“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”Philippians 4:8
“Focus on giants – you stumble. Focus on God – giants stumble.”Max Lucado
Right now, there’s so much negative, so much bad, so much scary around us. It seems to be consuming our day to day lives, at least mine. When life functions as “normal” and we are constantly moving and doing things, the bad is still there, but it’s easier to not think about. If an average day consists of 90% good and 10% bad, that 90% overshadows that 10% bad. But when life slows down or comes to a halt, the negative, the bad, and the scary become the focal point. Now, that 10% is overshadowing the 90%. It’s easy to cover up the negative with the ordinary, the to-do lists, the good and exciting plans, etc, but when all that is stripped away, it seems as if we are left with the bad and the scary staring us directly in the face. You might be thinking, well, Anna, it doesn’t seem like there’s only 10% bad right now. It seems like 90% bad and 10% good. And yeah, you’re right. It definitely seems as if the bad is the main character in the play right now. But it doesn’t have to be. No matter how big, the bad does not have to overshadow the good. YOU have the power to focus on the good. Are you going to let the bad consume you? Or are you going to shift your focus from the bad to the good?
Max Lucado states it well. If we put our focus on the giants, we will stumble. If we put our focus on God, the giants will stumble. Despite how it may seem, there is SO much good still left in your life, in the world. I promise you. If I’m being honest, it’s been hard to not let the bad consume me, too. The news, even before the coronavirus, is full of scary breaking news reports. The coronavirus, the tornadoes, the big storms, the potential for this hurricane season to be one of the worsts. All of this scary is right there in the news. The world seems so big and so powerful and so terrifying right now. But our God is so much bigger and so much more powerful! You might have to look a little harder than usual, but there’s good all around!! If you continue to focus on the scary, you’re going to stay scared. But if you shift your focus to the good, you’ll start to see the good and find more happiness and joy in the mundane. God has not and will not let all of the good disappear. He is still providing good in the situations if you look for it.
Here’s a list of my “scary/bad/negative circumstances” right now that you might find yourself relating to. And when I’ve finished, I’ll share the good in each.
- Stuck in my parents house
- Not able to be at school/work with my friends/coworkers
- Away from my boyfriend
- Half-marathon postponed
- Summer plans cancelled
- Cities shut down, aka no traveling
- Concerts cancelled
- Beaches closed
- Not sure when life will start again
Buttttttt that’s not the full story. There’s always 2 sides to every coin. So let’s look at the good side. This might be my situation right now, and upon first glance, it might seem not ideal. But I know for a fact there is good to be found in each of these bullet points.
- I’m not “stuck” in my parents house. I’m blessed to be able to quarantine with my parents and not have to go through this alone. In addition, outside is not banned. I’ve been able to walk with my parents almost every single day. Being with them is actually a blessing.
- I might not be physically at school with my friends, but Zoom and our phones have allowed me to stay in touch with them. We’ve FaceTimed, Zoomed, texted, and played games. Thankful for technology that allows us to stay in touch.
- My boyfriend might be 3 and a half hours away, but he’s still by my side through all of this! We’ve been able to FaceTime and write letters. Just because we’re away from each other doesn’t mean we aren’t still in this together; we are!
- That half-marathon that Luke and I trained 3 months for, rescheduled (!!!) for next year. It could have been completely cancelled and I would have been out $80. Instead, it was rescheduled, which is a positive!
- The summer camp I planned to work at this summer is cancelled. But that doesn’t mean summer is cancelled. And that doesn’t mean I won’t have summer plans. On the contrary, summer is not cancelled. My summer job/activities might look different (and maybe still unsure) but there will still be a summer and I’ll have plans eventually!
- Cities are closed yes, but they will open back up again soon. I had dreams of visiting New York City this spring. That might not happen, but guess what, New York City is still there. It didn’t disappear or vanish. It might be closed temporarily, but it will open back up so very soon (and so will Charlotte, so will Raleigh, so will whatever city you’re reading this from). Soon enough, we’ll be able to travel again!
- Concerts might not be happening right now, but music is still happening. You might not be able to gather outside for a concert, but what’s stopping you from dancing in your living room to some good jams? What’s stopping you from going on drives and singing your heart out? Nothing!
- Beaches will open back up. Soon we’ll be able to lay on the beach, run on the beach, walk on the beach again. I might not be able to go to the beach right now, but it just gives me something to look forward to.
- Lonely, at first, always seems horrible. And honestly, I’m so extraverted, it’s still not the best. But I’m able to make it ~alright~. I’ve been able to spend more time reading, exercising, focusing on my mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
- And yeah, the reality is that I really have no idea when things will be back to normal, but that’s not the point. The point is that we have something to look forward to because things will resolve. And that’s beautiful. We WILL get through this. That’s something to celebrate.
The positive theme for all of this (and this isn’t even all the positives in my life right now, just a glimpse) is that none of this is permanent! It’s all temporary. And each day we make it through is one day closer to being on the other side of it. The days will go by slowly if you focus on the bad. OR the days can go by quicker if you focus on the good. Remember Philippians 4:8. When it seems so easy to focus on the negative, on the bad, or on the scary, don’t fall prey to that kind of thinking. Instead, think about and focus on what is true, what is honorable, what is just, what is pure, what is lovely, what is commendable, the excellent things, and the things worthy of praise. I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… you can’t change your situation, but you can change your attitude. I wholeheartedly believe the Lord wants to teach us something during this. Turn to him. Seek to find the good in your situation. So change your attitude since you can’t change your situation. Your situation might look similar to mine, it might look different. Either way, change your attitude, change your outlook. Turn off the news if you have to. Find and focus on the positive right now. It’ll make a huge difference in how easily (or how difficultly) you get through this. Because you will get through it. Make it easy on yourself. Girl, focus on the good!!!