Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where’s Your Focal Point?

The definition of “focal point” is “center of attention or interest.”

In the Lamaze method of childbirth, using a focal point is taught as a way to help the mother focus on something other than the contractions and the length of time she is laboring. Generally, it is suggested she use an object that also helps to stimulate positive feelings such as love, comfort, or joy.

When I gave birth to my third child, our son was apparently very eager to take part in his own delivery. I am positive that he continued to wriggle and kick right until I began pushing, which was very hard on my back. It gave new meaning to me of the term for the final phase before delivery: active labor.

His constant activity and the ache in my back became so overwhelming that I could not concentrate on anything else. My husband could see in my eyes that I was completely losing it. As he puts it, it looked to him as if my focal point was on the 7th floor of the hospital!

Gently, but firmly, he took hold of my face, looked directly into my eyes and said something to the effect of, “Look at me… look at me… you’re doing great… just breathe and keep looking at me.”

It took several seconds to process what he was saying to me and another several for my gaze to actually focus in on his eyes, but as soon as I was there… as soon as his eyes were my focal point… I regained as much composure as is possible while in labor and was able to concentrate on breathing, relaxing, and finally giving birth to our very healthy, over 10 pound son.

Looking into my husband’s eyes during that time of great stress was a tremendously empowering experience. He was able to impart into me what I didn’t have – courage, confidence, strength, security, love, faith… so many things! Nearly sixteen years later, I am still empowered by the memory of that one moment in time with him.

Since that day, we have made it a priority to become each others' focal point to strengthen our marriage relationship in both good times and stressful times. He imparts his strength, courage, and love to me, while I impart my love, respect, and confidence to him.

The Lord does the same thing for us. When we are coping with stressful things, He doesn’t want us in utter chaos, confusion, and worry over them, but rather a peace that brings strength to see us through those times.

The prophet Isaiah knew this when he declared to the Lord, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)

Even Jesus Himself promised, "I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

Having your thoughts fixed on Jesus allows Him to impart into you His peace no matter what you’re going through. He is never surprised or caught off-guard by anything that comes your way, so His peace is ever-present, always available. All you have to do is take your focus off the 7th floor where all your problems are and make Jesus your focal point – fix your thoughts on Him!

I will leave you with this thought from Philippians chapter 4 as my prayer for you today:

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God bless!

All scripture references in this blog entry are from the New Living Translation.

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