When we deal with difficult circumstances it is essential that we pay attention to what we are focusing on. If we feed our fears and starve our faith, we will grow weaker and more depressed and discouraged. If we feed our faith and starve our fears, we will grow stronger and more confident. Whatever you focus on expands.
It can happen so easily. This morning a few folks shared with me their fears regarding COVID-19 and finances. I listened and certainly understood their concerns. I’ve experienced some difficult stretches in my own life so I could easily validate their concerns. But after speaking with them it hit me. Yes, afterwards the seeds of their fears lodged in my mind. I found myself worrying about what the financial impact would be on my family.
But then it subtly grew from concern to a strange feeling of weakness. It wasn’t clear for awhile why the weakness had come over me. Was I sick? But as time passed I realized that I had shifted from a position of faith and trust in the Lord to one of concern and very subtle worry. Fear of the unknown was growing deep within. As soon as I realized the source and how the seeds of earlier conversations had lodged in my mind, I took steps to eradicate them. Putting on some worship music, I focused on all God’s greatness and Power. I remembered how He had provided for me in the past and how I knew He would again. My heart grew lighter and the weakness slowly passed.
Whatever we focus upon expands. It’s an important truth. The mind expands in relation to what our thoughts dwell upon. And it grows and grows and grows. So if we have a fearful thought, that will grow leading to anxiety, stress and more fear. The opposite is also true. If we focus upon God’s Power to overcome anything, our minds are focused upon faith. We will grow strong in that faith and even draw more evidences of faith to us.
Now this is an amazing tool when you think about it. We have control over what we choose to feed our mind. Some folks are pushing away from the news these days. Others are limiting how much they listen to it. They have discovered that it feeds the mind with negativity and worrisome thoughts that don’t help them live and have productive, joy-filled lives.
Others are intentionally listening to music that encourages and builds hope. I’ve been delighted to see the number of social media posts with uplifting music. As we listen to those songs our hearts relax and we remember. Although this chaos hit us unaware, music reminds us that there is a higher truth. We can rise above the present circumstances and focus on the good, the kindnesses that are so evident, God’s faithfulness, and most of all, our ability to choose.
Maybe you have difficulty focusing on the good and feeding your faith. Maybe for you it’s a straight uphill battle. I understand. There have been times of great change in my life where it was difficult to just get out of bed in the morning. It was hard to imagine life ever being ok much less good. But, you know, it happened. Slowly one day at a time I took the next step. I did what I could do that day and those small steps took me to a different place. Yes, I found myself at a place I would never have been if it had not been for those difficult circumstances.
I discovered through that that even though we are shaken by sudden change we need not be defeated. We can choose what our mind focuses upon and draw even more faith to us. We can open our eyes to see the bigger picture- not just what it’s like for us. Suddenly we are not alone. Others are struggling and unsure.
So how do you focus your mind on faith? Here are some steps to take:
- Assess where you are right now
- Tell yourself a positive truth based on God’s Truth
- Intentionally focus on the good things, no matter how small
- Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Challenge any negative thoughts
- Stay in the present
- Find some faith-focused friends, co-workers, family members
Lastly, take time to remember. Yes, remember the times of chaos in your life and how you survived then. Think back to previous experiences of chaos and notice how you managed to come through. Whether it was a tornado experience, a devastating hurricane, a divorces, an illness, etc take time to reflect on how you made it through. What did you do? Who was there? What did you turn to?
Remembering helps me realize how many times I’ve coped with chaos in the past and survived. Again and again I’ve experienced that feeling of devastation and fear but I survived. At the time it was very difficult and scary. But looking back I can see how God sustained me and helped me one day at a time. Life went on. But I was different.
Yes, through every chaos I’ve grown. I still feel the fears of sudden change and chaos but I know Who to go to and I know that nothing is a surprise to God. He will help me as He’s promised to and as He has done again and again in my life. Will there be changes? Absolutely. But He is in control and I can trust Him.
- This is from my soon to be released book Finding Faith in the Chaos