Your Focus Really Does Make a Difference

Some people lean into the future. Others never seem to leave the past.past-present-future.jpg

Recently I heard a news report about a local school that was closing due to finances. At one point in the report, one of the teachers was interviewed. She described the challenge facing all who are connected with the school. She spoke about the choice they had to make.

“Are we going to be proactive or reactive? Being reactive focuses on what we have lost. Being proactive focuses on what we have to gain.”

Wow!

Isn’t this the choice so many of us face?

Some people are reactive. They are forever talking about what used to be. They seem to define themselves by the unfortunate things that happened in their lives. They seem to define themselves by what they are not. They seem to focus on what they have lost.

Others are proactive. They stand on tiptoes peering into the future. For these people, life is meant to be lived. They believe that God’s providential wind is at their back. They believe and trust in his care. They look to the future focused on what might be gained.

This seems to be a part of life. We deal with losses. If you’ve lost a job, a friend, or a member of your family, you know something about loss. Others have lost their health. Still others lost a dream and became cynical or resigned themselves to the status quo.

There is a way to acknowledge the losses and even grieve them. The losses are very real. Then, however, we move on! We trust God and lean into the future.

So what about you? Will your focus and energy be centered on what you have lost? Or, will you trust God and believe that the future has promise.

Question

What has been helpful to you in moving on after a loss? How can we move on and focus on what we have to gain?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Your Focus Really Does Make a Difference

  1. Jim, eleven years ago when my 17 year old son took his own life I thought I was going through a total breakdown. Even now there are times when the memory of the night that I received the phone call hits me and, for a split second, I feel that I am going to completely lose my mind; and that split second feels like it will never end.

    The only answer I have as to how I survived was allowing myself to grieve before God. No pretense of how much faith I had; I felt as if real faith was gone. No easy answers from preachers or books; not even memorized verses of scripture. Only shear, honest grief with screams of “WHY!!”. I look back on that time and actually think to myself, “Thank God for cars and showers”. I would lean against the wall of the shower and cry until there were no more tears; and there were many mornings I would scream the entire drive to work. When I was asked at work why my voice was gone I would simply say I was coming down with a cold.

    What I can say, and it is not a boast, that through every scream I was looking straight at God. No, not as a man of “great faith”, but as a man demanding God to “SAY SOMETHING TO ME!” And God finally did. When my wife would hold my hand in total silence, and when my daughters would call and ask “How are you, Dad?”, it was then I heard God’s gentle whisper.

    For some, what I have said my not be the “Answer of All Answers”. But for me it was the beginning of actually paying attention when someone would say to me “I love you”.

    • John,

      I really appreciate your comment. This has to be a very tender place. My goodness, I can’t imagine the pain you’ve experienced in the last 11 years.

      Thank you for what you affirm as you describe what it means to grieve before God. I know that many others who read this comment appreciate this as well. What you say, John, is so powerful and authentic.

      As I read your comment, I thought of Job, Habakkuk, and Jesus who dared to cry out to God.

      Again, thanks so much, John. I’m honored that you left this fine comment.