Focusing On What’s Above

The weather had been beautiful and the weekend marked by ice cream, walks along the lakefront, playtime at the park, and a round of putt putt. We were facing a 3-hour drive with an overly tired two year old and secretly I envisioned an expressway filled with parents in a similar situation.

It started like this:

 “I want my juice. I want my Mickey. I want my IPad.”

She rubbed those tired eyes and I watched over my shoulder with bated breath – hoping, against what history had proven to be true, that she would fall asleep.  But it wasn’t to be.  She dropped her Mickey, and couldn’t find her fire truck book, and then for good measure dropped her sippy cup too.

“I want my cup. I want my Mickey. I want my book.”

I turned, trying to reach the figurine lost in the mums I picked up at the Farmer’s Market. But it couldn’t be done and her shrill little voice kept on repeating the same refrain.

“I want my cuuup! I want my Miiiickeeeey! I want my boooook!”

And so we gave in. Trying to wipe her sticky fingers while stretching from my seat I eventually gave up and handed over the IPad. It was only a matter of seconds before I heard the familiar strains:

“It’s the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Come inside, it’s fun inside . . . ”

As we crossed from Ohio into Michigan I mentally thanked my husband for remembering to charge the IPad and eventually drifted off to sleep. I don’t remember what woke me – most likely it was her, our two year old. She’d reached her capacity. The IPad had been thrown to the ground as had her whole Disney crew. Her diaper was wet and she was tired the way only a kid can be after a long vacation weekend. My husband was assuring her that we were almost home and I continued to look forward as any glance from me seemed to set this Daddy’s girl over the edge. And then her mantra changed:

“I want my Jesus. I want my Jesus. I want my JESUS!”

Her shift caught us off guard, but not for long and we were quick to respond.

Daddy tells her: “Just ask Jesus into your heart.”

Her sister reasons: “You don’t have to ask for Jesus, you already have him.”

And I extort: “Ask for more Jesus baby, ask for more Jesus!”

We’re having fun and running with it.  But her words and the shift in pattern stick out to me.  There’s a lesson and a blog post here . . . God is bringing together all the pieces with a handy illustration.

You see, I’ve been studying the book of Colossians and have been reading the entirety of the small book each day. This morning while reading through the book, the words found in chapter 3, verse 2 stood out to me. “Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things.”  Then, in verse 5 Paul provides us with a list of earthly things that live within us and garner so much of our attention:

  • Sexual Immorality
  • Impurity
  • Passion
  • Evil Desire
  • Covetousness (idolatry)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get really focused on earthly things – including many not on the list Paul provides. I slip easily into the pattern of focusing on the details of my job, my paycheck, the work that needs done around my home.  I can become focused on the stuff I want and the stuff I have. Being focused on MY schedule and MY time and MY needs and MY wants leaves little room for anything or anyone else.

Truth be told, there have been times that I’m not much better behaved than my 2 year old at the start of our trip – making all kinds of noise about those earthly things I am trying to hold so tightly to and having a fit when they slip out of my grasp. We’re so desperate in these moments over things of no consequence.

 Looking back, I am grateful for the times God did not give in to my selfish, uneducated demands. There were times years ago when I kicked and screamed about the status of things.  I am grateful for the times He refused to cave to my tired, entitled, and whiney voice. And, I am grateful for the truth He allows me to see.

When we can enter into a posture of focusing on the things above and not below, we position ourselves to enter into a more intimate relationship with Christ.

Our cry should be more like my sweet Sofia’s as we draw closer to home, setting aside the earthly things and calling out for our Jesus.