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FOCUS AND TASTES

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 11:5)

Is this even possible today? Seems like everywhere we turn there’s an advertisement of some kind telling us what we need to have. Billboards, publication advertising, media advertising, social media advertising. The list goes on.

And it is so easy to get things now. You don’t have to leave your home. Hop on the Internet and order it. Some places will even custom make items for you. It is if the world is saying, “I have all you ever wanted (as long as you are willing to pay for it).”

I have to admit, there were many years where my eyes were bigger than shelves in our house. This was especially true when it came to books and DVDs. My wife is also an avid reader. So, both of us were collecting. Some of those sales in the big box stores are hard to pass up.

A few years ago, when I chose to grow closer to God, He convicted me of having way too much stuff. Especially, books and DVDs. And when we moved into a smaller house, the excess became very obvious.

It became necessary to start asking the tough question: When was the last time I ever used, watched or read this? In some cases, it had been far longer than we wanted to admit — more than a decade. (How does time pass so quickly?)

Two changes in my life have helped me to get rid of my excess. The first is, as I have grown closer to God, my focus has changed. In the past year, God has narrowing my focus in what He wants me to do. Even my writing is more focused. That focus has helped me realize some objects are simply distractions. They are taking my focus off where it needs to be.

Distractions can be nice and we all use them – social media, games, TV shows, books, etc. We all need that time of escape. However, in today’s culture, are we being distracted too often? Is it stopping us from achieving our goals? I had to answer, yes. The more distractions, the more likely I am to lose my focus.

The second change in my life helping me to get rid of the excess is my taste in distractions has been as I have gotten older and grown closer to God, my tastes have changed dramatically. TV shows, books and comic books were big escapes for me as a kid. Now, when I re-watch them on DVD, or read them again, there is no longer any pleasure in it. Sometimes I even ask myself, “What did I see in this as a kid?”

Objects I kept for years as a distraction, a walk down Nostalgia Lane or even an adult security blanket are being placed in the no-longer-necessary piles.

For many of us today, it is no longer about being content with what we have, but being content with even less.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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