Isn’t it funny how a mailbox is a magnet to the bicycle of a new rider? They are powerless to turn away as they stare into the very obstacle they want to avoid. I’ve taught many a child how to avoid the mailbox:
“Where you look is where you will go. Stare at the obstacle, you’ll go to the obstacle. Look where you want to go, and you will go there.”
As with many lessons learned in childhood, this is a great life lesson, and is apt for our Lenten season. As we try to improve our spiritual lives and get rid of sin, it is easy for us to focus on what we are doing wrong.
Of course, there is benefit to knowing things to avoid, and a benefit to acknowledging when we have failed. The problem lies in our focus. If we focus on the things we want to avoid, all our attention is taken by the very things that we don’t want in our lives. Instead, we need to turn it around. If I don’t want to gossip, then I could focus on speaking good of others. If I don’t want to complain, then I could come up with 10 positive things about any situation or person that I complain about.
Just getting rid of an obstacle leaves an empty space. How much better if that space is filled with something beautiful, that we can’t wait to get to? The best part is that it’s much easier than just taking the obstacle away. Try it.