One thing I’m most looking forward to in this next season of the Brilliant Community is inviting friends to share some of their brilliant perspectives with us. Today, I’ve asked one of my closest friends to do just that.
Christa Black Gifford is a wonderful writer, singer/songwriter and speaker who is delivering some really important messages over at christablack.com. You may have caught her on the Women of Faith’s Revolve Tour or maybe you heard her version of “One Thing Remains” that she wrote for Passion. But now I’d like for you to hear her heart on how to focus on what really matters in life.
Yesterday morning as I was sandwiched in between an 18-wheeler and a concrete wall while curving 60 mph through construction in Dallas, Texas, my heart rate was anything but normal.
You have to understand, I’m not a naturally fearful person, but there’s just something unsettling about high speeds in between large objects—especially objects that when crashed into, could possibly kill you. And though my 2-year-old son is obsessed with crashing his toy cars with monster trucks, this is a scenario that I’d like to remain in the toy realm. The 18-wheeler was hugging the line to my right, and I kept staring at the concrete wall on my left, just a foot and a half from my hitting my door mirror—with cars in front of me, and behind.
The more I looked at the wall, the more I began to panic, and questions started bombing my head.
What if the 18-wheeler keeps hugging the line? Will I crash into the wall?
What if I hit my mirror against the wall—will it cause the car to wreck?
Can I handle these curves in between these guys?
Good grief, am I going to die today?
Okay, so maybe the last one was a bit dramatic, but I would be lying if I didn’t see a scene play out in my head that definitely didn’t end pretty. After about 20 seconds of panic that felt like 10 minutes, I clearly heard a voice of counsel whisper to my heart:
Christa, stop looking at the wall. And look at the road. Stop focusing on what you’re trying NOT to hit (the concrete), and instead, focus on what you ARE trying to hit (the pavement).
As if a light switch had been turned off to power down my anxiety, the second I took my eyes off of the wall and focused on the road, all fear went away. The moment I stopped focusing on the negative, the negative emotions subsided. The minute I aimed my attention at what I COULD do was the moment I started doing it—without any doubt.
Today, as you begin to focus on the problems in your life—your financial situation, relational problems, body issues, the cutting, bingeing, gossip, marriage problems, physical illnesses—a list far too long to type up, take a deep breath, and try a different approach.
1. MOVE YOUR EYES AWAY FROM THE PROBLEM
Whatever you focus on will consume your vision. And once something has your permission to fill the screen of your eyes, it will overwhelm your emotions, and overtake you—just like that concrete wall at 60 mph. If you want to move past a certain problem, staring at the problem isn’t going to fix it. It will only magnify it. Today, make a conscious effort to take your eyes, thoughts, and focus OFF of your problem…..
2. LOOK UP
“I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.”
The solution for all of your problems has a name, and His name is Jesus. And the amazing thing about this Jesus is that John tells us He’s the LIVING WORD. That means, the promises that He’s made you in scripture aren’t just words—those words just happen to be the most powerful person in the universe who the whole earth was created by him, through him, and for him. HE LOVES TO CREATE LIFE! When you stop looking at your problems, and instead, put your eyes on the solution, this living word will consume your eyes with hope, joy, abundance, peace, and possibility.
3. NOW LISTEN
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” -Romans 10:17
Over and over in Scripture, it says that the people believed once they had seen Jesus. Sometimes in our western world, we encourage people to ‘have faith’ and ‘keep the faith’ as if it’s something to muster up ourselves. But faith comes from hearing—and hearing through the word of Christ. Remember, Christ is a person who sent the Holy Spirit—the Counselor (John 16), and this Counselor sure does love to whisper to our hearts.
When problems consume you today, take a moment, consciously take your eyes, thoughts, and heart off of the problem….
Look up to the One who IS the solution….
And listen to what this Living Word, this Counselor, and what your Father has to say to your heart. Once you hear from Him, I promise—
You can’t help but believe.
Read more of Christa’s brilliant perspective @ ChristaBlack.com