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Sunday, July 08, 2007

An apology

Have you ever had an epiphany in church? Maybe I should experience this more often, but lately I haven't.

Today was different.

Andy Stanley preached today and God met me there.

Not in a casual or warm fuzzy sort of way. More like an Aslan roar that froze me to my seat.

Andy's main topic was this principle: "Direction, not intention, always determines destination."

This makes logical sense when we think about planning and intending to go to the beach for vacation, but then taking the road north when we should have gone south. Good intentions and what you packed for the beach don't matter if you drive the wrong direction.

But what about life?

How often do we say we want a good marriage, to be a good parent, to grow in Christ, but we head in a far more selfish direction with the way we spend our time day in and day out?

Andy added this chilling truth: "This is not a principle we break. Instead we will either leverage it the way God intended or we will be broken against it."

If we focus on the things that capture our attention (the hurts, temptations, circumstance to complain about) instead of the right things we focus our attention on, we'll find we don't like where we end up.

Proverbs 4:25, 27: “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.”

Psalm 119:37: “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

It's not a matter of smarts~ think about Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible. He let foreign wives capture his attention and in the end reaped sadness and emptiness.

It's not a matter of godliness~ think about King David, a man after God's own heart. He let a woman bathing capture his attention and it destroyed his family and the nation he ruled.

So why is this all an epiphany for me?

The answer to Andy's two questions will clarify...

He asked, "What's captured your attention?" and "What do you need to pay attention to instead?"

God wrote the answer across my mind in a series of life snippets from these past two years of my writing journey. Flashes of time in which I heard the complaints, saw the tears, and felt the anger over how things have gone for me. Images of things done wrongly, wounded pride, wounding words, and lost friendships.

All the sudden I saw in every instance how I had a choice and I'd most of the time chosen poorly. Instead of being quick to run to God and be reminded that He called me to write for Him and through Him (what I should have been focusing on), I let my heart and mouth complain.

Which led me down a path I didn't want to go. But it's where I chose to focus. And direction~ where I placed my eyes and attention~ determined my destination.

The focus of my attention, especially these last few months, has been one of counting the heartaches and bemoaning the rotten "breaks" I've received. The destination I've been hurtling towards is one of wearing thin to the point of quitting. Not just saying I want to, but turning off the computer for good kind of quitting.

And for that and all the words of complaint, I owe a huge apology to many.

God never promised an easy climb nor a successful experience. He simply called me to obedience.

But I looked around and saw what He'd given to others and in essence pouted like a two year old. And complained to everyone who would listen.

For those who have heard my depressing recount of circumstances, I'm truly sorry.

For those who have loved me anyway through all of this, I'm truly thankful.

I wish I could say from now on I promise not to complain, but I've lived long enough to know that's a fool's promise I'll break quickly because my focus would still be wrong. It would be on not complaining.

And direction, where we focus, determines where we end up.

So where do I want to end up? In writing and in life, I want to end up hearing, "Well done. You've been faithful with a little. Come and enter into your reward."

I want to honor God. I want to humble myself and apologize, as well as seek forgiveness, when I mess up.

I want to focus on what I know in my heart is true...

My calling is to obedience not to a sales number destination

My anchor is in being loved by a God who is neither disappointed or impressed by my performance

God has a good plan and He is good all the time, even when I don't feel it

In every hard circumstance there is a simple ~ not easy ~ decision: where does my focus belong?

Attention determines direction and direction determines destination.

I'm taking a long-overdue U-turn from the path I've been on and placing my attention back onto the forgiving face of my God.

How about you?

Where are you headed?

Attention. Direction. Destination.

It's a principle that we can't break. But we can be broken upon. Or we can high tail it into the loving arms of our forgiving Father and set out on a new path with a new focus.

The choice is ours. I pray, like Andy did at church this morning, that God would grant us the wisdom to know what we need to do and the courage to do it.


Rel said...

Whoa! Who would have thought that God uses the internet too?! Thanks for sharing what is on your heart because God spoke to me through your words about Andy's words about God's words!

You have a heart that is precious to God and to me - thanks so much for sharing it :)

Amy Wallace said...

Thanks, my friend. You make my heart smile!

Sally Datria said...

Ummm...YOU can NOT quit until you finish that third book so I can read it!! (standing with my hands on my hips tapping my foot...okay, I WOULD be tapping my foot if I could but due to the knee injury I can't so you'll have to use your imagination!!)

I KNOW you won't because God is not done with you yet and above all you love God. That is very apparent!!

Amy Wallace said...


You are guaranteed that I won't quit any time before the third book is done. There's a little thing called a contract, and a big person called God who will see to that!

Love and prayers for your mending, my friend! Thanks for always being wonderful heart chocolate to me.

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