Where’s My Focus?

Do you ever wonder how people describe you? Many times we start with a physical trait to describe someone—he’s tall with dark, wavy hair, or she’s medium height with short blonde hair. Someone recently said to my husband over the phone, “Oh, yeh, you’re the guy with the big white beard.” We both chuckled over that. He’s also known around the area by his unique, red truck.

I dislike describing someone physically; many times what stands out about a person isn’t their most attractive feature. I remind myself not to base my opinion on their appearance or on my first impressions.

More than once, God has had to change my focus to enable me to look deeper into a person’s heart, beyond their outward protective shell. One way he’s done that is by placing me in a situation that involves closer contact with a person I’m struggling with—like serving on a church committee together, or some similar circumstance.

Sometimes it happens within our own families. Siblings who’ve had a difficult relationship as children, now are thrown together caring for a parent, or cleaning out their childhood home and disposing of a lifetime of memories. We learn to know each other in a new way and can hopefully relate more as adults.

When I get irritated at someone, God works to soften my heart and give me a better understanding of who they are at the core of their being. I’m grateful for the Biblical reminder that says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV). I’m also thankful because God graciously forgives me when I judge others or react in anger at some incident or personality trait that irks me.

So how do people describe me? Do I really want to know? Or if they knew me as my family knows me, would they be surprised and change their description of my character? As believers we are to be known as Christ followers—people who love and serve Jesus and portray that love to others. It’s something to think about, especially after a day of less-than-stellar behavior!

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