Tag Archives: fears

The Power Of Focus

 

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:

  1. Assess where you are right now
  2. Tell yourself a positive truth based on God’s Truth
  3. Intentionally focus on the good things, no matter how small
  4. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Challenge any negative thoughts
  5. Stay in the present
  6. 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

 

 

Walking on Water Today

2108_1036461988186_5311_aI’ve longed for a walk on water faith from as far back as I can remember.

Yes, I have wanted to be able to be put in that dungeon with hungry lions and like Daniel,

not flinch.

Yes, I have longed to be able to walk up to my giant with a strong faith

only to see him crumble at my feet.

Or if only I could have the faith that confidently walks around Jericho only to see its walls fall crashing down.

But I my knees always knocked in fear

and my hands shook when faced with conflict.

No, it wasn’t until I began to change my focus that things began to change.

Instead of gazing at the enemy

I began to upon His Power.

Instead of measuring the thickness of those Jericho walls and counting the number of teeth in the lions’ mouths

I realized His Greatness.

Instead of running the other way

I learned to take steps toward my fear.

What a difference that began to make in my life.

Fear is a monster that grows in power the more we focus upon it.

What if?

What if?

What if? Heart-pounding anxiety, stomach-clenching dread.

But for every fear we have

there is an answer.

Do you long for a walk on water faith?

Turn your focus upon the One Who loves you with an everlasting love.

Realize that He is more than enough to handle every problem you face,

every difficulty that arises.

every crises that comes your way.

And get out of the boat.

It’s the only way you’ll ever know that He will do for you what He has done for others.

Join me, won’t you, in developing a walk on water faith?

Interested?

You are not alone.

 

 

 

 

Shining Moments

I’ll never forget that sinking feeling in my stomach as a child

when my Dad called the family all together

and announced that we were moving.

Lump in my throat moments

as I realized that soon all that was familiar was changing.

We moved from Pennsylvania to New York

from New York to Kansas City

from Kansas City to upstate New York.

And as I would pack my things in the gigantic moving boxes

I also packed away my hopes and dreams of friendships and schools.

Endings can be so difficult.

Good byes said. Hugs given. Waving at schoolmates as I walked out of the class

and away from the school for the very last time.

But every ending led to a new beginning.

Standing at the doorway of a strange, new classroom

and scanning the sea of unfamiliar faces.

Listening to a new teacher explain her rules and procedures.

Riding different school buses.

Going to sleep in a strange bedroom.

Slowly discovering that different doesn’t mean bad.

Sadness was slowly replaced with gladness as I made new friends

and became secure again.

Every new beginning starts with a small step.

Sometimes it happens without us even realizing that something big has just happened.

A conversation here

a brief encounter there

but seeing again and again how He lead His dear children along.

Learning to trust moments where His leading becomes more than a word or a promise

on the pages of my well worn Bible.

Knees knocking

Sweaty hands moments where I sense His tender Hand drawing me forward

into the new and strange and uncomfortable again.

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness…. Psalms 23:3

      for His Name’s sake.

Learning to trust in His loving Care.

Learning to let Him lead rather then pushing forward with mywill and way.

Whatever He calls me to do

to simply obey.

Fears of the unknown gradually replaced with songs of praise

as I discover again and again that He is Faithful.

He knows us better than we know ourselves

and supports us on every side as we move forward in life.

Through every new chapter

every new beginning

until we finally reach Home.

Let’s keep moving, friends, no matter how strange and unfamiliar it might be.

I long to trust Him with a heart open wide to His Will.

Fears? Sure

Uncertainty? Definitely.

But we are always safe as we follow Him.