As I get older I often find myself trying to extend my hand further and further away from my face in an effort to focus and refocus the print on the page(s) I am reading. Despite this annoying tendency, I have all but refused to go get my eyes checked. After all, I am the only one in my family who still does not wear glasses. It was my plan to hold on to this title for a few more years. Sadly, it seems like I am fighting a losing battle. I digress.
As defined, refocus means to place your attention on something different or new. In the case of my aging eyes, refocusing means to adjust the focus of a lens or one’s eyes. Consequently, ajusting the focus of my eyes could mean anything from readjusting the book in my hand to taking a step or two backwards so that I may be able to see the entire poster as opposed to the phone number listed in the bottom right hand corner. In layman’s term then, refocusing might simply mean to avert one’s eyes from one thing to something else.
Subsequently, when someone refocuses it means they no longer give their attention to the original object of their fixation, but rather turn their gaze, their attention, their focus, to something new. Accordingly, this week’s emphasis of our series, How to Survive the Holidays as a Single Person, will address the need to change our understanding of being single as the world dictates to refocusing our attention to the kingdom definition of singlehood. .
A few years ago I attended a conference for single people. Just like any other singles’ conference the objective of the conference was to change our minds from accepting mindless, casual dating as the norm to accepting courtship, beginning with the outcome of marriage in mind. Through interactive forums and interesting break-out sessions we were brought to the realization that dating only prepared us for divorce.
It was said that the impetus of dating was being with a person for only long as our needs were being met. Once our needs were no longer met, or someone else came along who met our prescribed needs better, we would ultimately end the initial relationship in an effort to explore greener pastures with someone else. Harsh, but true.
Courtship on the other hand, a described, is an agreed upon period of time a couple uses to get to know each other – without sexual intimacy – to see if they are marriage compatible. If, at the end of the courtship, it was decided that the couple was not compatible and were not headed towards marriage, both persons were then able to leave the relationship with no animus all the while maintaining their dignity and self-respect. No feelings of betrayal, no feelings of being used, lied to, or otherwise violated, amicable.
I was astounded! I had come to the realization that my focus was wrong all along. I had been duped into believing that casual and shallow relationships were my ticket to finding a husband. I had been lied to. More than that, I had wasted so much time! It was in that moment I decided to shift my focus, to refocus – so to speak – on not wasting any more time in casual and trivial relationships but rather to use my season of singleness for the edification of others and the preparation of myself for marriage.
My Beloved, how do you view your season of singleness? Is it a worldly view, or a kingdom view? Are you using your season as a reason to dabble in shallow and casual relationships? Or, are you using this season to prepare for the greater good of marriage? Are you utilizing your season of singleness as a crutch to draw sympathy from friends and family? Or, have you embraced this season as an opportunity to serve and/or minister to those in need? I challenge you to ponder these questions truthfully. If the answers do not align to what is presented here, I challenge you further to refocus and streamline your thinking. It will not be easy, I know. But, it will be a start to the season of greater God has in store for you.
It is my prayer that you will refocus your thinking about your season of singleness. I pray that once you have decided to shift your thinking from dating to courtship, from shallow and meaningless relationships to beginning with marriage in mind that you will hold tight to and incorporate within your spirit what Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (NIV). I pray this prayer in none other than the matchless name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
Know that I love you, all.
Red Shoes and Refocus!
Danielle, The Girl in the Red Shoes