by Maria Tang
In learning how to navigate the highs and lows of life, our relationship with Jesus evolves while we try to understand the adventures He is walking each of us through. Have you ever looked at others’ highs and felt a tinge of discomfort or longing?
At multiple points of my life, I have envied the highs of my friends’ lives, be it securing an internship, getting an advantage in a job application, or their enjoyable holidays. Soon enough, the desire to have those moments for myself consume me, especially when I feel frustrated at how limited I am or unable I am in obtaining the things or opportunities that others have. The focus on my own life in particular, the one that Jesus desires so much to be part of, is lost as my attention is diverted to the comparisons I continue to make. The lie that slowly seeps in, is, “I am not good enough to receive these things.” By this point, my frustration often turns to desperation and comparison proves itself to be the thief of my joy. Sound familiar?
In the face of these struggles, Jesus invites us to claim the truth that He is good and that we are made good. He does not pit us against our brothers and sisters in competition but invites us to keep our gaze on Him. It has grown more important for us to put on our blinders and focus our vision on Jesus because we are often tempted to make comparisons. The blinders streamline our vision to the one who gives life. When we are intentionally focused on the Lord, we become sensitive to how we are growing and improving to be the best versions of ourselves with Him.
“When is it time for me to put on my blinders?” one might ask. No matter how tempted we are to let comparison guide our next steps, the time to put on our blinders* and let Jesus guide us first is now. As John 6:33 encourages us, says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and these things shall be added unto you.”
Keeping Your Eyes Fixed on Jesus
How do I maintain my gaze on the One who truly cares for me? Here are some practical ways that we can train ourselves:
Celebrate The Fact That We Are Chosen
In being sons and daughters of God, we have first been loved by a perfect lover. We as beloved children have been chosen to be loved by Jesus. He desires to love us for who we truly are and grow our relationship as we experience a unique course of life with Him. In the face of the temptation to compare, claiming our chosenness reflects our disposition to want to grow to be the best version of ourselves with Jesus.
In believing that we are chosen and loved, we are humbled in the face of victories in our lives. We are able to appreciate the sweetness of these good moments and the comfort Jesus brings in painful ones. When we celebrate our own chosenness, we are able to celebrate that of those around us. True joy is then experienced when we celebrate the unique chosenness of ourselves, and each brother or sister.
Gratitude is a way to spot moments that Jesus has been present in. As we cooperate with the Spirit to choose gratitude, we are able to experience the joy of trusting that ultimately, we are limited but God is infinite. Instead of focusing on what we do not have or cannot do, we are able to open our hearts and minds to the marvels that Jesus can do for and with us. In my own life, I have also learned how to be more God-reliant rather than self-dependent by choosing to practice gratitude for Jesus’ presence and good works in my life. Although it is difficult at times do so, the spirit of remembrance moulds my heart to express gratitude when I remember the many promises God has fulfilled in my life.
Receiving the Sacraments
Receiving the Sacraments regularly also reminds us that we are chosen and loved by Jesus. When we come to know of this truth and keep our eyes fixed on Him, the Holy Spirit transforms us interiorly to continually receive the Father’s love. It is precisely because He loves us abundantly, that our deep thirst is satisfied and we can be free from coveting what others have. The Sacraments as gifts given by God to fully encounter Him is made present even as we go through the pandemic this season. Jesus constantly finds ways for us to receive Him and it is an active choice we have to make to spend time with Him.
The truth is, we have to keep training our spiritual ability to focus on Him, because many things in the world call out for our attention. Just as the Jesus says,
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy,
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”
– John 10:10.
I pray that we continue to be transformed as we focus on Jesus Christ who gives us the fullness of life and joy!
*On Blinders: Did You Know?
Horses are prey animals and have peripheral vision. A horse’s eyes are located on the sides of his head, allowing him to see a panoramic view of the world. In fact, horses can see a nearly full circle around themselves except for a small blind spot in front of their noses and behind their tails. Blinders cover the rear and side vision of the horse, forcing him to focus only in a forward direction.
So, let focus on moving onwards to Jesus dear friends!