Everyone has problems. Along the road of life you will run into obstacles that hinder your journey if you don’t learn how to move past them.
Too much focusing on your financial crises, irritations, relationship issues, or personal failures will only cause irritation and depression. Soon your world shrinks and all you can see is the negative in your life or in someone else.
One of my areas of oversight in our church concerns Biblical Counseling. Traditionally we seek to help people fix what is wrong with their life by identifying their problem, finding the root from which the problem grew, engaging in some inner healing with the Spirit Holy, and providing each individual with tools to think and act scripturally–all important practices, but basically problem centered.
Focusing on the problem is helpful, but it takes a lot of energy and emotional investment. I see a balance to this traditional method in what is called Positive Psychology.
This avenue of counseling asks the question: What happens if you use your energy to identify and grow what is right about you and your life instead of focusing on the negative? This approach is perfectly biblical.
Think about it. What do we instinctively do when we’re driving down the road and see an obstacle? Most of us note the obstacle, be it an old box or road kill, and we slow down. But we don’t focus on the obstacle like a target, or it would consume our vision and we would hit it dead center. Instead, as soon as we’ve noted the obstacle, our eyes move beyond it and our reflexes dictate a course around it.
Runners follow the same principle in order to run a good race. They know not to focus on obstacles in their path. Such distractions cause them to lose their rhythm and eventually the race.
Our personal problems are the same as any other obstacle blocking our forward motion. When a problem consumes our focus, it also becomes an unintentional target. In order to move safely around the problem we must note it and focus beyond the problem to the good part of the road—where we are going, what we are becoming, and the good things that God has placed in us and in our lives.
Please note that we are not ignoring or denying the problem—we are choosing to focus most of our attention beyond the problem. Simply put, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
What would your life be like if you used your energy to identify and grow what is right about you? What would happen if you looked for the good in a person instead of focusing on their irritations? How would your relationships be different? How much more of the Holy would you find in your daily if you changed your focus?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis