Tag Archives: focus

Living Life in the Present

Carl loves his walks.  Next to being fed, taking a walk around the block is what he lives for. He and his sister Bee constantly compete for who will lead their pack around the three mile path marked out by their humans.IMG_4776

With his ears perked up and his body stiff and alert, Carl walks like he is on a mission. As he struts forward, he is always attentive to his surroundings. You could say that Carl lives in the present.

We all could learn from Carl.  So often, I find myself drifting in my thoughts to either my past or my future.  This is particularly true right before a vacation.

My husband and I will be going on a cruise in the near future. Just the thought of being out in the middle of the ocean with 80 degree temperatures can sweep my thoughts away. Carnival Cruise lines has an app that you can open and it states to the minute how long it will be before we will set sail. At this time it will be 8 days, 1 hour and 59 minutes.

Every day for the last week, we have opened the app just to see the numbers drop and the time draw closer and closer to our cruise. There really isn’t anything bad about doing this. We all have thoughts that captivate us and send us into another time and place. Even though it isn’t bad, there is a better way to spend my moments. In the present.

I have come to realize that if I spend too much time focusing on the future, I miss out on the gift of the present. The Apostle Paul learned a lesson that I believe we all can benefit from.  He stated, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

So instead of dreaming about the future, I need to be content in the present. God doesn’t promise me the days ahead but as long as I am breathing, I do have the present to enjoy.

Carl is back from his walk and resting in his favorite place. He sure knows how to live his life to the fullest. Even when he is sleeping, he seems pleased with his present circumstances. If my dog can be happy with his life, surely, with the help of Jesus who gives me strength, I can  enjoy mine.IMG_4774

 

 

Getting Out of Our Lane

Carl is notorious for budging Bee from her position as they walk down the road. Sometimes it can be a nip to the ear and other times it can be an outright push with his body. Either way, when he gets out of his lane, it makes walking the bullies awkward for all of us.

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When I was in high school, I wanted to participate in all the sports that I could. Since I was short, I knew that track would be challenging but I thought I would give it a try. With little training and understanding of running long distances, it quickly became apparent that this would not be the sport that I would excel in.

One particular race will never be erased from my memory. I started off well.  I was even in the lead around the first quarter mile turn. But then it all changed. I could hear the breathing of my opponents drawing closer and closer to me. Instead of staying focused on my race, I started looking to the left and right of me.

Before I knew it, the other racers started passing me. And instead of being first, I was drawn back to the very back of the pack. To this day, I think about the fact that I took my eyes off of my race and was consumed with the racers around me.

Hebrews 12:1 states it beautifully, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

How often do we do this in life? We start off well, focusing on what we need to focus on and then someone runs beside us and appears to be passing us. Instead of staying focused on our particular race, we start looking in their direction. Then, it happens. The bitterness of envy and jealousy seep into our hearts and our race becomes entangled.

Because of Carl’s determination to lead, his leash has gotten entangled and we now have to stop and untangle the leashes before moving on. As I struggle to break apart the leashes, I have to smile and think about how often I have been stopped in my own walk to untangle the mess that I have created. Once the leashes are free, Carl puts his head straight ahead and we are back on the race that has been marked out for both of us.

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