“Stay focused!!!” Ever yell that at yourself? I certainly have! My brain can scatter in 50 different directions. In the time it takes to blink, I can chastise myself for not doing the laundry, applaud my efforts in helping my daughter get organized, agonize over that thank you card I’ve yet to get out, and remind myself of several tasks I still have to tackle at work. In a world of constant motion and change, perhaps one of my greatest challenges is learning to simply be still.
The irony is when I’m distracted, I get very little accomplished. I start and stop tasks like a mouse in a cheese shop that doesn’t know where to start. I’ll throw bursts of energy in all sorts of directions, but all I’m left with is partially completed tasks and more guilt over what didn’t get done.
When my distractions were big, like how was I going to put food on the table, or how could I get past the dread and fear that kept reaching for my soul, staying focused was even harder. I’ve found when I’m hurting, or when the people I love hurt, my mind can run wild and I can start to feel emotionally paralyzed, too overwhelmed to even start.
In those moments, I’ve learned the importance of taking the 5-10 minutes I’m convinced I don’t have, and make space for God. I almost always start by taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling, reminding myself that God is in control—and I’m not. I apologize for running ahead of Him, and I thank Him I don’t have to do this life alone. No matter how challenging the circumstances, He is right there with me. If I need to cry in that moment with God, I let it out. If I need to spend time in gratitude for all He has done for me, I’ll do it, reminding myself in the process that God has always been faithful. I can offer up to Him my stress, my fear, my lack of focus—whatever it is, I let it go into His capable hands.
It always amazes me how quickly God shows up when I make time to be still before Him. My shoulders relax. I feel comforted, redirected or more focused, depending on what I need in the moment. Tasks get prioritized; reminders of the light at the end of my tunnel come to the forefront. So don’t be afraid to take a quick time out with God. It can be in your cubical, on the couch, in the shower, or even in the bathroom at a restaurant or your work. Taking that moment to get centered with your Creator will give you the space you need to step back and let Him take control of your path again.
For Further Thought: The Bible tells us, “Be still, be calm and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10) and “In quietness and trust is your strength,” (Isaiah 30:15). This week, make a decision to stop yourself whenever you start mentally running ahead, and check in with God. I would love to have you post how it went when you do!