Tunnel Vision: Mary of Bethany

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25

In a time of uncertainty (like we are facing today), it can be easy to get distracted. We become overwhelmed by fear and panic while we watch the latest news update. We can’t help but wonder what the state of the world will be when all this is over and if we are doing enough to protect our families. However, when we focus too much on the unknown, we lose sight of what really matters.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of peace, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). While it is important to be smart and use common sense, we also have to remember that God is in control. Whatever happens, he has commanded us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10) and to not be anxious in anything (Phil. 4:6). Have you let your focus slip into worrying about the future? Have you become overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and fear? I think we can all answer yes to those questions on some level.

Do you know what tunnel vision is? Tunnel vision is defined as: the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view. Mary of Bethany had tunnel vision. She is referenced in two stories in the Bible where she did not let her focus slip away from what was really important.

The first time we see her, she is listening to Jesus speak while her sister Martha was serving all the guests in their home. Martha got annoyed that Mary wasn’t helping her, and Jesus told Martha that Mary was, “choosing the better” (Luke 10:42). Mary didn’t get upset over her sister’s accusations, she didn’t feel the need to explain herself to Martha, she didn’t question her decision to sit at the feet of Jesus, and she didn’t let it distract her from listening to him either.

The second time we see Mary’s tunnel vision is right before Jesus was crucified. Once again, Martha was entertaining all of the house guests while Mary opened up a jar of very expensive perfume. She poured this perfume over Jesus feet and wiped it up with her hair. Jesus’ disciples criticized Mary for wasting such an expensive jar of perfume, but she didn’t even flinch, she didn’t get upset,  and she didn’t let it affect her peace. Mary didn’t worry about what was going on around her (John 12:8).

While our entire world (literally) is thrust into a time of chaos, I urge you to keep your focus on what truly matters. Sure, we should wash our hands, buy a few extra can goods (maybe some extra toilet paper), and obey the quarantine laws. But, don’t succumb to the fear that is taking over our communities.  When we allow fear to run our lives, we get the wrong kind of tunnel vision, and this causes panic. Take a few minutes today to turn off your TV/social media and focus on what really matters. Spend some time with God, do yoga, learn how to play the guitar, paint, or play Uno with your kids.

Take advantage of the time you have at home right now, and do all the things you wish you could do when you are working. Feed your faith, not your fear. Keep your eyes focused straight ahead on Jesus, and know that all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28).

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