Life can be challenging sometimes. (You’re thinking, “Thank you, Madam Obvious.”) Sometimes the challenges are huge, and sometimes it’s just every day life. I’d like to share something that I’m working on which is helping me deal with the little, pesky, every day stuff. That’s focus.
Bear with me a moment. I know we hear a lot about focus, presence, mindfulness, etc. I definitely think in this fast paced, information overload culture we need more of it. But I’d like to share my focus, that is, F-O-C-U-S.
F is for, well, focus. That means prioritizing the things in your life. What is most important to you now? Family? Friends? Finances? What energizes you, encourages you, excites you? What moves you toward your goal? Focus on that and let other things settle into place. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot be all things to all people, and you cannot have it all. A “yes” to one thing means a “no” to something else. Choose wisely, and allow your life to fall together.
O is for open. Be open. Open minded. Open to possibilities. Open to change. And open to being wrong. As you hone your focus new opportunities and new information appear. Discernment required – not every new thing is the right thing. But when we’re either too scattered (unfocused) or too closed off and afraid we usually miss the gifts of joy and peace all around us.
C is for commit. That might sound opposite to the above, but both studies and tradition testify to the power of being “all in” to whatever project, of setting an intention and seeing it through. Committing means giving it your best effort, keeping going when the going gets tough. It’s letting your “yes” be a true and strong “yes,” not waffling about until life settles the question for you (usually in a negative way).
U is for utilize. Utilize the strengths, gifts, talents, experiences, and people God has put into your life. Don’t be shy. You are uniquely made for a purpose, and if you are doing your best to be authentically you, you really can’t get it wrong. (Even if you haven’t figured out what that purpose is yet. Isn’t that encouraging?)
S is for smile. What? Expecting something more profound? Research has shown that forcing yourself to smile improves mood and outlook. Not to mention relatability. Whose checkout line would you rather be in, the frowning, grumpy looking clerk or the smiling, friendly looking one? Thinking positive, having an attitude of gratitude, influences us even on a cellular level, not just a cognitive/emotional level. Thinking positive lowers cortisol levels and increases resilience. We can all use that.
These are a work in progress for me. I’d be happy to get your thoughts on what has worked for you. If you need a little objective help finding your focus, any of us would be happy to work with you. Message us here on Facebook or send a note through our web page, www.sanctuarychristiancounseling.com.