In the Zone
March 13

I watched a lot of TV growing up and for some reason, I remember a bunch of commercials. ESPN must've been my favorite channel because a few Sports Illustrated commercials have taken up permanent residence in my brain. It seemed like they were always running a promotion and one included a video (VHS only, no Beta) of athletes talking about being in The Zone. Apparently, being in the zone meant you were playing at a higher level than usual. There was one point where Michael Jordan said, "The rim seems like a big old bucket." As a kid, I always thought it sounded like they were almost super-human with laser-like focus! Nothing could take their focus off of what they were doing and at that moment, they were playing better than anyone else! So, how about us? How good is our focus? Do we have a clear understanding of what's most important? Are we able to avoid distractions and stay on task? 

One of my favorite verses that tends to come up in the church season of Lent talks about where Jesus turns his face towards Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). Jesus had been doing ministry 65 miles north of Galilee for a few years, but now it was time to go to Jerusalem where he would be betrayed, arrested, and killed. This would be the end of his life, but nothing was going to distract him from what was to come. It's a redundant statement, but Jesus was in the zone. In a world full of distractions, Jesus was able to stay focused on what truly mattered and silence all of the noise that sought to slow him down. 

I worry that many of us are in the exact opposite of The Zone. I worry that we are so overwhelmed that we are struggling to know which way is up, let alone what's important. We over schedule our lives and we struggle to keep up. We struggle to find balance, our relationships and health struggle. We are overwhelmed by the tidal wave of information that is coming in and we don't know what is right. How do we refocus and rediscover what's truly important? Maybe it starts off with a little word that can be really tough to use, "no." When was the last time you said no or turned something down? What was the last time you didn't let yourself get double booked or squeezed? Have you carved out time for the things that are important, or have you allowed the un-essentials to take up too much space in your calendar and soul? I believe the church can help with this one. The church can help us rediscover balance and perspective. Maybe it’s showing up for that service event that helps someone who is struggling. Maybe it's sitting across from someone over a cup of coffee and taking a moment to share what's going on in your life and hearing about theirs. Maybe its hearing again those stories that talk about how much God loves us, and it's God's love that sustains us when we are struggling to know which way is up.

Maybe we won't play basketball like Michael Jordan, but it would be nice to be in the zone once in a while. It would be nice to find balance in our lives and figure out what's really important. And I don't think it's that tough. Maybe if we said no once in a while and stopped trying to do everything, we might rediscover what matters. Maybe if we carve out some space for our faith and our church, those simple things like connecting with one another, growing in our faith, and serving each other might just remind us of what's important. And best of all, its Lent! Maybe it’s time for a change, maybe it’s time to try something new. Maybe balance is closer than we think.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris 
Last Published: March 18, 2019 11:58 AM