Focus on These Things

In the midst of our #shelterathome period, I was connecting weekly with a small group of friends.  In the beginning, it was via zoom meetings and then later we switched to FaceTime group calls.  During that time we covered a tiny book by Max Lucado called Less Fret, More Faith, An Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety.   If ever there was a time to tackle anxiety, 2020 seemed to be the year.  Right? 

We had a boatload of ’what-ifs’ on our minds. So much stuff to weigh us down. Create anxiety. And, what better place to unpack those than with non-judgmental friends using the word of God as our lighthouse. A whole lotta life has been shared as well as much laughter, sometimes grief, plus happy and sad tears.

Holding on to anxious thoughts actually creates depression in me.  Maybe it does in you, too.  If so, you are not alone! That certainty of a coming storm.  An impending doom that clouds every thought, all movement.  A voice speaking negative thoughts getting louder and louder.  Realizing it is my own internal self-talk capable of causing the most pain.

“Thoughts, whether positive or negative, grow stronger with repetition.”   

Charles Swindoll

When you are overcome with the what-ifs, know God has power over EVERY detail.  No. Matter. How. Small.  If you will  give your anxiety, frustrations, disappointments, and fears to him, he WILL give you what you need for that minute, hour, day. 

More than once, on a Thursday when a blog would go live, something would occur that magnified the very subject of that post. The last time that happened was when It is Going to Be Good was published: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2021/04/22/it-is-going-to-be-good/

It was one of those days that Jacob wasn’t happy. I had trouble getting him ready. He was the opposite of cooperative. I was in tears before heading to his day program. I wasn’t convinced it was going to be good.

Part of my anxiety was knowing I had just said to the world, “setting my face to see God’s hand—it is going to be good”.  In that hour, I was overcome and truly had trouble taking my own advice.  I was wallowing in my self-talk, “you need to practice what you preach”.  In all honesty, it was a rough morning and took the better part of the day for me to shift my focus from poor me.  To let go of what was bothering me and give it to God.

Here is the deal: I do not believe Jacob set out to give me a hard time. He is human and not perfect but he is also autistic. Often, what appears to be his determination to give me grief and ruin my morning is not about or against me at all. It is because he is struggling. He is having a hard time. He doesn’t know how to express a feeling. It is all he can do right then.

Lucado asks:

Are you laughing less than you once did?

Do you see problems in every promise?

Would those who know you best describe you as increasingly negative and critical?

Do you assume that something bad is going to happen?

Do you dilute and downplay good news with doses of your version of reality?

Many days would you rather stay in bed than get up?

Do you magnify the negative and dismiss the positive?

Given the chance, would you avoid any interaction with humanity for the rest of your life?

If so, focus on these verses from God’s word:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 

Philippians 4:4-8
 

Oh, that I could be quick to take a deep breath and remember God gives me today.  I don’t have to do it on my own.  Neither do you.

4 thoughts on “Focus on These Things

  1. Thank you for your message today. I really need to hear every word you said. I think God speaks through your writing each week. I know it takes time for you to do these but you have no idea how many people your words helps.

    Liked by 2 people

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