How to Shift Your Focus

IMG_5116For a few years now, the perpetual feeling of despair has plagued me. Every time I try new treatments, and don’t get the results I was hoping for, I feel the nudge of fear. When my condition worsens and I go through a time of difficult hardship, I feel my hope diminishing. And that terrifies me.

Sometimes I allow myself to go to those really scary places, when I think about my future, and the picture I paint for myself isn’t pretty. The image I have seen lately frightens me. Because when I become so focused on my disabilities and struggles I lose sight of my abilities.

When I overdo it and work beyond my limits, I pay for it. For the past few years, I have ignored the pain. I have put my whole heart into my books, speaking engagements, emails from supporters, and helping others—in any way possible.

Somewhere along the journey, I got distracted from my goals and lost the love and passion for what I was doing. And I started seeing it as a burden, instead of blessing.

Not too long ago, I sat in the bathroom floor with tears pouring from eyes and a broken heart. I was exhausted, in pain, and overwhelmed. And when I looked over my schedule, for the next few weeks, my sobs intensified.

How had this happened again? Why did I say yes, when I should have said no?

Because I love to help people and I really hate to turn anyone away. But sometimes, and this one is really hard for me to admit, when I say yes to everyone else I am saying no to my husband and kids—and even to myself. When I overcommit, something else in my life doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In turn, this creates the perfect storm of overwhelm for me. Constantly giving to others depletes me. Working 12 hours or more a day doesn’t give me the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. Therefore, my body hurts worse than it should and my mind becomes overwhelmed.

The devil uses distractions to derail us. He wants us to fail, so he tries to discourage us, in hopes that we will just give up. And label our situation as hopeless.

When I overuse my hands and shoulders, the constant pain makes me focus on more pain. Suddenly, all I can think about is becoming totally disabled. When those thoughts creep in, it breaks my spirit. In turn, I try to work harder to escape the inevitable, and achieve my goals, before time runs out for me.

All we need to do, however, is learn to shift our focus.

One day I felt as if the walls were closing in on me. Broken and hurting, God understood my tears, my fears, and my heartaches. He didn’t change my situation, but he helped me to shift my mind-set and view my situation with a new perspective. When I realized that I just need to learn to work smarter, every thing changed.

So maybe I can’t travel for hours to speak at an event or do school visits, but I can still write books and blogs to reach an unlimited number of people. Perhaps I can’t do everything the world asks of me, but I can do whatever God places on my heart.

My focus needs to always be on Him. He knows my limitations, my challenges, and my ability to overcome. My God knows how to share my story in a way that glorifies Him.

If I’m patient, my God will show me how to work smarter not harder and achieve more in a few minutes, with Him directing my path, than I could ever do on my own.

All He wants me to do is show up every day and ask Him one simple question. “What would you have me to do today?” And then do whatever He places on my heart, with my whole heart.

Serving God and doing His work is simple. We are the ones who make it hard.

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