I was on a mountain trail last week, on a bike, near a ravine, trying to pretend for my kids that I wasn’t scared. Eric and I had taken the kids out to ride some trails on Boggs Mountain. Eric is a seasoned cyclist; the kids and I are not. The first half of the ride was littered with crying and walking some bikes and falling (not down the ravine) and frustrated words. The second half of the trip, however, was lovely. We rode hard and fast and laughed and encouraged. But the second half of the trip didn’t have a ravine. And riding the second half was when I had my aha moment about the first half…anytime I was looking at the ravine I’d steer closer to it. Super dumb, I know. It wasn’t on purpose for sure. But Every. Single. Time. when I’d focus on that stupid ravine I’d ride wobbly and closer to it.
And that reminded me of a time when I was a firefighter. I was riding up front as my Captain drove one night. I turned on the spotlight and was pointing it on the side of the mountain as we drove down a windy road. My Captain asked me to turn it off immediately. He said he kept wanting to drive the engine in the direction I had the light pointed, even when he knew it would have a bad outcome.
What do these stories have in common? Focus. Each time I focused on the ravine, I turned towards it. Each time my Captain focused on the spotlight he wanted to drive in that direction.
I started thinking about what I’ve been focusing on lately. And since I’m a list-maker I found these things to be my focus.
* Mornings are terrible
* The summer is long and difficult
* Everything will be better in the fall
* Life is hard for me
* Exercising sucks
* Reading my Bible and praying won’t do much good
* Eric probably can’t stand being around me
This list is a bunch of bull. (My mother would have freaked out that I wrote “bull.”) It is total bull. These are lies I tell myself. Focusing on them drills them in to me even more and I live as though they are true.
Earlier this year my sweet friend, Gabbie Sloan posted a photo on Instagram of a list she had made for herself. It was a list entitled “10 Things I Know To Be True.” She then listed out 11 things (yeah, I know) that she knows are true. I thought long and hard about what I know to be true and I too made a list. I’ve since transferred that list to a map that I can hang on my wall as well as a 3×5 card that is placed above my bathroom sink. I read the entire list at least twice a day. Because when life gets messier and my head is filled with the lies again I need to have that list already in my head, or at least easily accessible. It’s a reminder that there are just some things that will never change, even if my head tries to tell me differently. And that will help keep my focus on what’s true. I will work to believe these things. I will work to focus on truth.
What do you need to focus on, and how are you going to remind yourself? Please share!