Where to Put Your Focus When the World Seems to Be Falling Apart
Sometimes things just need to be spelled out for us before we can really benefit from a message. Last Sunday, our pastor had a great message: what we focus on, we magnify, and what we magnify, we focus on. It becomes a never-ending cycle. If we focus on negativity, we make it bigger than it really is and we get more of it because we get more of what we focus on.
That makes sense. But it wasn't until Harold mentioned that I tend to give more attention to something in particular that I realized I was being selective in my ideas.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about human behavior. What makes white people racist toward black people when we've watched Danny Glover since he starred in Lethal Weapon back in the 1980s? Or Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the 1990s? There are so many black actors that the list would be a long one. Are actors viewed differently?
I've also pondered the reasoning behind murders. My second cousin, who had just started college, was murdered two years ago. The police have not identified a suspect, but they are still actively investigating the case.
What is really behind a criminal's mind? Or behind addictions or negative thoughts toward ourselves and others? The only answer I can come up with is evil.
I've had a lot of time to think about these things. I've also pondered human behavior for my work as a writer.
But the problem with doing this much pondering is that I'm drawing attention to it. It also keeps me dwelling on it. When we hear about all of the bad things that are happening in the world, it's hard to not dwell on them. It seems like that is all we ever hear these days.
When it's easy to give up and check out, somehow we have to break the cycle. Somehow we have to stop giving focus to the things that will keep us from living a purposeful life. That doesn't mean the bad things that happen are less important, but we have to start seeing the good rather than continuing to focus on the bad.
The good news is, it's easier than we think. Here are some things we can do to start breaking the cycle.
Start the day with bible reading and prayer. If we get more of what we focus on, then it's a good idea to start each day reading God's word. Bible reading and prayer has helped me to have a thankful and humble heart throughout the day. If you don't believe me, that's ok, but I challenge you to do this for two weeks and see what happens.
Stop giving our attention to the news media. I haven't watched the news since broadcast television went digital, but I see the headlines every time I get on Facebook and Twitter and they are rarely positive. More often than not, I see criminal reports, scandalous headlines, and gossip. But what if we viewed the news media as requests for prayer instead of reasons to check out? Something to think about.
Stop complaining. Even if you think you're just voicing your opinion about a particular situation, it still sounds like a complaint to other people. And since we get more of what we focus on, we'll get more data to voice more complaints.
Focus on our blessings. When things are getting a little rough, focusing on our blessings helps to change our perspective. Instead of focusing on everything that is going wrong, focus on the good things in your life. What's going right? What are you thankful for? What lessons are you thankful you had to learn so you could gain the experience and become the person you are today?