Words from my heart
In my first Tumblr post on August 18th, I referred to my two-word phrase collection. Why did it start?
It started because of my overwhelmedness (I vote to make that a word). See, there’s this nagging rope that pulls me across the line from underwhelmed to overwhelmed without a hint. That rope—so sneaky, so subtle at times—tugs me face first into Molasses Swamp. Just when I think my colorful little journey has led to Candy Castle, I get stuck. The only way out, according to Candy Land’s official rule, is to draw a red card.
SHIFT FOCUS is my red card—a bright, shiny red card of hope!
These two words came alive after reading Dennis Fisher’s Our Daily Bread devotional on March 13, 2009:
At times, life’s pain can become so overwhelming that we are tempted to despair. The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth that his persecution in Asia was so intense he “despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8). Yet by shifting his focus to his life-sustaining God, he became resilient instead of overwhelmed, and learned “that we should not trust in ourselves but in God.” (v.9).
By God’s grace, I wasn’t feeling persecuted, or despairing of life. No, I had simply gotten caught in saying yes too often, feeling stretched beyond my capabilities, and contending with day-to-day business. Fisher’s words also glared into my soul like a laser, exposing how focused on ME-ME-ME I had become.
I’m convinced that SHIFT FOCUS jumped from the page because I needed to get my eyes off me, and back onto my life-sustaining God. As I shifted my gaze toward him, he pulled me out of that sticky swamp of overwhelmedness and back into his loving arms—a place sweeter than Candy Castle.
And what about being resilient? The definition from dictionary.com helped me better understand the word. Being resilient doesn’t mean that I won’t encounter tough stuff or become overwhelmed. It means when tough stuff comes, I can rebound, spring back, and recover readily AFTER being bent or stretched. Learning to say no helps, too.
My SHIFT FOCUS card stays close at hand. It’s only a short phrase—a nugget, as my mom calls it—but it’s packed with power. In a world inundated with information, responsibilities, and activities, two-word phrases add vibrant colors to my journey—colors of faith, hope and love.
And the greatest of these is love (I Cor. 13:13)