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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where's Your Focus?

"Stop focusing on what you don't have. Start looking at what you do have."

Get your focus on God, and His blessings.

It's been awhile since I wrote my post about personal declarations. At that point in my life, I was declaring that I would take things "one step at a time, and one day at a time." We had just had our second car break down, and I was spending all my time driving around. I'm still declaring that, and God is coming through for me like He always does.

Lately, I've been feeling kind of down. I think that it's really common for me this time of year. I spend so much time getting ready for things to come, that I often forget to live right in the moment. Gabriel has a birthday that's coming up in a couple of weeks, and a lot of my free time has been spent getting ready for it. But I love to do the work because I know it will be spectacular in the end!

I took my son shopping this past weekend, and we made a whole afternoon of it. We had lunch together at Subway, shopped at Good Will and the mall, and several other specialty shops. We looked all over the city for "Super Mario" things. The trip started out to be a huge success, and then quickly went downhill. 

We went to store after store, and found nothing. There was either nothing there, or it was WAYYY too expensive. I tried to talk Gabe into maybe getting something besides Mario, but he wouldn't listen. He started to get more and more sullen, and developed a very bad attitude. I had to take him aside and tell him these words, "Stop focusing on what you're not getting, and try to remember what you've already gotten!"

I have uttered these words so many times to each of my children, getting frustrated at them for being so ungrateful. A couple weeks ago my daughter and I took a Saturday afternoon and spent it shopping. She wanted to make a duct tape purse for a friend of hers, so we went to the store together to pick out a few colors of duct tape. We also picked up a couple new things for her bedroom that we recently had redone. 

As our time was drawing to a close, she asked me again if we could go out for a special treat together. That means a pretzel from Target, or a coffee from Classic Bean. I tried to explain that we had already spent all the money we were going to on the things we just bought.

I hate to tell my children that we have no money for something. That's never the case. God has blessed us greatly! I try to help my children learn that there are just some things that we haven't made a priority to spend our money on. It's not that we don't have money to eat out today; we just chose to buy "material items" to take home with us. So as I told her again that we already spent all the money we were going to that day, she started to get upset and cry because she wanted to have that treat with me. I used my favorite phrase on her, "Stop thinking about what you're not getting, and remember what we just got and the time we just spent together!"

So as I was getting ready for church this Sunday morning I found myself getting more and more frustrated and losing my patience. All these things kept running through my mind.

I'm tired of going to church early; I wish we had another car!

I'm tired of wearing my glasses, and I wish I had contacts again!

I'm tired of doing the dishes, and cleaning the house when it just gets messy again!

I'm tired of pursing friendship with people who don't really even care about me!

and Blah, Blah, Blah .. the list goes on. I was spending the morning having a big pity party. It was rather pathetic.

This week our Pastor Gordon had a different kind of message. He spent the service interviewing a friend of mine. It was totally unexpected and exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes it just helps knowing that you are not the only one who feels down, or who struggles in life. There were a couple of times that I felt so convicted and then comforted just to hear what was being said. It was a phenomenal service.

As it drew to a close, and the altar time started, I began to pray while standing at my seat. I don't even know what words I prayed; I was just talking to God. I saw my sister go forward for prayer with my mother, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks falling. I am that selfish little kid whining and crying about what I don't have when my life is overflowing with awesome miracles that God has provided for me.

As I stood there and cried, thinking about how selfish I had become, God sent me a friend. She didn't say much, but she put her arm around me, and I felt the arm of God saying, "It's okay. I know." It was such a powerful moment; I don't really have any words to even describe it. God is always bigger than any obstacle or feeling that you have. He will whisper the truth in a loving way, with His arm wrapped around your shoulder- just coming to stand by you for comfort.

I was upset about something that happened with one friend, feeling unwanted, when I am surrounded by women who love me and are there for me. I have an awesome group of friends that I can get together with and be myself. I can laugh with them, and even cry with them. We can watch silly movies, and we can watch serious ones. We can study books, make crafts, or just have our children play together. God has blessed me so much in the area of friendship.

I was inconvenienced a little on a Sunday morning by having to leave an hour early for church, when everyday of the week my husband gets a ride from a friend in to work. We've never been without a car, and I don't have to even drive my husband anymore, yet I was throwing a fit about one day of the week. God has provided in ways that He didn't even need to, but He wanted to. In less than a month, we should have enough money to buy a new car. God is AWESOME!

I whine and cry about having to wear my glasses every day, but the truth is, we have the money to get me some contacts. I've just been too lazy to schedule the appointment to get it done. God has blessed our family financially above what is necessary. We've never been without the desires of our hearts. He always provides; not just our needs, but our wants.

I am so blessed by God. I wish that I would never forget that, but it happens. And then He always gently but persistently reminds me. God is WOW, and I love Him with all my heart.

"I will stop focusing on what I don't have, and I WILL focus on what I do have!"

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