How Do You Set Your Mind on Things Above, When The Earthly Things Need So Much Attention??

I have a problem:

I am super good at focusing on one thing.  This ability to really hone in on something made me a fantastic student.  I could sit and absorb a lesson from a teacher or meticulously research, draft, and type out a paper, even if it took hours.  During that time, the rest of the world would be dead to me as I completely zeroed in on my task.

As a mom, however, this “gift” has become more of a hindrance.

See, as a mom, I will find myself folding laundry and trying to figure out what’s for dinner at the same time (this is my version of multi-tasking).  I will be mentally surveying my freezer, fridge, and pantry trying to put together a meal, and then Luke will come in, wanting to walk me through the specs of his latest LEGO creation.  Then, as I’m trying to divert to LEGOland, Greg will enter the room, asking me if I know where the keys are.  And then my head explodes.

Because laundry.  Dinner.  LEGOs.  And keys.  Are four things!  FOUR THINGS!  Not just one thing…but four.  Do you understand?  I just can’t focus on four things at once.

But wait, it gets better.  As I’m working on laundry, dinner, interacting with Luke, and finding the keys, I’m also being a Christian.  And the Bible tells Christians that we also need to be focusing on God during this time.  It even uses all-encompassing words like “continually,” and “in all circumstances”  (“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances” 1 Thess. 5:17).  And in Colossians 3, Paul tells us to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Sooooo…for those keeping track at home, I’m now apparently supposed to be focusing on seven things:  laundry, dinner, LEGOs, keys, prayer, gratitude, and heavenly things.  At once.

Look, even if I stop folding laundry, wrench my mind away from dinner, and then tell Greg the keys are in my purse before getting down and focusing on Luke’s LEGO creation (thus narrowing my earthly things down to the coveted “one”), how do I interact with Luke in a way that is prayerful, grateful, and focused on God’s kingdom?

In other words, how do I keep my focus where it is supposed to be in the midst of the busyness of life?  How do I set my mind on heavenly things as I do laundry, make lesson plans, pay bills, fix dinner, and interact with other people?  Was God serious when He said to do EVERYTHING for His glory?  And if so, how do we do that?

How do we maintain focus?

THAT is the focus (har har) of tonight’s lesson in our women’s class at church.  I actually do have some ideas about the subject, since I’ve given it a considerable amount of thought and study over the years.  But I’m also interested in what my fellow sisters have to say, both in class, and in our larger Facebook group (and brothers, too!  I’m not trying to leave anyone out).

So, what do you think about all this?  What do you think it means to “set your minds on things above and not on earthly things”?  And how do you manage to do that in this busy life?

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I am right there with you, Kim. I can iron laundry, but please don’t expect me at the same time to be figuring out how to answer that email I’ve been meaning to get to!

    So how do we follow Paul’s instructions? I think Paul is getting at something much easier than it might look. We do have moments when we set our minds on things, when we make choices about what we are going to do. In those moments, we are to make sure that our minds are set on Christ, no matter what task we are engaging in. And being able to do this without ceasing is really a matter of making those conscious choices for Christ repeatedly so that when we are not consciously making choices we are still set on Christ.

    Happily too, there is never a moment when God is not mindful of us!

    Great job laying this out and getting me thinking, Kim!

    Cheers,
    Tim

    Reply

  2. Good question! I’ll have to think about it!

    Reply

  3. Kim, I just ran across your blog and though I rarely take the time to read others blogs (I have a hard enough time posting on my own! ;-)), I found myself sucked into yours and your writing. I used to live in Nashville and had we met while I was there I would have tried to talk you into meeting up at Sweet Cece’s for some yogurt b/c I LOVE your heart! Keep writing! You’re so gifted and it’s obvious the Lord is speaking through you! 🙂
    -Melanie

    Reply

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