Often I find myself focusing on who I cannot be. There are frequently ideas or dreams I envision yet when faced with reality realize they are unattainable. While recognizing what you are unable to achieve is necessary, it often removes our focus from what is most important – who we can be.
If you are a Christ follower, regardless of who you are, I believe there are three traits you already possess which overshadow those times of defeat. These characteristics are who you are because you know whose you are.
My mother, Jeannette McNeil Cathy, lived a life of humble service to the Lord. Raised by a single-mother in Atlanta, GA, my mom gave her life to Christ at the young age of five. Though she never knew her earthly father, she would often talk about her perfect Father – her Heavenly Father. This intimate relationship with the Lord would become her solid foundation throughout life’s journey.
When my father, S. Truett Cathy, was eight, my parent’s paths briefly crossed. Years later they would be reconnected, fall in love, and start a family in the suburbs of Atlanta. My dad often said mother deserved the most recognition! She was an accomplished dancer, musician, soloist and, in her later years, an oil painter. She attended seminary, raised three children, hosted Chick-fil-A staff and friends in their home, and all while supporting her husband’s business endeavors. Dad would say all he ever did was put a piece of chicken between two buns.
Mother was the rock of our family. She often reminded my brothers and I we could be confident in who we are because we know whose we are. We memorized Bible verses, attended church, and said our prayers like many children, but I believe my mother’s example is what encouraged my own personal relationship with the Lord.
Often mother would move around the house in audible conversation with her Heavenly Father. Like many people, she would often lose items – especially her car keys – yet I remember her saying, “Lord, you obviously have another plan. I’ll find them when you’re ready.” He truly was her dearest friend, closest confidant, sustainer, healer, and Father. It was this relationship which fostered a solid foundation through any storm our family has endured. Isaiah 54:10-11 says,
"For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,’ Says the LORD who has compassion on you. ‘O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.’”
As someone who has placed their trust and faith in Christ, we are promised His enduring love and peace will be constant. Notice the Lord says mountains and earthquakes and storms may come – we are not promised smooth sailing - yet He sees and has compassion. You can stand steady on His promises. Similarly, Colossians 3:2-3 says,
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For…your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
We find stability in the promises of God when we turn our focus on Him to remain steady. When reading this verse, I often think of a tightrope walker. Contrary to the natural impulse to look down and focus on the task at hand, the cardinal tightrope rule is to look ahead. Focusing not on what is present (balancing on a rope) but on a singular, steady object up ahead to maintain one’s balance.
My mother was an incredible spiritual tightrope walker. Seeking the Lord was her daily focus regardless the cares or concerns facing her day. She was a steady example to our family because her gaze was intently focused on an unchanging God. While I mourn her loss here on earth, I celebrate knowing she is now in constant relationship with her Heavenly Father.
Where do you feel unbalanced and unsteady? Could it be your focus has been diverted from God’s unwavering covenant to lift your head? Remind yourself of His promises. Allow them to re-center your balance so you might move forward confident in who you are because you know whose you are.
However, what if you feel steady in the promises of Christ and are leaning into His strength for endurance but you lack passion? When it isn’t a matter of standing strong on the promises of God, who can you BE when everything around you looks hopelessly negative? There is a third characteristic you can cling to…