Ever had your car professionally detailed? I have not, technically, but it was done to the “new” cars I have purchased. The pre-owned vehicles once moved and breathed in other lives but transferred into my life with the previous owners detailed out.
Neither have I detailed a vehicle myself. Why? Because it’s tedious work. Detailing involves getting into cracks and crevices and digging out accumulated grime. It’s taking out the floor mats and vacuuming. It’s reaching way under seats and getting all the crumbs and forgotten pencils, papers, and water bottles. Sometimes, it results in “that’s where that is” or “I forgot all about that” or “Eeewww!”
Detailing sort of hits a reset button. It reorganizes and renews. Changing outside appearances in most areas of life really isn’t all that difficult, but making lasting change where our inner life matches our outer life, where the details of life balance with one another, can be a real struggle. Detailing our inner lives means digging into the cracks and crevices and reaching way underneath the surface to hidden places to find the forgotten, lost, and unsavory.
Detailing my life, which I consider focusing in on the details as the Holy Spirit leads, leads me to do everything I do “simply, slowly and clearly.” In essence, it involves getting into the cracks and crevices in a way that allows for hitting the reset button in some areas and discovering new direction in others. Focusing on the details of life will help me:
- Simplify. My natural tendency involves complicating everything. If I don’t deliberately think of keeping the details of my life simple, I get overwhelmed easily. Focusing on the details will better establish a habit of simplicity.
- Slow down. When I read, I move quickly to reach the end in order to move on to another book. Hover, I miss out on processing and applying what I read. When I write, I also do so quickly and fail to carefully consider every word. Listening, too, often involves forming responses instead of truly hearing. Slowing down will amplify the quality of the time I spend in my favorite activities and with the people I love most.
- Clarify. Focusing on the details will also help clarify my focus. If I can find ways to stay clear in my focus (i.e., in God’s will for my life), I believe my life will be simpler. I also believe I will be more productive the clearer I can get and keep my focus.
Focus Determines Reality
In Star Wars, The Phantom Menace, Qui Gon Jinn tells Anakin, “Your focus determines your reality.” Unfortunately, Anakin’s focus continually drifted toward fear, resulting in him choosing the path of darkness.
If I fail to detail certain areas in my life, I may continue down a hurried and complicated path. I may continue to find myself increasingly confused and less productive. If I guard my focus, though, I can walk the path of an amplified life that produces and inspires depth of character.
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
As I refocus on the two verses in Isaiah given as a focus for my life several years ago, I realize the necessity of creating a detailed life, one that exists in immediate and thorough obedience.