When I used to coach rowing, I spent a lot of time in the run up to a race doing exercises designed to help the crew keep their focus right during the race. What we focus on has a huge impact on how we feel, and how we act. I was flicking through some facebook status updates this morning as it had been a day or two since I last did so. One of them really struck me (thanks to Anne Young), and it went a bit like this:

“One reason we struggle with insecurities is that we compare our ‘behind-the-scenes’ with everyone else’s ‘highlight reel’.”

When we see other people, we so often see the “best of” their life. We tend not to hear the stories of the hundred or so times that things didn’t go perfectly.

It’s so easily done, I find: something is going badly (or even slightly well) and just over there I notice someone else doing a bit better. And all the hidden less-than-perfect things in my life come to my mind, discouraging me, and suddenly all the insecurities rise up, threatening to kill off the faith I was in.

The odd thing is that everyone can feel like this! Dave Richards tells the story of how Billy Graham, yes, the Billy Graham, once said how much he wished that he could preach like Bob Mumford!

If we look to others or ourselves, we end up putting ourselves down or bigging ourselves up - and end up acting out our insecurity. Perhaps that’s why the bible so regularly encourages us to keep our focus on Jesus. He sees us and loves us, accepts us and calls us up no matter what we’re facing.

That’s my challenge to myself these coming days: focus on him, not on myself or others.

Neil Townsend
Wantage Pastor

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