Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#45 - A Fixed Gaze

Good morning! WOW! If you could feel the South Carolina morning today! Blue skies, light breeze, birds chirping, dog barking.... but the BEST of it is the temperature! It feels like it might be only in the high 80's or low 90's! WOW! SO refreshing compared to the summers 105-109 degree temperatures! It feels GREAT out here!

Well... got some good stuff this morning. And THEN the boy and I get to go to his first "gym class" @ MyGym. Should be interesting. Obviously I'm not to thrilled about the whole "Wednesday" class thing since it's usually my DOR.... but today it not my DOR.... only 2 Wednesday's of gym class, then he will switch most likely to Thursday or Saturday. Yippee! :) (Even though those are morning classes... which, all ya'll who have been following know that "the boy" frequently doesn't wake up for his day til about 11:30-12:00. But, it will be worth it! :) ) And yes, "ALL YA'LL" would definitely classify me now as a Southerner! I said it out loud! All Ya'll! You'in's. Or as they say up north in the good ole corn country of Indiana, You Guys. So, ya'll, let's get started! :)
Proverbs 4:25-26 - Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
Proverbs 31:25 - Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
Proverbs 31:25 (NLT) - She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. 
Fix your eyes. Goals. Plans. 

I remember vividly the days of High School cross-country season. My sister Kimmi & I ran together and created a lot of fond memories during those years. My dad was a pretty stout runner in his day, so for him to coach us & give us tips came very natural to him. I can still see the runs on our old cross-country course back at the High School. The first 1/2 mile was out in the open, and then, we entered the wooded area. The next mile would be back through trees and trails, around a pond, some small hills, tall grasses accompanied by the dry pollen in the air. As we ran, branches hanging across our trail, but just tall enough where our head could duck under without hitting them. The air was dense. The weeds & grasses by Rouch's pond seemed to suck the air right out of our reach, leaving our breathes short, and wanting more. One step, in front of the other. One step, then the next. Right, left, right, left. Our rhythmic pace was quiet, and our breathing was steady. Arms moving strong, positioned at a perfect 90 degree angle, hands at a relaxed open cup. "Don't choke up your arms," we would hear if our form got lazy and our 90 degree angle began to tighten. The more perfect the form, the less energy it would use to give more energy to speed, to endurance. The quieter that we could run, the better with our competition as we approached from behind to pass them. And where were our eyes? Where was our head? Our heads were fixed in a steady, but straight position, our gaze fixed forward about 25 yards. The common "rule of thumb" for all good runners was this, "Keep you head up, keep your eyes focused ahead." Sometimes laziness would pull our eyes down to 3-4 feet in front of us. Looking at each step as we took it, until someone, our dad, a coach, someone invariably shouted reminding us to pull our eyes up, focus on what was ahead. Rough terrain brought us scoping out the next steps, but always about 25 yards ahead at a time. But mostly, if an opponent was close, our eyes were FIXED on her back. Our eyes were fixed on the center of her back as we quietly closed the gap between her and us. She would not even hear us coming. All-conference. Conference champs. Semi-State runners, our team missing the state meet. 4 great runners on a team.... that is one short of a State team. It's hard to go real far without 5 good runners. because 5 scores come into play. 

The Cardinal Rule for ALL good runners, all competitive runners: FIX YOUR GAZE AHEAD. FIX YOUR GAZE FORWARD.

Planning. Where is your gaze fixed? Our Proverbs 31 friend has looked at what the future holds. She has prepared for the future by what she is doing now. Her "NOW" is preparing for her "TOMORROW." Her "NOW" is preparing for her future. Her daily agenda regularly is setting up her SECURITY in tomorrow. Her SECURITY in what's to come in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the road. Her NOW. Her TODAY. What she does in her daily agenda is setting herself up for a comfortable future, a confident future. 

Does your life consist of just the "day to day", "come what may", "I'll deal with it when it gets here", "Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be", "fly by the seat of your pants?" Do you operate without a plan? Is your GAZE FIXED at your feet? Is it fixed only 3 steps ahead? Is your gaze fixed with your head down? That "today only" mentality often yields a "fear of the future" life. It also yields a lack of passion. When you are looking down at your feet (aka: lacking goals, direction, purpose), you miss the view. When you looking down, you can not see the beauty all around. You can not see the birds flying, the beautiful sky, the amazing sunset, the mountains, waterfalls, the hot air balloon ascending, the ocean waves. All of which, is in front of you. When you are only focused on your feet, you MISS your future! You miss what COULD BE. You miss the opportunity to experience, to go, to explore, to travel. When your gaze is fixed at your feet, you are lacking direction, you can not see where you are going because your gaze is confined. 

A fixed gaze FORWARD consists of goals. Consists of plans. It has too. To run from here to there, it takes a plan of getting from point A to point B. Not a self-directed, selfish plan, but a God-directed, others focused plan. A plan that includes serving others. Providing a service. A good, a product, a word of encouragement. It includes checking back in, "Hey Lord, am I still on track? Am I still going the right direction. My gaze right now is fixed ultimately at that big pier up the way. I'm now headed towards the tree up ahead, but ultimately I'm going to curve around on my way to get THERE! Am I still going in the best direction to get to my destination? My destiny? Just wanted to check in." ....... pause, quiet yourself, stop talking and listen to His response.

Goals. Direction. Plans. Do you have any for your life? Or... are you just living day to day? Whatever comes your way? Begin today. Brainstorm your passions. Brainstorm your dreams. What would bring ultimate love and passion into your eyes? What would bring a twinkle like Christmas morning? The twinkle and excitement that wakes you up early every day? Before your alarm clock even sounds its hello. Begin to dialog with your Father. He will give you direction if you ASK Him and LISTEN. 

Live your dreams on earth! Begin living them now. Establish excitement for your future. Establish excitement for your NOW. 

Need Help? Here's a book recommendation:
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson


Anonymous said...

Hey Mrs. McCart! This is Carly Lewis from Christian Academy :) and I saw this on facebook so I was so excited to read this! You are such a blessing! God truly has used this to help reassure me of whats to come. I am about to leave for college in two weeks to move about four hours away from home, and I am also undeclared about my major. This change is very scary and new to me, so when you spoke on having no fear for the future but rather setting your sights ahead, this helped more than you know! I have always had great plans for my life, but now as the pressure comes to decide what I want to do as a career, it is much more stressful than I anticipated. Thankyou so much for allowing me to see that God has great plans and that although I can't understand them all now, I need to keep him as my focus and He will ultimately reveal them to me. Thanks again, and I look forward to reading more!

Amy J. McCart said...

Carly, Carly, Carly!
What a blessing to hear from you! This was what I thought when I read your comment... Carly... the picture that comes to mind of you was a butterfly. When I taught you, even as a young 5th & 6th grader, you were so full of grace & love, your heart was so filled with the love of God! I was SOOOO amazed that all of that could be inside a little 5th grader. Your words and actions were always filled with compassion, your moral compass was always to do what was right and please the Lord. What a blessing you were in my life!!! A true testimony of how God can work in young people. Such a big, full heart. Carly who you are and what you have is so rare. I'm sure you have had your interesting seasons over the past 5-6 years, but you truly are special. Just by looking at you and knowing you, I know God has pretty amazing plans for you. Big plans. You can do anything Carly! Don't settle for less than following your passions and dreams! God has BIG things He wants to accomplish through you, His faithful daughter.
One thing that has really helped me lately.... I guess a "check" if you want to call it that is this statement. "Faith is never Frustrated." As you go off to college, just have faith that you are in the right place, at the right time, taking the right classes & that as you pursue the Lord, like you said, He WILL reveal to you your direction. If you start to feel frustrated, recognize that it is not from Him. Faith is confidence & assurance. Faith is hope & expectation. Faith is not doubt & frustration. Whenever I have felt frustrated, I always go back to that and check myself. And often, have to pull myself back into faith and realize God has perfect & awesome plans.
Love you so much! Thanks so much for writing. Please tell your mom hello for me!!

Mrs. McCart.... you can call me Amy. :) hehe

Another post on purpose that might be helpful is this:
"Pursuing Your Purpose in Peace"

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