“Happiness is reality minus expectations, right? Here’s the bottom line: Your feelings aren’t determined by your circumstances. Your feelings are a function of your focus. Simply put, your focus determines your reality. How do we fix our thoughts? By fixing our focus.”- Mark Batterson (emphasis Mark’s)
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”- James 1:23-24 (ESV)
Mark Batterson concludes Day 10 of Do It for a Day as he talks about a concept called the focusing illusion. The author defines the concept as a cognitive bias whereby people tend to depend too much on the first piece of information presented to them. Therefore, we judge a book by its cover. Or create a lasting impression based on a first impression.
Consequently, Pastor Batterson observes, you always come up short when you measure your problems against your ability, resources, or education. Thus, there’s only one way to fix your focus. Measure your problems against the character of God — His goodness, His character, and His sovereignty.
In addition, we possess a sense of self that we base on how we believe others perceive us. Charles Horton Cooley, a co-founder of the American Sociological Association, refers to it as the looking glass self. Hence, Mark counsels:
“That’s why we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We take our cues from Scripture, and it becomes our script-cure. Then we interrupt the problem by fixing our focus. . . . You can’t let other people narrate your life. If you do, you’ll spend your entire life living up or down to their expectations! You have to let go and let God narrate.”
Finally, Mark encourages, God’s bigger than your biggest problem, challenge, or mistake. So, choose joy. You’ll find joy when you appreciate what you have. Rather than getting what you want.
Today’s question: Do you believe that focus determines your reality? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Creating God in our image”