How We’re Learning

by Muriel Gregory


I walked away from the conversation in complete disbelief. Tears of frustration were welling up in my eyes. I could not believe that I was there again, same situation, same outcome. What was the point of moving forth and trying, only to find myself in the same dead end with failure and sorrow.

My mind was zeroed in on the issue at hand. I was unable to focus on anything else. Would I ever be able to get rid of that ground hog day feeling? Why was God allowing this same issue to arise again and again? And again…

What we focus on becomes our world. The more I focused on the issue, the more the issue became my world. Ever so gently, God guided me back to a place where He was the focus.

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

John 16:20

I could not fathom how my grief could be turned into joy. The offense that caused the grief was a recurring one. When would this turn into joy?

How long, God?

This became a powerful exercise in trust.

Did I trust God? Fully? Blindly? Not a halfway trust with one foot on what I knew and understood. God wanted me to trust Him fully and blindly, letting go of all preconceived ideas and expectations.

I like photography. I am a very basic amateur but I do enjoy taking pictures and playing with the settings on my camera.

When I want to play it safe, I will use the preset settings. However if I feel a bit adventurous, I will put my camera on manual and play with the settings.

The shutter speed setting is quite fascinating and will create interesting effects. Shutter speed determines the photo’s exposure. In front of the sensor, inside the camera, is a small flap called the shutter. When I take a photo, this opens and closes to let light reach the sensor, creating my image. A fast shutter means that little light is let in and a slow shutter means that more light is let in.

Taking this concept to my Christian walk, I slowly realized that my mind and my faith was like the shutter. The image formed in my mind depended on how much light, i.e God’s word, I let in.

One of the interesting effects of a slow shutter speed is the blurring effect. The object photographed (as long as it is not moving) stays focused but the background becomes blurry.

God does not change.

Malachi 3:6

What I learned was that as long as my focus was on God and my shutter speed slow, He will stay in focus and my issues will start blurring.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17

The groundhog day feeling has disappeared. The situation is still there but the frustration has dissipated. As I continue to hang on to the One who does not change, my other issues have blurred in the background.

Jesus is the permanent to my temporary.

This really brought to mind this old hymn. If you know it, sing it with me.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

 I challenge you next time you face challenges, frustrations, unmovable mountains, to set your shutter speed to slow.

How to change your focus:

  1. Slow down. Take some deep breaths.
  2. Spend more time with God. More time praying, more time in Bible study.
  3. Slow your mind. Spend some time meditating on God’s word.
  4. Slow your feelings. Check them against Scripture.

Slowly but surely the frustrations and heartaches will blur in the background and God will come more and more into focus.

Your turn:

What is your shutter speed? Are you slow to anger, or fast to react? Where is your focus?


Father, I am so thankful for your unconditional love. I thank you for never giving up on me and always being the rock that I can rely on. May my focus be always on you, Father, and may the rest blur in the background.