I am so blessed and that is where I will focus. Wow, what a year 2015 was. I fell short in so many ways. I didn’t ___________ (fill in the blank). My list would be pretty long. But a few things have brought things back into FOCUS for me and I hope they will you too! Today for example, I slept in… I wanted to go to church, and well… it didn’t happen. I can FOCUS on the sadness all day or I can 1. Make the most of the hours at home and 2. Watch one or more of my favorite online speakers (Steve Furtick, Priscilla Shirer, etc.).
I have been pretty hard on myself for not keeping up with people in 2015. My WORD FRIENDS got a little neglected. Honestly “my word” ACT got a lot neglected too. I wanted to get more done and reach out more. You should have seen the list I planned to accomplish when off for surgery. I don’t really have a great excuse but that I left life get in the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because I was always living, but because of the messy parts of life (my attitude, motivation, etc.). As I look forward to 2016, I have been blessed as I reach out to people for their words, that though I may not have lived up to my expectations, my efforts touched them. That is a different FOCUS. To FOCUS on what I didn’t instead of the few times I could.
I listened to a message by Steve Furtick last weekend that we can choose to FOCUS on the messes of 2015 and the past or the miracles. I don’t know about you, but I said I wanted to FOCUS on the miracles, the blessings, the right, the lessons, etc. But, the days roll into each other… and my blessings fall into the cracks un-noticed. My grateful list has faded because I get so busy that I don’t pause for those few minutes to close my day with a thank you to God for the little things. My prayer life since returning to work has changed because I don’t make that time. Let me just tell you… I AM FEELING IT!!!
Some amazing life changes have happened as a result when I FOCUS on the gratefulness of little things. I slow down. I breathe in. I smile. Even more amazing life changing things happened as a result of my time on my porch swing with my empty cup waiting to receive from God (a great habit I started when off for surgery and time just passed without anywhere to be). (I started to cry just remembering that time). He honors a grateful heart… an empty soul… and every tear!
So today, since I missed church I wanted to start on one of many little projects and it required going through photos. I want to get a belated card out since I missed a Christmas card. I could say I was too busy but I was off work for 9 weeks due to a surgery and then the blessing of migraines. But, it’s never too late to keep in touch, so Valentine’s Day or Easter the card may come. Anyway, I had to go through files and files of iphone photos and with every folder I opened, I smiled. My FOCUS became on what an amazing year our little family had. Trips and time together… Laughter and sadness… Sunshine and snow showers… Cuddling and chaos…. In the middle of the mess of life (the hard times, the struggles), some amazing beautiful times happened. I needed this today. I needed to FOCUS on all that is right to point my heart back in the direction it needs to go.
Our family has some BIG changes in 2016. On New Year’s Day, I resigned from my job after 11 ½ years. I made the decision, ironically, at the beach. The irony is because when I resigned my last position to go to my current employer, it was at the beach. There is something about pushing pause on life and sitting in front of the huge ocean and watching the sun come over the horizon, and watching the waves stop exactly where they are supposed to, and the shells laying out beautifully saying “pick me”, and Sam swimming like a fish in the pool, and Mary falling in love with cheesy grits, and our family of four in a hotel room ordering chocolate cake from room service… that makes you get BRAVE because you know that what matters are the people in that room, and the God who controls that ocean and sun, has our lives directly in the palm of His hands. He was just waiting for me to push pause. I paused a lot on my porch when life slowed and truly believe that it was during that time, He made BIG plans for my family. He sees us, He knows us, and He has GOT THIS! I just have to FOCUS my eyes on Him. It’s easy at the beach… and as I sorted through pictures and placed my beautiful shells (the most I have ever found there) in a big glass vase on my table as a constant reminder to FOCUS… Today on this snowy day in PA, can be as calm as that day in Virginia Beach… if I FOCUS my eyes in the right direction.
God has BIG BIG plans for us… but if I take my eyes off Him, I might just stumble (voice of experience). Thankfully, He is my heavenly Father and will brush off the dirt when I do, kiss my wound (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental), and get my FOCUS back once again.
So FOCUS on the blesses and not the messes — that’s my new motto!