It seems a little off to say that focus is something I have to search for. When I’m honed in on a goal it can be intense for everyone around me. As I’ve gotten older I find that choosing a goal to focus on is becoming harder and harder. There seem to be more options and more people impacted by the choices I make. Perhaps the real issue is that I have more experiences than I did a decade ago and am seeing the results of choices past. At times the sting of regret bubbles to the top and seems to overwhelm my desire to make progress.
I believe as we grow stronger in faith, there are very deliberate attacks meant to undermine any sense of self-worth. I think the painful memories of choices past can be all-consuming at times. We tend to focus on the havoc we have unleashed in our “younger days.” Part of growing is making choices and learning to accept their consequences. Many of us struggle with regret. We feel bad about the pain that we have caused, unresolved issues, or the feeling of taking things for granted.
Sadness floods our mind when we remember the time we didn’t sit a few minutes longer and talk with a loved one, or when we refused to calm ourselves before speaking our mind, or when we ignored that small voice that kept telling us to slow down. Guilt is one of he strongest weapons in evil’s arsenal. So many times we refuse to forgive ourselves. We tend to hold ourself to a high standard and truly believe that we always have to try harder. Never able to be perfect, but still trying. Unfortunately, doing so wastes precious resources-the time we spend being angry with ourselves can never be recovered.
The lessons of past mistakes are often hidden behind the pain of our failures. We say “I am not good enough to make it right” and then our self-worth drops a notch or two. Pushing past it rarely works, because we refuse to let go of the last layer of guilt and hurt. Soon we’re trying to carry a skyscraper on our backs and we don’t understand why life is so heavy and we cannot find fulfillment. If we bury ourselves it makes it really hard to stand up and look around at the blessing of life.
When I feel weighed down with choices and life changing decisions I can’t find my focus. I worry so much about focusing on the wrong thing, that I focus on nothing! How counterproductive is that to God’s plan for me? Guilt, anger,regret, and fear are huge stumbling blocks in our lives because the only way past them is to deny their power and choose to move forward. We try so hard to search for God while still holding on to those self abusing emotions. They do not support God’s mission for us and are really distracting! When we listen to God and accept that those seemingly powerful emotions are just razzle dazzle from satan we negate their power over us. That heavy burden is lifted and we can get back to listening to God.
My great-grandmother took so much joy out of the Randy Travis song “Diggin’ up Bones.” I can still see her tapping her toes on the wooden floor and slapping her long fingers on a sundress covered thigh. I knew she enjoyed the music, but now I wonder if her years of wisdom made the lyrics a little sweeter. There is amazing relief in knowing what’s done is done. If you screwed up admit it, ask for forgiveness, and move on. You may have to deal with whatever consequences you set in motion, but get over it and live the best you can with the life you have.
So today I am challenging all of us to stop trying to push thru it all. Put down the emotional bagage and move forward. Even if you are only able to crawl, just start going forward again. Refuse to be paralyzed by the fear that good enough is too hard. That is all God has ever asked of us. He created one perfect person so that the rest of us did not have to anguish over the fact that we are not capable of perfection. We have to stop treading water while wearing the chains of self-doubt and guilt. Acknowledge that they are weapons against the Kingdom of God, cut them loose, and let Christ’s love float you to the top again. I promise there is sunshine and a warm breeze blowing at the surface, I’ll meet you there!
In the name of transparency, I have to add a postscript. My sister reccommended that this post be titled “Irony Discovered:Finding Focus” after I shared with her that I was editing this draft today. The irony is that the original draft was written for another blog almost two years ago and never posted. 800 heartfealt words written and edited, just waiting on a final spell check for almost two years….Ironically, I see the humor and think it’s pretty cool that I am publishing it today. I have no feelings of regret that I “wasted” such a solid piece of writing, or that I “irresponsibly” left it hanging on another site. Finding it has been a wonderful remindar that no matter how much time we put into creating a platform, designing our life, or laying out goals, things will happen when God says they need to. Seeds planted months, weeks, or years ago may still bear fruit, just in time to add and exclamation point to the message we need to hear.
Copyright 2014 AngelaJHerrington