“There’s a reason your windshield is so large, and your rear-view mirror is so small”, my old ranch hand stated matter of fact. These words have been echoing down the halls of my memory a lot this week. As my Ms. Diane begins emerging from a long season of health issues and chronic pain, I praise God as I watch her taking those first steps towards independence. Still, there’s a part of me who will miss being her caregiver.
It’s with mixed emotions that I contemplate what the coming months will look like. With one last upcoming surgery, I’ll have a brief few weeks of fussing over my bride; bringing her meals, helping her dress, and running the home. After that, I wonder, will I be needed at all? Oh, I’ll still be the one who can reach what’s needed from the top shelf, but life will definitely change around the Cross-Dubya. Thinking about our future, I choose the windshield.
Looking through the windshield of my life, I see more time for my Christian writing and more freedom to travel outside the home (look out Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference). I see more jobs around the ranch that I can finally get accomplished, and I see more opportunities to help others. For Ms. Diane, I envision her return to the throne. She’ll reclaim her kitchen, reestablish her role as “Queen Bee” and director of all things household, and I’ll see her smile and sweet countenance return.
Will I miss all those texts to come help or to fetch things? No. Will I miss what sometimes felt like her total dependence upon me? In some ways.Each day, we either choose to move forward or backward in our faith. #Faith #AdvanceOrRetreat Click To Tweet
Thinking about how our lives are changing as we navigate our return to normalcy, I’ve been considering the impact of how we focus our faith. It seems that everywhere we Christians look in this world today, everything seems to point in the opposite direction of where God’s Word tells us we’re going. I see more open rebellion against God and against the Christianity that’s supposed to represent Him. If I focus on the rear-view by paying attention to what the world is saying and doing, then I’m taking my eyes off what God wants me to see.
As Satan’s enemies, we Christians must choose each day to look forward. Satan is defeated and knows he can’t win. He knows that he can’t have us true Christians, so his goal is to render us as ineffective as possible. All his efforts are focused on preventing us from sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively and winning more souls to Christ. He does this by drawing our attention away from the good work God has promised to complete in our lives (Philippians 1:6).
The more time Satan can get us to spend looking in our rear-view, our past, he focuses on what was, rather than what is. His favorite tactic for many of us is the “you’re not good enough” trick. How many of us have heard that screaming in our heads when we’ve stumbled in our walk of faith? See, I knew you couldn’t do it. If you were a good Christian, you wouldn’t have done that. How can you call yourself a child of God? You’re a fake! The second you hear those thoughts recognize that you’re being drawn into the rear-view.
Two of my favorite verses for countering Satan’s invitation and ensuring my heart maintains a view through the windshield of faith are Hebrews 12:1 and Philippians 3:13-14.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by
so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside
every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is
set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV)
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind and reaching forward to those things which
are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13-14, NKJV)
It is in the act of reminding myself of the importance to keep leaning and looking forward in my race that I state my citizenship is in heaven. I proclaim God’s promise that Paul so eloquently describes in Philippians 3:17-21. In that promise we fix our focus on what’s coming and not what we’ve left behind.
I pray this week that someone grabs hold of these promises with me as we walk boldly into the future God has for us. We may not know what tomorrow might bring, but when we are in Christ, we know what our future holds. Stay focused on that windshield my friends.
Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.
52 thoughts on “Fixing Your Focus”
As always, your lessons ring true and have a way of sticking with me. Pictures are worth a thousand words…and the lessons are even more valuable. Praying for Diane as she gathers strength for the coming days. Praying for health and many years to come for bot of you
Thank you Ms. Jeanne. We so appreciate your prayers ma’am.
I’m so glad to hear that Ms. Diane is about to become Queen Bee and resume her important role. As a fellow caregiver, I’m thrilled for you both! I agree, let’s keep our focus on the windshield and our hope for our future in Christ. May your days be blessed as you share them and many more together, and may your lives be rich in Christ’s love. Heaven will be so wonderful when we can all rejoice in the presence of our Lord and Savior!
Absolutely Ms. Karen. Like you though, I wouldn’t trade a single moment of caring for a loved one for anything in the world. Such an honor and blessing to show our love for others.
Oh, J. D., I didn’t realize that your dear Diane was combatting health issues that have limited her ability to enjoy her normal routine and life in general. Please let her know that I will be praying for her full recovery. As someone who had to depend on my husband for everything after I came home from the hospital, I truly can identify with all you both have been going through. It isn’t fun!
But you are spot-on in reminding us to look through life’s windshield instead of the rearview mirror. Satan has been plaguing me recently with troubling mistakes from my past, especially in the mornings when I’m just beginning to awaken to a promising new day. He certainly knows how to plague us! From now on, I’ll think of the path ahead, and shut him out from the past.
Blessings, my friend!
I suspect that your Mr. Danny feels the same way I do Ms. Martha, it’s just another way of expressing our love. Thank you for your kind prayers.
Your posts are always a blessing. Thank you
As are your encouraging comments ma’am.
Keeping our focus on Him is definitely key. It’s so easy these days to slip into fear and anxiety and allow our focus to go to that rear view mirror. such a good reminder to pay attention to what we allow to capture our attention.
How true. Thank you for commenting ma’am. You always add such richness with your perspectives.
Another excellent read! Yes- Windshield vision.
Aww shucks. Thanks sweet lady.
Praying for Ms. Diane and for you, too. Thank you for continuing to encourage others. Have a blessed day!
It’s easy Ms. Melissa. I just try and follow your example ma’am. Thank you so much for stopping by.
The visual about the windshield and rearview mirror will remain with me! That’s a memorable teaching!
It is easy to give consideration to what was and let the enemy take our eyes off what God is doing ahead of us.
The verse in Isaiah 43 came to mind:
Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See! I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Amen! Exactly Ms. Mary! Glad you enjoyed ma’am.
I’m so glad to hear Ms. Diane is emerging from the pain and health issues. I pray the next surgery goes well.
You’re a much better caregiver than I was. 🙂 We took care of my husband’s mother in our home for five years, and I am afraid I didn’t take much joy in it. Maybe that was partly due to the fact that there was no hope of improvement, but it was largely due to my own selfishness.
My husband is an excellent caregiver, though. Some years ago, a virus hit my spine and triggered an autoimmune reaction, and I couldn’t walk (or do much of anything) for a few months. I so appreciated his care, but I did see the strain on him. We had already used up all his time off for the year, so he had to make up his work as well as look after me and the kids.
I like the analogy with the windshield and review mirror. I hear some people say we shouldn’t look back at all, but God tells us to remember how He has led us and provided for us in the past. But the rearview mirror is smaller–we’re supposed to spend more of our time looking ahead and doing what God has for us now. As He was faithful to you both so far, so He will be as you navigate the path ahead.
Thank you Ms. Barabara. So glad you liked the post. Please don’t be mistaken, caregiving, no matter how much we may love the other person, can be a struggle at times. It’s how we overcome those struggles that become the true test of our faith. We’re not always perfect, but we keep trying with God’s grace and patience.
Those are two of my favorite verses to call on because too often I look backward rather than forward. I love this! The rear view mirror and windshield give me a visual to hang onto. “Just shift the view Candyce” like J.D. said.
Rejoicing with you and Ms. Diane over the coming changes!
Too kind. Thank you precious friend. So glad you enjoyed,
God bless you and Ms. Diane. It sounds like you’ve been through a great adventure. You’re wise to consider the changes before they happen.
God bless and thanks, JD.
Thank You Ms. Nancy. Always appreciate all your encouraging words ma’am.
JD, Hooray that Diane is getting stronger! Prayers this next surgery goes well and for quick recovery.
Love these verses and reminders, my friend.
Thank you Ms. Beckie. We’re praying hard here for you sweet girl.
Looking forward to having you 2 back at church. We have been praying for y’all!!
Thank you Ms. Patti. Ms. Diane were rejoicing for you and all our “Family of Faith” this week while she was hospitalized. Such a blessing to know we have family lifting us up in prayer. We pray we can return those blessings.
Wise words, J. D. Thank you. Praises for Diane’s progress!
You bet! Thank you Ms. Diana.
As always, Mr. J.D., we read such wisdom and encouragement. And congratulations to Ms. Diane and to you. What a beautiful couple representing the Lord you are. That’s how the Body of Christ should operate. Lord, heal Diane completely and may this couple’s example shine before others giving you glory.
Aww… Isn’t it funny how we feel exactly the same about you and Mr. Larry? Thank you for the prayers ma’am. They are felt!
Thank you for sharing your lesson with us. It helps me to focus my thoughts and look through my windshield at Christ daily. Praying for your wife as she heals and for God to grant you so rest from your double duty.
Thank you Ms. Yvonne. As you well know my friend, caregiving is a labor of love; and one that brings many more blessings than we give.
It’s such a special blessing to hear good news about someone we’ve been praying for. I love the way you used it to introduce a concept that we can never reinforce too often. It seems like the older I get the more prone I am to look backward and to reminisce about days gone by than look ahead at the opportunities and challenges that God wants me to engage now. I can also relate to how it must feel to envision things getting back to normal. Unfortunately, around our house, it’s my Mrs. Diane who had to do the caretaking and I had to feel the guilt of seeing her having to do so many things that she shouldn’t have had to shoulder. But like you, she didn’t complain and never acted like I was a burden. Love is an incredible thing, and to see God awaken the strength it can infuse in those who have it generates praise and gratitude that are beyond words. Once again, your invitation to share life at the Cross-Dubya on so many levels has been inspirational. We love you guys, and are sending what Diane calls “air hugs” your way.
Thank you Mr. Ron. Your texts and encouraging words are always such a welcome blessing sir. And know how you and your Ms. Diane have been praying us through this journey certainly makes the trip much easier.
Being a caregiver brings us closer to our oved one, strengthening the already strong bond between. I’m so glad your sweet bride continues to improve. Keep looking forward, my friend, and thank you for this inspiring message for us to do the same. Wishing you good health and blessings, kind sir.
It surely does strengthen the bonds between caregiver and recipient Ms. Katherine. What a great point ma’am. Thank you so much for the blessing my friend.
Wise words on staying focused, J.D. Praying for both you and Ms. Diane and the ranch as you navigate a return to normal routines.
I’m glad to hear that Ms. Diane is on the way to independence. Don’t worry I’m sure she still needs you! We do tend to use that rear view mirror too much. I join with you in claiming Philippians 3:13-14. We should only look back to learn from not wallow in regret and we look forward to the prize.
Oh, I’m certain she does (I’m the tall one who can reach stuff), but looking forward, I will be praising God when I see she doesn’t need me as much.
We are so looking forward to “normal” Ms. Joanne; whatever that is. 😀
I’m thankful for Ms. Diane’s imminent recovery, J.D. It seems a new season of life is always around the corner, doesn’t it? I think you have a wonderful perspective on the gifts you received from God during the health issues we can learn from. Blessings to you and your bride! P.S. See you at BRMCWC!
Thank you Ms. Annie; and yes, I can’ wait to finally meet you in person my encouraging friend. See you at BRMCWC.
Prayers ascending for both of you.
They were felt precious friend. Thank you! And yes ma’am, let us always be looking forward.
Lord Jesus, please grant Ms. Diane renewed strength and health. Grant J.D. and his bride much joy together in the years ahead.
Such kindness. Thank you for the prayers Ms. Debbie.
Praying for a successful surgery and quick and complete healing!
Thank you Ms. Karen. They were welcomed ma’am.
Blessings to you and Ms. Diane! She’ll always need you!
🙂 I pray! Thank you Ms. LuAnn.
Good to hear that Ms. Diane is improving. Must be all that good caregiving you provided!
The enemy often reminds me that my writing isn’t worth my time, that my playing is inferior to others, and my inability to understand (or even want to understand) technology will always impede my progress. It’s a constant battle I fight. But I have to listen to my heart, and my heart belongs to Him.
I think her improving is “in spite of” more than “in response to”, as I’m more of the “Rub some mud on it and get back in the game” kind of guy. LOL Still, I am ever-grateful that my girl is improving and her quality of life is once again on the increase. And Amen, we must keep our focus on Him rather than how the world tries to define us.