Finally, brothers and sisters, 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
Have you ever heard the following slogan: “Everyday may not be good but there is good in every day?”
I have had many days in my life where I struggled to see the good. My reality (or what I thought was reality) was at times full of chaos and heartache. Many times I didn’t even know how I was going to make it through the day. The situations that I found myself in overtook me and I was bathing in a sea of problems. The problems would consume me and the negative mindset would enter and take residence. I have to tell you, once you allow a negative mindset to take residence inside you – it is hard to actually evict it.
Living In The Problem
Have you or are you currently living in your problem(s)?
Living in your problem means that it is your sole focus. It is constantly in your thoughts and it drives your decisions. When I live in my problems I tend to react to others instead of responding to them. When I react I don’t take any time to process my thoughts and feelings and I just open my mouth and out it comes. Without a filter the words that usually come out leads to more problems and a vicious cycle begins.
Clenched or Unclenched Fist
Living in your problems means that you are unable to move forward in your life. It is hard for God to heal you if you are focused on the pain and holding on to it. I want you to imagine that I am sitting across from you and I have a pen in my hand. You are needing my pen to sign some important documents. When you ask me for my pen your hands are clenched in a fist and you can not unclench them. No matter how hard I try, I can not give you the pen for you to use with your fists clenched. The pen will either drop to the floor immediately or if I do manage to get in into your hands your clenched fists won’t allow you to grasp the pen to write with it.
I often think of this analogy when it comes to asking God to help me with my problems. I pray and sometimes plead with Him to help me but it seems as though my prayers are falling on deaf ears. The truth is they are being heard – its not a “God issue” but a “me issue”. When my focus is solely on the problem and I hold on to it tightly I am blocking God from helping me live in the solutions that He has for me.
I want to challenge you to look for the solutions. When you pray to God for help, release your clenched hands. Allow yourself to grasp what He is wanting to give you. If you find yourself always talking to others about your problems, stop and change your focus. Try and find the blessing in the chaos and in the pain. Look for that silver lining that I believe is in every cloud. Ask God to show you what it is that you need to learn from the situation that you are in.
God has challenged me to stop my negative thinking and to start being solution focused. We can not grow and change if we don’t start with what is happening in our thoughts. We can’t get to the solutions if we are saturating ourselves with our problems.
What Does It Look Like?
Living a life where we are solution focused is not going to always be easy. We need to remember that we are works in progress and that it is ok to not be perfect. Everyone of us has character defects and often they are blaring and have spotlights on them (at least mine are and do). Not only do we have character defects that we are aware of and can beat ourselves up for, it seems there are always people who love to point them out to us.
We are not perfect and we all have flaws. Being solution focused means that we become willing to work on them. We need to get to a place where we are willing to surrender — unclench our fists and allow God to take them (our problems) so that He can give us something better. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that we have it all together or that we have to hide behind a banner of “everything is great in my life”. It does mean that we put our trust in God to help us get it together.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” ~ Psalm 37:23-24 NIV
Being aware of what we are thinking about allows us to be solution focused. It prompts us to not dwell on the “what if’s” or the “I should of’s”. When we are solution focused we are realigning our thoughts with Gods Word. Instead of focusing on the problems, chaos and heartache that hinders our ability to move forward, we need to focus on what God tells us to focus on:
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Anything that is excellent or praiseworthy is what we need to start paying attention to.
My desire is to be solution focused. How about you?
Remember: We may often miss the mark in this, however we can even find the blessing in that —- if we look for it.
Father God, I have been so focused on my problems (you can name them). I haven’t taken much time to seek You and find the solutions. Lord, forgive me for making an idol out of my problems and the chaos and heartache that they often cause me. Help me to change my perspective and show me things through Your eyes. When I am getting overwhelmed and my feelings are out of control please remind me that I need to stop and spend time with You. Help me to unclench my fists and maintain an open hand so that You can give me what I am standing in need of. Make me aware of my thoughts. Help me to cast down the negative and focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
Light up my path so that I can follow Your will and Your ways. Thank You for the grace that You give me when I find myself stumbling on the path. My desire to is to follow You and one of the things that I need help with is to be solution focused. Lord, thank You that You are as close as the mere mention of Your name. Thank You for Your never ending love. In Jesus’ Name ~ ~ Amen
Are you more problem focused or solution focused? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear from you and pray for you too!
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