Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Overcoming Negativity: Day 14: Don't Give in to Your Peripheral Vision

I'm taking a slight detour today and tomorrow from the intended plan, which is not easy for me. I'm a planner and once something is planned, you're just not supposed to stray from it! 

But I had an experience, along with a chat with God that just so perfectly fit in today's (and tomorrow's) slot, that I have to share it. Since it's a bit long, I'm going to break it into two parts. Today: 

Part One: Looking Straight Ahead

I just returned from a wonderful mini-vacation in the Catskills. The mountains were extravagant and the colors magnificent.

Hubster and I spent two days hiking. The first day, we went to the popular Kaaterskill Falls., the highest waterfalls in New York. Words cannot describe the beauty. It has to be seen (unfortunately, the water level is so low that we missed a lot of the real beauty). 

Despite warning signs to not venture beyond a certain point because of safety, Hubster took off to climb to the top (off to the right of the falls), and I, of course, followed (Just to be clear, we were not the only law-breakers). The climb was slow and steep. I had to hold on to roots and crevices of rocks to get up. Someone recently fell to their death here and that, of course, was forefront in my mind. 

We scrambled up safely, but what came next was equally as nerve-wracking for me: Ledges. Cliffs. 

I don't mind heights. It's cliffs and ledges I don't like. But I was halfway there. So I pressed on. 

I discovered that if I held on to tree branches and trunks as I was traversing these ledges, I had a sense of safety. Something more grounded than I was could hold me, should I feel out of control. Which I did. Often.

But what really got me was my peripheral vision. 

Yesterday, I mentioned that in order to leave the Land of Negativity, you have to get out and not doubt. In order to do that, you need to keep your focus straight ahead. Don't look back. Don't have second thoughts.

Even if I looked straight ahead as I passed these drop offs, I still knew the drop off was there. If I stumbled, I could fall to my death. I could see the cliff out of the corner of my eye. Yet, out of the corner of my other eye, I could see the trees, another rock ledge, the firm earth. That brought me comfort.
Picture doesn't do this justice. There really is a huge drop off there by the trees.
The problem was that my eyes kept wanting to dart back and forth: the cliff, the ground. The drop-off, the tree trunk.

Suddenly, I heard a whisper in my spirit..."Look straight ahead. Don't give in to your peripheral vision."

Even though one side was certain death and the other side was safety, I was still missing the point. Straight ahead was the only way. The only place to focus. Anything less was a distraction. 

I had to walk over the ledge. But the ledge was about two or three feet wide. And God had promised me a few months ago, when I was afraid to venture out onto a large rock at a vista, that he would give me hinds feet. There was no reason to fear, as long as I didn't give in to my peripheral vision.

So it is when we are leaving the Land of Negativity.

As important as it is not to look back, it is just as important not to give in to our peripheral vision, those things that serve to distract us. One side may be scary and seem like imminent death to us, and the other side may seem like something we can grab on to, something that will serve as an anchor, something that seems grounded and will keep us safe. 

But the truth is, they are all distractions. And both are a bit untrue.

Most likely, I will not fall to my death. And the tree trunk or branch that seems so grounded is still in danger of being uprooted, leaving me desperate for something else to grab a hold of---the next best thing. 

There is only one way to focus-straight ahead.

When we finally got to the top, what a calm and serene scene awaited me. What should have been a rushing creek that flowed to a rushing waterfall was actually a still sort of pond. It's been so dry here that every body of water is seriously depleted. 

We could actually stand in places that would normally sweep you over the falls. I just sat and basked in the goodness of God. And then scrambled all the way back down on my bottom.

Notice how my leg is touching the rock?
The drop off behind us is about 150 feet.
That's my way of holding on.
Had I given in to my fear, had I not kept going, had I not focused straight ahead, I would have missed it. 

On the way out of the Land of Negativity, don't give in to your peripheral vision. Don't let the distractions, bad or good, slow you down. And don't believe the lies that you hear in those distractions. Stay focused. Look straight ahead.

Don't turn to the right or the left;
     keep your feet from evil (Prov 4:27)

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
I Can See Clearly

Sharing with Judith at Wholehearted Wednesday


  1. Yikes, Mary! I have something of a fear of heights--especially when the ground beneath is rock-hard and jagged! I'm so glad you made it and I love the analogy you've shared with us. I was just sharing with another blogger how I'm meditating today on Heb. 12:1-3 but especially on the part about "fixing my eyes on the Author and Perfecter of my faith ..." If I keep my eyes on Him, instead of the "peripheral" I will climb right up to the Heights with Him! Thanks for sharing and inspiring us to stay focused on Christ!

  2. Yes, I love that--climbing up to the Heights! Thanks for stopping by