Living With Tunnel Vision

I’ve been living with a pretty severe case of tunnel vision lately.

Before you start to feel sorry for me, understand that I’m talking about self-imposed tunnel vision, not medical tunnel vision.

My eyesight is just fine. But my heart-sight has been way out of whack.

For the past few years, ever since I stopped teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, I’ve had this feeling that my life, daily life as I know it, is temporary. I feel like I’m in an interim period. I know it isn’t going to last. One day I won’t have the pleasure of being a SAHM. One day I’m going to have to go back to work. One day things will change. This is temporary.

So I’ve focused my life around the next “big” event. And as each event comes and goes, as each thing is accomplished, my focus shifts to the next thing on the list.

Someday we’ll have another kid.

Someday I’ll write a novel.

Someday I’ll get an agent.

Someday I’ll be a multi-published author.

Someday I’ll get my Specialists degree.

Someday we’ll buy a new house.

Someday we’ll have another kid.

Someday I’ll go back to work.

To me, each goal is the bright spot at the end of the tunnel. Each bright spot will bring me to a place of “permanency” where my life won’t feel so temporary, so much like I’m in holding, just waiting for the next big thing. That glowing beacon at the end of the tunnel pulls me forward, calling me toward the light, demanding my focus and attention. And when I accomplish one goal, another quickly takes its place.

My pastor preached a very profound sermon on tunnel vision a few weeks ago. It was one of those sermons that went beyond gently nodding my head in agreement or even saying a slight “Amen” here and there. No, no.

This was a kick-me-in-the-gut-God’s-getting-my-attention-right-now kind of sermon.

I’d been struggling with this feeling of “permanency v. temporary living” for a while. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the little moments– I absolutely do, but I don’t want to always be looking forward saying, “what’s next?”

I don’t want my need and desire to control everything to dominate the simple pleasures of living.

Tunnel vision is blinding.

This may seem an obvious statement, but when you think about it, focusing all attention on a goal blinds you to everything else in your life. You’re missing opportunity. You’re missing memories. You’re missing the little things that make life life. You’re missing joy.

The harvest is now.

Not then, when things will be better. Not at some ambiguous moment in the future when intense focus has paid off. Not when everything on the list has been accomplished.

God says, “Look where I have put you and what I have done for you in this moment. The harvest is now.”

And when I really consider each piece of my life; each person in it, each day I’m given, each opportunity that arises, I recall what I’ve always known–that life is never permanent. It’s constantly shifting and changing and molding itself to be whatever God has planned for it to be.

Not my plan–His.

Life is beautiful. And when I can’t see what’s ahead, I look toward that eternal goal in front of me, illuminated by the brilliance of Christ.

His glory lights up everything and it appears around me, freeing me from that tunnel vision to focus on the here and now.

It’s wonderful to have life goals, but I don’t want to miss the life-moments that get me there.

Share with me: What’s the next big goal you’ve set for your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?

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8 Comments

Filed under The Christian Walk

8 responses to “Living With Tunnel Vision

  1. Wow. Totally, totally speaking to me here. I tend to live my life like this too, even though I recognize that I shouldn’t. My next big goal is to write some more novels and get an agent. Oh, and have a kid in there somewhere. I too get focused on the big goals. Thanks for the reminder about the harvest. I don’t want to miss it.

  2. I have lots of goals, but I try not to cling to them too tightly because my ultimate goal is to let the Lord lead. Right now, as I prepare for the release of my debut novel, I’ve got so much on my plate that my goal is simply to check the next item off the To-do List. Some seasons in life are like that. I’m having a blast, but the learning curve’s a bit steep. I’m thankful for those who’ve traveled this path ahead of me and are willing to answer my questions. Friends rock!!!

  3. Carolyn Bingham

    I spent a large part of my life looking forward to the future. That was when things would be better and I would be happier. Then my husband left me and my boys and I learned that I have to live in the now. Proverbs 13:12 begins, hope deferred makes the heart sick. That is what happened to me. I no longer defer hope and joy. My next big goal is to earn my teacher certification so that I can work while my boys are in school. In five years I will be a teacher and have a 9 year old and a 10 year old. I expect to be just as happy and joyful as I am now. Maybe even more!

  4. I’ve learned so much about living in the here and now. And God’s done most of the teaching during influential waits. Instilling patience. Calling me to trust Him.
    ~ Wendy

  5. This is something that I feel I’ve made a tiny step of progress in. I used to be blinded by my looong bucket list and all the things I want to cross off — to say I’ve done that. But lately, I’ve been more content. More okay with whatever outcome comes my way. If I let myself I can worry something to death, so I try not to go there! One day at a time, right? Gosh, five years from now? I hope I’m a full time author. 🙂

  6. Jenny this is dead on and I SO needed to hear this today. Thank you for your continued willingness to share the things God is teaching you with others.

  7. “It’s wonderful to have life goals, but I don’t want to miss the life-moments that get me there.”

    The life-moments that get you there…this, truly, is where the focus should be. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  8. Jessica R. Patch

    Great post, Jennifer! I like goals, but I do like to enjoy the moments within the steps to that goal. 🙂 Like most of us unpublished writers, my next big goal is to receive a contract. I’d like a 3 book deal, please. LOL

    In 5 years, my daughter will be settling at either Junior College or somewhere else and it makes me want to vomit. But that’s where she’ll be, so my big goal is to continue to help her grow into a responsible, mature and spiritually mature young adult–with loads of pepper spray and the ability to kick a tail light out from the trunk of a car if necessary.

    I’ll also be preparing my son for junior high. Which has been brutal for my daughter. I hope things will be easier for boys. If nothing else, Myles has funny going for him, so maybe he can fall back on that! Ha!

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