Blurring Out the Background

Jul 18

“Mom, can I use your camera? I want to make a Lego stop motion movie.”

My son paused, waiting for my answer. Inside my head, the pros and cons were having a war.

He has used it before with you watching, he knows how to use it. Be the mom that says yes.

He may drop it or put his fingers on the lens. He might press buttons and mess up the setting you have, and you don’t know enough about your camera yourself to reset them. Do you remember how much that thing cost?

“Y-y-yes,” I sputtered out. The word stuck on my lips.

Ten minutes later, I decided to check in on my young director. Tiny Lego figures were set up in a battle scene, and my eleven-year-old was crouched low, capturing the action shot by shot.

He paused and used the playback mode to look at the images he shot. “Why does it look fuzzy?” he asked.

I took the camera to look and noticed the auto-focus had selected things in the background on which to focus, and Colin’s Lego men stood blurry in the front. “When you press down halfway to focus, you need to make sure the center of focus is on the important stuff in the photo. That way it’ll be clear in your picture and the background will be fuzzy instead.”


I remembered this conversation a few days later while talking to my husband. He called to see how my day was going, and I explained how overwhelmed I was. How I couldn’t find the right balance of time with God, time with kids, time spent cleaning the house, time writing on my book proposal and time focused on exercise. If I was really good in one area, another area was lacking.

My wise husband said, “Carol, if you focus on all that stuff you can’t get done, you will always feel overwhelmed. But if you focus on all the good stuff you are doing, you’ll be encouraged.”

I was frustrated because I was looking at a blurry picture of my life. My center of focus wasn’t on the important stuff. Stuff like showing my son I trust him with my expensive camera and letting him know Lego stop-motion movies are important to me because they are important to him. When Grace interrupted my morning writing time and I did ABC and 1,2,3 flash cards instead, I realized my priorities had come into focus.

When I choose to sit with my husband and watch a movie over doing laundry, I’m cropping in on things of worth. If the bathrooms don’t get clean because I spend that time talking and praying with a friend who is struggling, I’m just blurring out the background. And who looks at the background in pictures anyway?

So, if you struggle like me trying to find the balance in all things. If you’re overwhelmed with your non-Pinterest worthy life, take a deep breath. Change your focus and stop looking at the background so much. Then notice the beautiful picture right before your very eyes.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NIV

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