt and its experience. It’s pretty darn limited… like trying to forecast the weather from the inside of a dark closet.
I’ve fretted (which should probably be my middle name) about the possible implications of the word “FOCUS” for 2015, and its definitions, but that’s a fruitless waste of time. Better to consider how to apply the word to my life, one day at a time, because that’s how life comes. We’re not guaranteed how tomorrow will go, despite our prayers and incantations. (Which throws such a ginormous wrench in my name-it-claim-it-you’re-blessed-so-you-get-what-you-want-everything-will-be-OK-prosperity-gospel doctrine.)
And yet, finding the light in every situation might be the secret to physical/spiritual/emotional contentment described by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:
There was a time when I would have said Paul was saying hope, or faith, or prayer, or some other kind of spiritual striving was the secret to contentment. Today I would say acceptance is what Paul intended. (And now I’m mature enough to say I could STILL be totally wrong!)
Acceptance is learning to live in the light that we have, and finding our peace and happiness, and yes, contentment, in that place. Even if that light comes through the bars of a cell, or the smudged perspective of depression, or the tear-stained glass of grief, or the shattered view of chronic pain, or the muted view of confusion.
Wherever you are, light is seeking you. Embrace it. Cling to the light, to the good, for in that light you will find your way to wholeness and fulfillment. Focus on the light, for in the light, whatever light you have, you will see clearly, and be able to go forward.