A few days ago, Kieran found me at my desk and excitedly handed me a pair of glasses.

They were small, oval-shaped, bronze-rimmed. Glasses.

My glasses.

I had all but forgotten about them, mostly because I don’t need them. I can see fine. My vision is a little blurry when I have to read street signs down the road, which is to be expected for a woman who’s just days away from turning 40, but otherwise, I’m good.

At least, I am in one eye. During an opthalmology check-up a few years back, I learned my left eye is the heavyweight. It does almost all of the work for the right eye, which is considerably less strong. My brain, ever the maestro, has learned to compensate. It gets most of its visual input from my left eye and ignores the fuzzy pictures coming from the right.

End result: My vision is clear. But my depth perception stinks. (Which explains why I got hit in the face with the ball every time I played sports with the youth group and why I could never-not-once see the 3D images hidden in those Magic Eye pictures that were all the craze in the ‘90s.)

Theoretically, it’s possible for my right eye to get stronger and for my brain to start listening to it. Hence, the glasses. The left lens is clear, the right lens compensates for my weakness. When I put them on, I feel like my life has become a 3D movie. I stumble around my own house, hesitantly opening cabinet doors, holding onto countertops for balance, walking gingerly around the Legos on the ground.

It’s disorienting, but it’s good. I had forgotten what life looks like when viewed correctly. So for now, I’m wearing the glasses everyday, for as long as I can stand it.

Turns out, focus affects everything.


I enjoyed Christmas this year. Like, really enjoyed it. It caught me off-guard, seeing as I was 90% Grinch the last few Decembers. In the past, I couldn’t resolve the tension between cultural Christmas - Santa, snow, sentimentalism - and Jesus Christmas - expectancy, enigma, Emmanuel. While I liked cultural Christmas, I smoldered under its weight. I resented the way it overshadowed the deeper story, the true reason for the holy-day. And I grew grumpy with the traditions that sucked my joy and made my children greedy and shoved commercialism down my threat.

But this year, inexplicably, my focus shifted. I found my mind’s eye fixed on the babe Jesus. Some of the same cultural traditions I had grumbled about just last year became conduits of God’s grace to me. Christmas parties? Celebrations of relationships. Gifts? Physical manifestations of the Christ, “gift after gift after gift.” Christmas treats? Tiny symbols of God’s love of butter.

(Just kidding on that last one. I was trying to make sure you were still paying attention.)

But I did find myself less at war with the cultural Christmas and more able to see the deeper truth embedded in the season.

My focus changed me.


As you’ve probably guessed by now, the word I’ve chosen for 2012 is focus. (If you have no idea what I mean by choosing a word, there's a great explanation here. My word for last year was Sabbath.) Focus is a layered word for me. It means both “the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition” and “becoming able to to see clearly.” It can also mean to “meet at a single point,” as in the case of {Austin Powers finger quote} las-ers {end Austin Powers finger quote} or “to pay particular attention to.” To concentrate. To fix upon.

For me, focus means to be purposeful. To be intentional. My goal is to strengthen my inner eye so it sees the important in sharp detail instead of the blur of the urgent.

It will take discipline. I’m sure I will be unsteady and uncomfortable for a while.

But I believe my focus ultimately sets my course.

And the glasses? They are growing on me.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

- Hebrews 12:1-3


  1. Loved this post. Really made me miss you- so excited you are coming soon. :)

  2. I think it is so interesting how you felt differently this Christmas. I think I was a bit Scrooge-ish towards fellow believers, actually. I got so worn down by their constant reminders of what the season is all about and if you believe you will do such and such and so on. I was letting them determine what our traditions meant to our family and that was just dumb. So I got over it. I haven't chosen a word yet. Still thinking.

  3. We have the same eyesight! I know what you mean about putting on the glasses.

  4. Loved this.

    Especially the part about the blur of the urgent...

    Thanks, Kelly.