Where Are You Looking? How Shifting Your Gaze Can Reduce Your Stress
by Amy Meyer
Did you know that WHERE you gaze affects HOW you view your problems?
It matters where you look. Are your eyes cast down and looking at yourself, your problems, your wants and needs? Are your eyes fixed on your worries, on what is missing, or what you wish were different? Or are your eyes fixed on Jesus? Hebrews 12:2 says this: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Keeping our eyes on Jesus, helps us to keep our focus where it belongs. It helps change our perspective.
Where are you looking? You know what happens when you put a magnifying glass over something right? It gets bigger. That is exactly what happens when we do what the Psalmist says in Psalm 34:3 “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” When we keep our eyes on the Lord, we magnify HIM and not ourselves and our problems. It sure gets difficult to look up, and to fix our eyes on Jesus in the midst of such deep grief and sadness. Yesterday I attended the funeral for a 21 year old young man who was killed in a car crash. The church was packed with loving family, friends, and community. There were so many tears shed by every person who was gathered. So much hurt and pain. I wondered what does the family do today. The day after they buried their son. How do you get up and go on?
Today came, and I turned to my daily journal working through the Psalms, and the truth was there again: Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD,who made heaven and earth.” I believe the family will lift up their eyes to the one who made the heavens and the earth, the one who died for their son, the one who conquered death and the grave, the one who claimed their son in the waters of baptism. They will fix their eyes on Jesus, the one who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:24 And I will do the same.
I love how the truths of scripture show up in other places as well. When God uses different ways to get our attention. I recently read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is a book written from the perspective of a Golden Retriever and his owner is a race car driver. Now you need to understand, I have zero interest in car racing, but my youngest daughter loves dogs and she knew about the book because her oldest sister was an English Teacher and this was one of the texts she used in her classroom. So because it came so highly recommended to me by two of my favorite people I read it. It did not disappoint. And there was a repeated theme in the book, a phrase that was used several different times. This race car driver was so good at racing in the rain because of where he set his gaze. Here is the quote: “In racing, they say, that your car goes where your eyes go.” (pg. 83) It matters where we set our eyes. It matters what we focus on. Where are you looking? What will you magnify?
Perhaps you could begin training your eyes by every day writing down what you are thankful for. Be specific. Notice the small things. Be intentional where you fix your gaze. Lift your eyes to the giver of all good gifts, and say Thank You.WLI