What are you lookin’ at?

September 1st, 2007 • Category: Book of Daniel
by David Squire

Today’s scripture: Daniel 4:34-37 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Squire):

I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.

Ever been in a place where life was going crazy?

I can think of two specific times when it seemed like the world was spinning completely out of control — almost like I was losing my mind.

The first was just after high school, when I was struck with a serious illness. (I’ve written about that before on Be Still.) This wasn’t anything I’d brought on myself, like Nebuchadnezzar did, but I surely lost my focus on God for a time. Rather than looking up, I was looking down, at myself — “Why, oh why, did this happen to me? Poor meeeee…..” Ever been there?

The second time was, in a way, my own doing. When I came out to my parents, it really felt like I had detonated a grenade — like the world was blowing up and all I could do was try to duck the shrapnel. This time, rather than looking up or down, my focus was sideways, on my family — “Why are you acting this way?”

It’s certainly normal, when life throws us a curve we weren’t expecting, to need some time to adjust. It’s been studied and documented — there are natural stages of grief that we all move through. PFLAG has even documented the typical stages of parental adjustment when a child comes out. I think all of these normal progressions are a matter of regaining our focus. It’s easy to let current circumstances overwhelm me, and make me lose sight of what my life is really all about.

That’s what the King did. He had been so full of himself, drunk on his own power and glory, that he lost sight of the Source of it all. But when he was able to “lift [his] eyes to heaven,” he got his mind back.

So when I’m stuck in the crap of life — whether it’s something I’ve brought on myself, or it’s way beyond my control — I try to remind myself that this isn’t what my life is about. It’s a distraction, and I’m probably looking in the wrong direction.

Thought for the day: What is distracting me today? What is keeping me from looking up?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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