Last Saturday my wife Shelly and I went bowling. I don't know if we have ever done that just the two of us before. Shelly is the bowler. She used to be in leagues. I am not so much a fan, but I do enjoy it occasionally.
We had a great time. I really liked spending time with Shelly, and even found the bowling during Crossgate's "glow bowling" was a lot of fun. I didn't do too badly!
I did notice a couple of things though.
If you bowl you may be aware of the bowler's etiquette that you wait for the bowlers on either side of you to finish before stepping out on the lane to throw your bowling ball. I was doing that (after Shelly reminded me once).
Here's what I noticed... I was really self conscious when I knew there were others watching me. Now, you can take your turn after the previous bowling neighbor has thrown their ball (do you "throw" a bowling ball? I'm not sure that's right, but you get the point!). In that case there may be someone still standing in the lane next to you, or moving back to their seat, while you are lining up and tossing your ball (I don't think bowlers "toss" their ball either, but oh well!).
In either case, I noticed I was distracted by what others were doing around me. It made me think of how easy it is to be distracted.
I would sashay up to the lane and pirouette into less than great form and release the ball into the gutter when someone else was near me. I would roll the ball and it would careen toward one side and powerfully knock over only one pin, when I caught someone else in my peripheral vision.
I would remind myself, you can do this, just do it, and don't pay attention to anyone else and quit over thinking it! In those instances, the ball would powerfully slide down the center and slam into all ten pins for a STRIKE! I did it several times.
I did it when I kept my focus on my goal and lessened the distractions around me.
A big part of the experience I named above has to do with trust as well. Maybe trust and focus go hand in hand. When I trusted that I could do it, and focused on the task at hand, it happened.
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said this: What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
This is "The Message" translation of the words, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Over the past few months I have learned in a myriad of ways that I have to trust God in me and with me and through me and in the world and in others and in situations in the past in the future in the present. Right now. Right here. God. Is.
Mason UMC, disciples of Jesus, keep focused on the mission God has given us.
Trust that God is in it all. And...
Throw, toss, release, roll that ball down the lane. The rest is up to God!
Grace and peace,