Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Do you ever find it hard to concentrate on what’s important? Lately I’ve noticed I tend to shut my eyes in two of the activities I enjoy. When I’m at worship, and we are singing, if I know the music well enough, I often shut my eyes as we sing along. Why? If I have them open, I tend to look at the song leader, some of the band, or some other person. It’s perfectly natural, isn’t it? You look at the leader who is setting the pace. But I noticed that while I am looking at that person, I sometimes think of how well he or she is doing at that role or whatever slips into my mind. Even though I may be singing “Great are you, Lord, and worthy of praise,” or some other words of worship I’m only half-way present to God. The other half of me, or maybe more of me, is beginning to roam and perhaps thinking, “I wonder if ____ is singing along with this song. I know he probably doesn’t like it.” I may even turn my head and check that out, look across the worshipers and see if he’s in his usual spot. Whoa ! Right? I’m barely worshiping now. I’m evaluating someone else’s worship to see if that person is as sincere as I am, all the while diluting my own worship.
So, somehow in recent months I find it works better if I just shut my eyes and sing. I don’t need to see anything. I can soar into the song without any distraction. And I can catch a glimpse of what God intends for me, rather than wondering about someone else. So I shut my eyes in order to see.
The other place I often shut my eyes is at the wellness center where I go to work out at least once weekly. (OK, I don’t go often enough.) When I’m on a machine, pushing, pulling, straining, whatever it is, I am tempted to look at what others are doing, as well. Maybe that man over there was an athlete in college. I notice how much weight he chose to push, or pull or lift. But what does it matter to me? It’s just another unproductive way I may compare myself to others. I’m older, younger, smaller, taller, whatever it is. I just need to be concerned about how I am doing compared to last week. Am I on track for my personal goals, maintaining a healthy body? So I often shut my eyes as I go through the sequence, ten or twenty times on this butterfly machine or the abdomen crunch. It's much easier this way, too.
If I shut my eyes I can concentrate on my goal. And avoid distractions. I can focus on what’s important, whether I'm at the wellness center or at worship. That is what I need. It’s my journey that I am called to discover, not someone else’s. I shut my eyes so I can see.
(This was first published last summer when no one was
reading my blog, so I decided to share it here again.)