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.
Moving past your problems
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 you are not ignoring or denying your problems—you are choosing to focus most of your attention beyond the problems. 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
This Post Has 13 Comments
Susan, what a great, great article!! Thank you so much for the reminder of what to be focused on today…such a great visual!
I truly appreciate this article! I’m going through so many challenges right now and I appreciate the practical advice. Sometimes I feel that my sins has ruined my relationship with God. I know it’s wrong, but I continue to repeat them and ask for forgiveness later. I’m trying to do better. However, when I pray I feel that God isn’t listening and therefore, not answering.
You’re on the right track, Tray. As a person focuses on Jesus and the good He is doing in their life the less appealing sin is. The key? Drawing close to Jesus. He’ll see the temptation obstacle and, because you’re right by His side, he’ll help you quickly move past it. I’ve got some stuff coming up this summer that can help you connect with Jesus on a deeper level that you might find helpful. I’ll be mailing information out next week, so if you’re on my mailing list, look for it.
Prayers going up for you,
My granddaughter is going with a married man and his wife left him for another married man and is pregnant.I talked to my granddaughter about her boyfriend and asked if he was going to get a divorce and she said yes as soon as he can save up the money well I prayed and asked God to let his will be done about this situation that my granddaughter is in and for awhile I didn’t bring it up to her any more but then my curiosity gets the better of me and I bring it up to her again and I get the same answer then I feel bad cause I feel as though I took it out of God’s hands by trying to talk to her about his divorce how can I stop taking it away from God? I have done this several times to the point of thinking God’s not going to deal with it cause I don’t leave it to him please help
What a wonderful grandmother you are to care and pray so much about your granddaughter’s choices! That is so good to hear.
As far as your question, I don’t think checking in with your granddaughter every once in a while is a bad thing, Btenda. Just don’t do it too often or you’ll be meddling both in her business and in God’s.
Whether you’ve left the problem in God’s hands is more about your doubts and fears than you questioning your granddaughter.
If you’re doubting God’s timetable about this or fearing that your granddaughter will continue in this relationship, then yes, you need to back off and remind yourself that you’ve given this to God, it’s none of your business anymore, and choose to think about something that is your business… something that only you have control over. Like what you want to pray for concerning your granddaughter’s life, such as a closer connection to the Lord, a future that blesses Him, and good Christian friends for her to hang out with.
I have a course opening his summer about drawing our grown children and grandchildren to the Lord that addresses your question more in depth. You can find information about it here: https://lounge.susangaddis.net/lounge/
May the Lord hold you close as you continue to love and pray for your granddaughter.
My brother has turned agains me and my mum. He had an affair for 3 years and has now gone protective of his family and turned on us. I am devastated and adore him and my nephews with all my heart. I keep reaching out and get cold angry messages back.
I am trying to hand it to god to deal with because it is so painful but I keep wanting to push and keep contact. I don’t want my nephews to stop loving me and I desperately want my brother back. Please help and please pray.
What a heartbreak, Lindy. Of course, I will be praying for you.
If you have built a good relationship with your nephews, they will continue to love you even if you don’t get to see them very often. For a while, you might want to step back and just send a card to your nephews once a month.
If your brother is working on restoring his marriage and family after an affair, he may be on an emotional rollercoaster and not have the energy to connect with you and your mom. So be supportive by praying for him and giving him space.
Don’t stop praying for your nephews and your brother and his wife! I know rejection is hard, but it doesn’t have to be final.
Right now you need to get yourself into a place of peace and let God do what He does best, bring reconciliation.
You might find the following blog posts helpful considering all you are going through:
How to Handle Rejection: https://susangaddis.net/2013/02/how-to-handle-rejection/
And of course, you always have God’s promises that are unchanging. Here is how to find the right one to pray for your situation:
How to find and use God’s promises for your life: https://susangaddis.net/2015/07/find-use-gods-promises/
Be the understanding sister and affirm him on anything positive you see him doing.
Continue to pray for him and the kids.
You’ll make it. I promise. Things will be different in time, and you’ll be able to look back and be so thankful you took the position of prayer and encouragement without conditions.
So very concerned about the situation in our beloved country. It seems as its taken ahold of me lately and have a hard time not thinking about it continually. I am praying and looking up scripture to help me focus more on the Lord and less on world problems.
You are not alone, Martha. Many are feeling the weight of negativity and violence going on in our country. It sounds like you are headed in the right direction with prayer and Scripture. Those are some of the best ways to get our mind and emotions off of things we can’t control and focus on things we can control.
I am a divorced mother of 3 kids -my first being 18and last being 13. It’s been a rough couple of years, as I lost both my marriage, job, and everything i have worked for in one fell swoop. I am also battling huge financial debts as a result of my poor choices and veering outside of God’s plan for me. I have since gone to God in repentance and my relationship with Him is that has been sustaining me. But in all of these, it seems God has abandoned me sometimes, as life has become very lonely, overwhelming, and stressful. I constantly have anxious thoughts, tired all the time, worry over how to take care of the kids and still survive the miriad of problems around me. My actions sometimes cause more problems than solutions and I am at the verge of depression. I try to pray and leave my anxious thoughts with the Lord, and invite His Spirit to calm me down but its difficult in the face of trying to survive, pay my rent, feedn the kids, pay school fees, manage my life, settle debts in the midst of failing business. I need God to centre me and balance me in His presence.
Just sent you an email before I saw your note above. Thanks for posting as it lets me know how overwhelmed and alone you are feeling. I’m so sorry you are going through this. It must feel like you are walking through a swamp at times.
Centering yourself in the Lord’s presence is a good place to start, though it does take some practice to learn how to remain there regardless of what is flying around you.
There is hope, and you aren’t alone. I’ll look forward to our Discovery Call in a few days.
Good morning Susan, this is the 2nd article I have read of yours this morning and am very blessed that God guided them to me. I so want to be a positive person. I am going to start writing down daily what is right about me and my life. And I will start looking for the good in others. I grew up in a household were my mother and older sister always talked about me. It was quite hurtful. After my mother’s death 13 years ago she started befriending me. I was talking to her one-day about my job and how some of the people treated me. One-day I told her a positive situation and she said I want to hear about the bad things. With the Lord’s guidance I will stop 🛑 putting myself down and I will not even care what others think or say about me. Thank you again for your articles they have strengthen me. God is good. Paula
Sounds like a perfect situation to practice to practice these things, Paula. I’ll be praying for you as you move past them. 🙂