Defined by Our Focus {Not Our Lack}

by Andrea Kolber


"The car goes where the eyes go." -Garth Stein

Every once in awhile, I read a book and the words stick with me long after.  “The Art of Racing In the Rain” by Garth Stein was one of those books and the quote above is from that literary gem. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and check it out.

The context of the above quote is regarding driving a race car and understanding that on a track, where a car goes at a ridiculously fast speed, the driver’s eyes will cause the car to go wherever their focus is. So if the driver's eyes are on the guard rail they'll probably crash there, but if they are on the next piece of track, then that's where the car will go.

Guess which focus tends to be most helpful?

I often use the above analogy with clients and even in my own life, because the application of this principle goes far beyond the race track and keeping a car moving toward the best target. I believe there is much truth for us today.

We live in a fast paced, intense world where it is often easier to define yourself by who you are not, than who you actually are.

It takes work to find out what piece of "race track" you should be focusing on. There is often more support to model what NOT to do, than the inverse. 

Does this sound familiar? 

I am not that kind of person.

We are not that kind of family.

We are not that kind of church.

We are not that kind of country.

So who am I? Who are we?

This is not an easy question to answer. We don’t necessarily wake up one day and recognize exactly what is behind these questions or the answer to them. 

But here is what I do know: it is not effective to focus on what we are running away from in order to change who we are. 

So how do we move on from this? I believe one of the most essential lessons from this simple concept is to quiet our soul and search out what is/could be our focus.

And, oh, is it worth it.

It's in this quiet place our Creator speaks to us and gives us the gift of purpose, belonging, and hope. I love how the author of Hebrews puts this idea of where to focus here: 

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith...”
— Hebrews 12:2a, NASB 

The author of Hebrews is modeling for us this very idea. He's saying you're defined by your focus, not your lack. We are now defined by who Jesus is, not who we aren't. 

And while Jesus is the big idea of the above verse, ultimately there's a trickle down effect for other principles in life as well. Meaning, it's always helpful to focus on the actual goal rather than the possible pitfalls.

So wherever you are in your life today, I pray you would have the courage to look up from your fears and focus on your calling. 


Post updated from archives.