I realised some time ago that as I walk around, my focus is downwards about ten to fifteen feet in front of where I’m walking. I look up only occasionally to make sure I’m heading in the correct direction.
The crazy thing is I don’t think I’m on my own, and you’ll find that most people do this do too. Check this out for yourself the next time you’re walking down the street, just look at where the focus of most people’s attention will be. Sure they’ll look ahead every now and again, they may even look to the side to glance into a shop window (or over a hedge). But most of the time, it’ll be a little way ahead, looking slightly downwards.
You’re probably aware of the phenomenon in recent years of people looking at their mobile phones as they walk. In fact, you can download apps that use the camera of the phone, so the image from the camera becomes the background of the text or email that folks are reading. Supposedly this enables them to ‘see’ where they are going, while otherwise engaged!
Now, I’m certainly not going to rant about how smartphones are taking our attention away from the real world. Not at all, I love my smartphone. I appreciate the different ways in which I can connect to the world around me, including the virtual or augmented world. But I am amazed how people manage this feat of navigation mentioned above with so few collisions. It’s like our other senses begin to work harder as we get sucked into a world of emails, social media, and texts. Our ears pick up the noise of traffic growing louder as we approach a crossing. Our sense of smell detects new aromas so we know when we’ve entered a different space. And, although our forward vision is otherwise engaged, our peripheral vision is still active and alert taking in any potential hazards. Even the hairs on the skin of our face and hands sense change in the tiny air currents around us. We seem to be able to make little adjustments which our incredible brains quickly combine and process to avoid disaster … or maybe, it’s simply the kindness and awareness of others who aren’t looking at their phones to move out of the way!
Christians have access to something greater than our five senses, something that can lead and guide even when we are otherwise distracted – the Holy Spirit! As we navigate our way through life, we can rely on Him every step of the way if we choose to listen and obey. When we ask, He’ll answer. When we’re suffering, He can bring comfort. If we need help, He’ll provide it, in lots of interesting, and sometimes unique, ways.
When I look back at my non-Christian life from my now believing perspective, I begin to see when His hand was holding mine. When my life was nudged in a different direction and when comfort came from unexpected places. I see the fingerprints of God all over it, setting me up to be the man I am today and doing the ‘job’ that He has called me to do. All the unique skills I’ve acquired over many years playing their part to help me through different phases and seasons.
What’s amazing is that He hasn’t stopped! Only this time I’m more aware, happy to let Him lead me where He will. Now I know I’m able to ask for whatever I need in Jesus name, and in His wisdom, He’ll provide. I can be the loving, caring husband; the protective and equipping dad; the thoughtful and influential leader, with Christ at my side all the way.
So while my focus maybe too much on other things at times, I know that He is with me guiding my steps.
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honour to His name.” – Psalm 23:3