On occasion I struggle with a bit of depression. It will come on out of nowhere and cover me like one of those new weighted blankets they’re selling to help people sleep better. Thankfully, it never lasts longer then a few days. Thankfully, I have an awesome, sarcastic, funny, loving, wise husband whose wise-crack, on-point remarks as I’m laying in bed (debating whether I ever want to get up again) will make me laugh – throw back the covers – grab a cup of coffee – and face the day!
Today was one of those days. And I knew I desperately needed to realign my focus.
For me – exercise is a powerful antidepressant! Bike rides, sunshine, and fresh air work WONDERS to lift my spirits! After my husband left for work and I finished my first cup of coffee, I thought about how much I NEEDED to go on a long bike ride, but the past couple of days have been nothing but dark clouds and rain – AND – rain was in the forecast for the rest of the week!
Suddenly a ray of sunshine (SONshine?) burst through my kitchen windows! Could it be? I went outside to inspect the sky.
Dark clouds loomed up ahead on the left. They looked ominous. Foreboding. BUT, I also looked to the right and when I did, I saw enough evidence of sunshine and clear blue sky that I knew I had a brief window of opportunity to seize the moment, jump on my bike, and make it happen!
Many times a storm will come into our life, and if we FOCUS on the storm, we will lose our courage. We will not venture out. We will not take risks. We will stay safe and hunker down and we will not even consider the fact that God may have a blessing – healing – freedom – JOY – in store for us, if only we will REALIGN OUR FOCUS, take the risk, and seize the moment!
I rode my bike for 8 glorious miles this morning! As I peddled I kept my focus on the blue sky and SONshine! Depression melted away and JOY filled me up to overflowing! My circumstances did not change. But my FOCUS did! And when my FOCUS changed – my ATTITUDE changed with it!
Christian author, pastor, educator, and preacher, Charles Swindoll, once said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
My intentional focus on the small bit of sunshine changed my attitude! Yes, I saw the storm clouds rolling in. Yes, the storm looked bad. Yes, it looked like it had the power to dump gallons of pelting rain on me if I dared to venture out for a bike ride.
But I made up my mind to REALIGN MY FOCUS! And when I did, I suddenly had the courage and the heart to take the risk I desperately needed to take to enter into a place of JOY!
I changed my focus! And my attitude followed!
What are you facing today? What storm clouds have rolled in over your life and threaten to dump gallons of pain, despair, depression, misery, fear, poverty, anxiety, or hopelessness into your spirit?
Colossians 3:2 reminds me to “Set my mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Isaiah 26:3 reassures me, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Romans 8:5 tells me that “those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
Philippians 4:8 teaches me, “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.”
And finally, Hebrews 12:1-4 is so good it just makes me want to SHOUT as the Lord tells me “Therefore, JULIE [insert your name here if you want a powerful shot of JOY] since you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
Focus changes EVERYTHING!!! It gives us the strength and hope we need to go to battle in prayer and come out victorious on the other side. It gives us the supernatural peace of God in the midst of the storms of life. Realign your focus! Look to the left, past the dark threatening clouds of your circumstances. There is SONshine waiting for YOU . . .
Focus on it! Embrace it! And let it CHANGE . . . EVERYTHING!