Are You Focused Or Distracted?

Peter Walks On Water –  Matthew 14:22-33

On a balance beam – Keep your eyes focused and walk with courage.

I want to keep my focus on Jesus especially when He invites me to “get out of the boat” and come to Him, but oh how easy it is to get distracted. I hear Him calling me to be strong and a courageous, to share my faith with others, to get out of my comfort zone and step out in faith to follow Him and yet there is so much around that calls for my attention and distracts me. Things like work responsibilities, family concerns and worries, voices that tell me I can’t be who God is calling me to be and soon I find myself sinking beneath the waves because I’ve lost my focus.

Some of those distractions, like the wind and waves that Peter saw, threaten to engulf me; others are subtle, just the simple tasks of life; yet both distract me. Thankfully Jesus doesn’t give up on me. When I realize I’m sinking and I call out to Him, He reaches out to rescue me, yet I wonder, what if I had kept my focus on Jesus in the first place instead of becoming distracted? What if I faced the storms of life with courage because my gaze was fixed on the One who has the power to still every storm I face.

Have you ever been distracted by the storms of life? Keeping our focus on Jesus is not a one-time-forever-after decision. It is something we must strive to do daily. It requires making Jesus a priority – even if we have to put time with Jesus on our calendars or To Do lists. Focusing on Jesus means making a conscious effort to turn our thoughts to Him through out the day – developing an inner awareness of His presence. We can start by breathing a little prayer when we wake up in the morning, talking to Him over our morning coffee; and continuing as we do our day’s tasks.

We can breathe a prayer at the doctor’s office, the store or wherever we are. When we find ourselves feeling anxious, afraid or downright petrified, let’s breathe a prayer or whisper Jesus‘ name. Pray with your kids at bedtime and also take a moment to thank Him when you do finally get the last drink, give the final hug and your little ones are tucked safely into bed. Create reminders – written or otherwise – to spur you to talk with your friend Jesus. Let your distractions be a reminder to pray and wait for God’s answers.

What else can you do to help keep your focus on God? I’ve listed a few more things below, but be creative. Ask God to show you ways to refocus and draw close to Him. He keeps His promises He will always be with you and nothing is impossible for Him so look up.


FOCUSING ON JESUS

* What distracts you from looking to Jesus? Is it the laundry, traffic, the demands of parenting, bad news, Covid, political turmoil, work responsibilities? Use those same things to trigger your thoughts towards God. Thank God for your washing machine, pray when stuck in traffic, sit and read a Bible story with your kids and breathe the name of Jesus when worries and cares distract you.

* Hang out around other people who are focusing on Jesus. Yes, you can do this even while social distancing. Spend time with positive, faith-filled people.

*  Listen to praise music.

* Write verses out and put them on your bathroom mirror, the dash of your car, your fridge or wherever you will see them and let them remind you of God’s love throughout the day.

* Set your timer for 1 minute, close your eyes, breathe deeply and remember that God loves you!

* Remember God’s promises to us – He never changes – He still does miracles today. He is always with us. He loves us deeply. He gives us peace and He makes us strong as we trust Him.

* Remember we are fighting a spiritual battle. The physical reality that we see is not what God sees. God has already won the victory. He sees you as victorious as you walk with Him.


PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Jesus, I know that you love me. You have been so good to me, yet I do get distracted by the noise, the stress, the wind and waves of the storms of life. I want to spend time with you; I want to listen for your invitation to come, but the phone rings, the laundry calls my name, I’m behind in my work and suddenly I find that I’ve missed hearing your call. Forgive me Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to be sensitive to your call. Give me ears to hear. I know that means quieting myself before you. I need to turn from the noise of life and turn to you fully day by day. Remind me that nothing is more important than keeping my focus on you. I want my kids to learn to focus on you too. There are so many things that distract families from focusing on you – work responsibilities, worries, fears, things in the news, Covid, games, toys, and so much more. Reach out your loving arms and draw us into your presence. We lay aside things to focus on you Jesus. Thanks for loving us so much. We love you. Amen

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR CHILD?

SHARE A STORY: One evening after teaching the people, Jesus told His friends to get into a boat and go over to the other side of the water while He went up on the mountain to pray.

When the disciples were in the middle of the water, a storm came up. Their boat was tossed by the wind and waves. (Turn on fan or make wind noises.) It was very stormy! Then, because Jesus can do anything, He came walking towards them on the water. Jesus’ friends saw Him and they were afraid. (Show scared face.) They had never seen anyone walk on water before! Wow! (Hand by eyes as though seeing.) Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, it’s me!“

Peter was excited that it was Jesus. He wanted to see Jesus. He wanted to do what Jesus was doing. He wanted to walk with Jesus on the water. (Walk, walk, walk.) Peter said, “If it’s really you, Jesus, tell me to walk to you on the water.”

Jesus did. He said, “Come Peter.” (Beckon come.) He invited Peter to walk to Him across the water.

Peter bravely stepped out of the boat (Pretend to step out of a boat.) and started walking to Jesus, but then he stopped. (Hold up hand for stop!) He heard (Hand by ear.) the wind blowing (Wind noises.) and he saw (Hand by eyes.) the waves crashing around him. He wasn’t looking at Jesus any more. He was looking all around him and He was afraid! Oh no! He started sinking! (Pretend to sink. Squat down.) He shouted, “Jesus help me!” (Shout together.)

Jesus reached out His hand (Extend hand.) and helped Peter. He asked, “Peter, why were are you afraid?“ Peter was afraid because he looked at the storm and forgot that Jesus was with him. But Jesus still helped him. When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind stopped just like that. (Turn off fan.) Then Jesus’ friends knew that Jesus was God’s Son.

Jesus can do anything and He is always with us. He was with Peter and helped him when he was afraid and Jesus will help you too, even when you are afraid. He really loves you. (Give yourself a hug and say, “Jesus loves me.”)

PRAYER:
Dear God,
I’m glad that you love me. You are BIG and strong and can help me even when I’m afraid. Help me to remember that you are always with me, Jesus. Amen

MEMORIZE:  Matthew 4:19 NIV (Hold hands as though holding a book.)
Come – (Beckon with hands)
Follow me – (Walk in place)
Me – (Point upwards.)
Jesus said – (Touch finger of one hand to palm and then do
   the same with the other hand. For said, touch fingers to mouth.)

KNOW: Jesus invited Peter to get out of the boat and come to Him. I can look to Jesus too.
TALK ABOUT: DO NOT FORGET – Jesus is always with you.
ASK: Who is always with me?Jesus is always with me.

AND DO: I can follow Jesus.

  • Talk about Jesus throughout the day – Help your child develop an awareness that Jesus is with him/her  everywhere he/she goes and whatever he/she is doing.
  • In the bathtub or while playing in the water in your backyard, talk about how Peter walked on water because he was looking at Jesus. When he looked at the waves, he became afraid. Talk to Jesus when you need help.


Author: faithstepsandmore

I am a mom of three, grandmother of eight and have worked with young children for over thirty years. I currently write curriculum, speak for women's groups, do chapel for a daycare center and help with teacher/volunteer training at churches. I love what I do. There is nothing better than helping kids take those first steps of faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine.

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