Focus! Easier said than done.
“Focus, Samantha.” This is something I have heard more than once in my life, whether it was in a classroom, on the basketball court, on the softball field and even multiple times as an adult. Focusing is an important skill to master. It allows you the ability to go beyond looking to really seeing the things around you. It is taking time to be intentional in the space where you are and being content with just being. To me, focusing is being able to quiet the noise of the world around me to really see the realness around me and to hear the still small voice of my Heavenly Father.
There was a time after my husband passed away that it felt impossible to focus. It felt like there was this ongoing background noise that was never able to be quieted and yet at the same time the silence was overwhelming and distracting. It felt like I was moving in slow motion while life around me seemed to be speeding up and out of control. So, how do you focus when you are distracted by grief and the challenges of this life?
Proverbs 4:25-27 gives us a hint when it says, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
In this passage and many others throughout the Bible it asks us to focus, to look, to set our mind on and to think on. These action words are easy to say yet often more difficult to do daily, especially when walking through grief. Again, focusing was difficult especially when I was walking through my day to day moments trying to get my job done and caring for my daughter but one thing remained constant…peace. God was so gracious. As my focus remained on Him, His peace flooded my heart and my mind with every question I asked of Him. As my focus remained fixed on Him, He calmed my anxious thoughts and allowed me to quiet my mind long enough to throw together a few hours of deep refreshing sleep.
I came to a point where I needed to step back and focus on my healing. I focused on reading my Bible and spending time in prayer and study. I was able to do like what is written about in the passage above and let my eyes look forward, stay the path and keep my mind set on the promises of God. Another thing I did was I took time to write and not just the fluff, but I wrote all the feelings, the thoughts and other things down. The things I wrote were hard to write but getting them out in this safe place allowed me to regain some focus. Writing them down helped me see that my feelings of grief and loss were valid. Writing these things down helped me to “ponder the path of my feet” and to keep my path focused on what my Heavenly Father was calling me to do and what parts of my journey He was asking me to share with others.
Because I have continued to keep my heart and mind focused on my Heavenly Father, I have been able to lean into my life as a widow. I have learned how to focus even in the noise of grief. I have had to continue to learn how to block out the noise of life and place my focus on my Heavenly father.
I have had the honor of meeting some of the most amazing women who are also walking through the loss of their spouse. These ladies have also learned how to focus and are making an impact in their local church and community. One thing I have learned is how to continue to walk through my daily life understanding that the balance of grief and joy is a daily dance. One that I will walk through for the rest of my life. God continues to show me my path just as He promised. I am constantly reminded of the importance of my setting my focus on Him as well as the importance of continuing to walk forward everyday when I read the following passage:
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
My friend, in what areas of your life do you need to focus? What areas is your Heavenly Father asking you to give to Him and allow Him to heal? What areas do you need to release control over? I want to encourage you today to trust your Heavenly Father and know that He is able to do more than you can ever ask, think or imagine! Keep your focus on all the good things that He has in store for you in 2024.
Samantha Stewart values her unique sense of humor and vulnerability in her role. She finds value in helping widows and other women connect with others in their communities through laughter and deep love for God. Her desire is to remind everyone that they have a purpose and that they can create a ripple effect of encouragement and support throughout our communities.