The Shiny Object Theory

I have a theory.  Actually I have a lot of theories, but since this is a piece about focusing on the right things and not a JFK conspiracy discussion board (and, yes, Oswald acted alone), I think we should focus on only one theory.

My theory is simply this: we are fascinated by shiny objects.

We have a laser pointer.  My son likes to shine the little red light on the floor and move it around, much to the amusement of our cats who run and leap and dance in their vain attempts to catch the wiggling red point of light.

The problem is that the light is an illusion of sorts.  Yes, it is real.  It is shiny.  But it is immaterial.  The cats chase it, trying hard to clutch onto it.  But to no avail.  Still, they are focused – lasered in, if you will – on that light.  You could surround them with bowls filled with catnip, tuna and any other number of stinky feline favorites, and they wouldn’t care.  Not until that light goes away.

I believe we humans have a tendency to be fascinated by shiny objects as well.  For example, I need to change my web browser home page.  It’s still on the factory setting of a website that opens up with the news and weather for the day ahead.  Today, as I was jumping online to write this piece, the first thing I saw was presidential candidate Bernie Sanders being “surrounded” by three Secret Service men because someone tried to rush the stage at a campaign event.

I had to read this story.  I had to know how Bernie was doing.

Bernie’s fine, by the way.  And I lost three minutes of my life I will never get back.

It isn’t that I was so worried about Mr. Sanders.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m glad he’s ok.  But, did I need to know this info?  How does this positively impact my day?  How does this help me to positively impact the lives of others around me today?

It doesn’t.

More seriously, neither does worry.

Or doubt.

Or anxiety.

Or guilt.

These are “shiny objects”.  They grip our attention and pull our focus away from the reality of God working in our lives.  When we entertain these worries and fears, we miss out on His peace and joy and confidence.

No amount of handwringing over the past, present or future is productive, or healthy.

Instead of focusing on the what ifs and troubles that may or may not happen, focus on God.  Remember that He is with you always, no matter how rocky the road appears.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

Take your eyes off the shiny object, and lift your eyes and heart and mind upward to God.  It is in Him and His Word that we find the Truth about our lives and situations, about Who He is, and who we are.




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