June 2, 2017

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Faith affirms God should be at the center of our radar

Patti LambRecently at work, our team encountered an unexpected setback. We were called to an impromptu stand-up meeting to address the critical issue. Our manager gathered us to share her thoughts and speak to key concerns. 

She did a great job disseminating information and communicating her vision regarding forward movement, despite new challenges. Due to the nature of the topic, however, the environment was tense, and the stress was palpable.  

At the end of the meeting, our boss asked if there were questions. One gentleman raised his hand and admitted that his question was off topic.  

That gave our fearless leader a smile. She had been knee deep in the dilemma du jour, and she was thrilled to talk about anything other than what had recently been the office noise.  

His question—something about the lack of ample parking spaces at work coupled with the recent increase in the cost of parking—was far removed from anything that required the immediate attention of this weary bunch.  

There was an awkward pause in the room.  

Our manager responded simply with this: “Thanks for your question. That’s not on my radar at this time, and, right now, I can’t even speak to that.”  

She had a bigger vision, a sharp focus, and she couldn’t entertain trivial matters.

The episode at work that day served as a sort of wake-up call for me and caused me to reflect. Lately, I’ve been distracted by some of life’s hiccups, which have made several very important priorities fall off my radar. I suppose you could call these “faith distractions.”  

I shared this story with some friends, and they admitted that they, too, are dealing with issues that consume their focus.   

The issues they shared ranged widely. One friend is tackling monstrous debt and the associated strain. Another is coming to terms with a diagnosis while some other friends are working to settle a lawsuit. I think we all have issues that surface at times, hijacking center stage, which should be God’s territory. He should be at the center of our radar.     

The work meeting that day reminded me that I so easily lose sight of the goal—to know, to love and to serve God, and to get to heaven.  

My faith affirms that when my priorities are aligned with God’s will, life’s challenges won’t seem like such big waves. They will be more like small ripples because I’m connected to my Creator, who sustains me.   

So often, however, I get caught in task mode, trying to fix problems and cross things off my list. Instead, I should follow the advice of St. Paul: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col 3:2)

In Jesus Calling, a fantastic devotional for children by Sarah Young, there’s a passage my daughter encountered recently, which says, “In a world of unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Find in me the stability for which you have yearned. … In my presence, you can face uncertainty with perfect Peace.”  

Reflecting on words like these reminds me that, despite faith distractions—which will never come to an end in this life—we should recognize that life is better when our radars are in sync with God’s. We must trust our fearless leader’s vision.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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