Have you ever tried spinning in place? Did it make you dizzy?

I’m fascinated when I watch a dancer spin in place yet move so gracefully afterward. When I spin in place, I get dizzy and usually find myself on the floor after I stop. I used to practice spinning, trying to turn perfectly so I wouldn't get dizzy or lose my balance, but it seemed the harder I tried, the worse I got. How do they do that?

Did you know that dancers have a trick called “spotting”? The goal of spotting is to focus the head and eyes on one single point. If you watch dancers carefully, you'll see their eyes focus on the same spot with every turn. They’re not looking around trying to figure out where they are as they turn. Nope, that makes for sloppy turns and tons of dizziness. Instead, the dancers know that if they focus their eyes on a single spot, they can spin again and again. And the result is a series of perfect turns.

Did you know that same principle is true in our relationship with God? Let me explain...

When I was young, I tried so hard to be perfect, to do everything the right way. I wanted so much to please God because I loved Him, and I knew He loved me. I believed that by doing the right things, I would have a right heart. I would become the person God created me to be. But it seemed like the harder I tried to do the right things, the more wrong things I did. I was so frustrated! It was just like spinning in place. The harder I tried to spin perfectly, the dizzier I got.

You see, I thought God wanted me to be perfect. I thought that if I focused on all the things I do, I could be who He wanted me to be.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, doesn’t God want me to focus on doing the right thing? Doesn’t He want me to focus on the right choice, the right words, the right attitude?

Do you want to know something crazy?

He doesn’t!

God doesn’t want us to focus on doing the right thing. In fact, He never asks us to focus on ourselves and spend our energy trying to make ourselves better. No, in fact, when I focus on trying to do all the right things (e.g., trying to have the right attitude, trying to make the right choices), the one I’m focused on is ME. I’m trying to create a clean heart in myself. And God isn’t asking me to do that. In fact, God knows that I can’t do that.

In Psalm 51, I learned that God is the only one that can create a clean heart in me. He is the only one that can wash me white as snow. He is the only one that can make me whole. And He is where I need to keep my focus.

Just like a dancer focuses her eye on a single point, if I want to be who God created me to be, then I’ve got to focus my heart on Him. When I focus on God, He creates in me a clean heart. He washes me white as snow. He makes me whole. Right focus equals right heart equals right actions. 

This devotional was written by:

Gina McClain

Gina McClain is a wife, mom, and children’s ministry leader at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her first calling is to be a helpmate to her husband, Kyle, and then to invest a vibrant faith in the hearts of her kids: Keegan, Josie, and Connor. She loves encouraging, equipping, and inspiring parents in their journeys of raising their kids to love God with all their hearts, minds, and strength.