Sometimes we have to abruptly shift our focus.
Chronic depression can be my focus for longer than necessary. After all, some days it feels like my shadow. What’s been your shadow?
Whatever it is, sometimes without realising it, I’ve found myself suddenly devoting myself to it. Giving things to it. Giving INTO it.
Awareness is one thing. Pouring every ounce of your focus into it is another. And can lead to more depression. The same can be said for whatever it is YOU carry with you. Illness, disability, grief, anxiety, low self-esteem, you name it.
If that’s the case, some giving needs to happen.
And, I’d argue, giving of two different varieties.
Ever been going through your day, feeling like nothing is right, and suddenly a situation arises that affects someone close to you? And suddenly you forget your own issues for a while because you immediately heard their call for help and jumped into the fray without a second thought… and your moods and your worries disappeared in the wake of placing your focus wholly on helping that person overcome their own obstacles?
You pushed your own needs away, took your sight off them for a moment, and gave of yourself. And when you’re done? Look around. Where did those same needs and worries go?
Find a way to do this regularly. Find a way to give of yourself. Putting someone’s needs ahead of your own means there’s less room for the lowness to find room to gain a foothold in your life. Not to mention, you change someone’s life for the better, someone receives a helping hand, someone’s day is changed. It’s time we start looking after each other.
Work a soup kitchen, mentor teens, help a community garden, volunteer at a shelter. You’ll never regret it. Find someone who needs a friend, needs encouraging.
Your focus shifts when giving takes place. It can’t be helped. And you might start out doing it for yourself, but that shifts too over time. And like breathing, you just keep giving.
That second kind of giving. It might be harder to do than the first. It not only requires us to take our eyes off ourselves, but it requires us to relinquish all control, to surrender those difficult things, like so much heavy luggage we drag along with us through the day, keeping us burdened and exhausted.
You need to give it over to Someone better equipped to carry it for you. And that’s harder to do. We’ve dedicated parts of ourselves to it, haven’t we? We’ve made it our companion, it travels with us, it rests on us, we show it off, we are the expert on it.
And now we’re being told to just give it away?
Do we realise we could give it to Someone who would handle it for us, gently and graciously and miraculously? That He might be waiting for you to give it up in trust that He has something better, a complete repair for you, new situations that will change you inside and out. We give the heavy load, that luggage, over to Him and feel a lift. The weight rolls off. You breath better.
You give your focus to the One who gives you breath. You turn your eyes to the One who saves, who redeems our days, who gives back.
Gives new life. New breath. New strength. New peace. New direction. New refreshing.
And those things that threaten to bring us down? We give them to Him and can immediately declare:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Take the weight of what rests on you, and trade it for the power of the One who knew a weight only He could carry… into a tomb and back out again, with the weight of eternity shifted completely in our favor, waiting for surrender, and taking into the heart the Son who makes all things new within.
That tree on a hill? His pain on that tree? The prize set before Him?
Oh yes. He GAVE.
And now so can you. Yes. Give!
Watch as your focus shifts. You’ll never regret it.
image by c.duncan