“What you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to.”
-John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
I tend to fixate on things.
This can show up in positive ways for me. For example, I love to nerd out about topics of interest and can spend hours researching about anything and everything. I am a learner who loves to understand every facet of a topic.
However, this also can be a challenging part of my personality. When I’m wrestling with anxiety, I tend to fixate on my fears about the future. I analyze everything that could possibly go wrong. I obsess about the problems in my life, including difficult relationships or challenging work situations. When I become absorbed in problems and anxieties, I miss all of the beautiful gifts that are right around me. And the Enemy steals my joy.
At the same time, I think the opposite is also possible. The Enemy can also distort our good and beautiful desires. Sometimes I fixate so intently on the blessings in life— on things like my job, my family, and other meaningful relationships. This can be a problem, especially when I start to view these things as necessary to my happiness, safety, or security. Good desires become ultimate desires. And that’s the definition of idolatry.
As a result, I was deeply impacted when I read the above quote by John Mark Comer.
Our attention is one of the most powerful resources we have. And the things we give our attention to really do define who we become.
Recently I was talking to someone about my tendency to fixate. While they agreed that fixation can be dangerous, they reminded me that it’s always safe to fixate on the Lord. In fact, He’s the answer to all of our other fixations.
When I fixate on the Lord, my anxieties and problems seem to melt away. I gain His big picture perspective and realize how much energy I’m wasting trying to analyze and control my own life.
And when I fixate on Him, I become less attached to the good things in life that I think I need to be happy. I realize that He’s the only thing that will every fully satisfy the deepest needs of my heart.
I’m reminded of Hebrews 12:2 which says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
Jesus is the only thing worthy of our fixation. And if it’s true that our fixations shape who we become, I want Jesus to be my heart’s fixation above all others.