Photography is my hobby.  I love taking my camera outside and capturing images of God’s beautiful creation.  Flowers, butterflies, and sunsets are some of my favorite subjects, and I have been known to stalk a butterfly for as long as it takes to get a photograph I want.  Their delicate beauty, patterns of color, and graceful flight are worthy of the effort put forth on a warm summer’s day.  But, as you know, butterflies flit from one location to the next with little to no notice.  There is such a short moment in time to snap the picture, and, too often, what I think will be the perfect picture is far from it. The shutter opens just a second late, and I end up with a blurry image.  The image I so wanted to capture is out of focus, but I may have a great picture of the leaf or the flower behind the butterfly. Now, I know that this is not by any means the end of the world, but, for me, it is frustrating.
     This analogy came to mind several nights ago as I lay in bed unable to sleep because I was completely overtaken with concerns in several different areas in the life of our family. To put it more bluntly, I was awake worrying about “stuff.” You know what “stuff” is!  We all have our own “stuff,” and, no matter how much sleep we lose, it is still there the next day. However, in reality, the things reeking havoc in my mind were not really all that devastating and insurmountable.  These concerns only seemed that way because all my focus was on the problems, and when the problems were in focus, they appeared to be giants that could overtake me at any moment. I had completely zoomed in on them.
     It was in that moment of clarity that I found the answer I needed. I had to change the direction of my focus to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, and zoom in on Him. There I could leave my “stuff,” let Jesus sort through the pile, and trust Him to give me the counsel I need.  Such a simple, obvious solution, but how the obvious things seem to elude us when we are worn out from the weight of our “stuff.”
     On the way to church this past Sunday, my husband pointed out two squirrels scampering across the road. One of the squirrels sported his God-given long, bushy tail while the other squirrel had only just a few inches of tail left.  The latter had evidently encountered some problems and giants himself. However, he had moved on and was not lingering over his misfortune. He was not focusing on his loss. By golly, he out ran the other squirrel and beat him up the closest tree.
     So, the next time you feel like you only have a little nub of your long bushy tail left, take a lesson from that squirrel.  Don’t focus on the loss, the “stuff.”  Zoom your focus in on Jesus, and he will lift that load from your shoulders to His. And just as butterflies flutter from one place to the next, you will feel less burdened and ready to display the beauty of Christ in you.

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