When I woke up this morning, the first thoughts that hit me were a jumble of negativity. Too many bills. Not enough income. The kitchen faucet is leaking. How do I turn off the water? The knobs are stuck. Should I replace just the faucet or the whole sink? How many articles/blogs/chapters/words/minutes on the website do I HAVE to do today? Will I ever get married? (Yeah, I’ll throw that one in. Just keepin’ it real.)
My next thought was a reminder that has become the basis of the habit I have been working hardest to form: the enemy does not want us to worship him, he just wants to distract us from worshipping God. That includes via our thoughts.
That bugger got me for a few minutes this morning. But I remembered my reminder. I took a deep breath, thanked God that I woke up, surrendered my day to Him, and told the enemy to screw himself. Well, not in so many words.
After eventually making it to the computer, with those thoughts threatening again, I sat to perform the morning check emails ritual, before beginning the morning typing ritual, and the email of the day’s quote really hit me. It was by Willie Nelson: “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
Talk about a tap on the shoulder.
Tap, tap: What are you doing?
Getting through the day.
No you’re not, you’re letting the enemy distract you. You’re focusing on the negative stuff. That’s the wrong stuff. Change it.
I started thinking about when people are learning how to drive (and every day thereafter), as they are cruising down the street, do they look behind them? To the sides? Do they close their eyes? No. They look ahead. Focus on where they want to go, and that’s the direction the vehicle goes. In fact, I focused so well that in high school, when I looked at potholes in order to avoid them, I hit every one of them. Every. Single. One. My Drivers Ed teacher told me I was the only student he’d ever had that could hit every pothole there was.
At least I knew I could aim.
When I learned how to shoot, they didn’t tell me to look at the pretty clouds and pull the trigger. NO. They told me to look where I wanted to shoot and aim there. Focus on the target. Aim for center mass. To be honest, that center mass thing doesn’t always happen, but that’s operator error. The, um, sight alignment is off. Yeah, that’s it.
Another thing that popped into my head even louder than the reminders to focus on the positive and remember who is really in charge, was “Pivot! Pivot!” Who remembers this Friends episode? To this day, I crack up when I think of this scene, but it humorously embodies the idea of today’s blog:
Sometimes we have a plan, maybe even a sketch, and yet things don’t work out as we wanted. Sometimes things really don’t work out the way we wanted. Whether that’s the enemy trying to mess us up, or it’s God’s way of saying go in a different direction, we need to change our focus, to “pivot”.
Sometimes, even when we pivot, it still doesn’t work out and we get frustrated or depressed or angry or sad, or all of those things. When that happens to me, I remember another quote I really like that I actually have been contemplating painting on my wall. I couldn’t find credit for it so there are two versions, but it’s the same message:
“When you want to give up [feel like quitting], remember why you started.”
What are you trying to accomplish? What are you aiming for? What is your target goal? How might you pivot? Why are you doing whatever you are doing? And focus on the positives: you’re alive to try it again, family, friends, loved ones, tiny blessings like a close parking spot opening up, a friendly smile in the grocery store, a free piece of cheesecake because the restaurant lost your order (true story).
I can’t promise it won’t happen again tomorrow morning, or prevent the enemy from trying again—after all, his sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy—but I’ve read the end of the Book. We win. If my thoughts get bombarded by nasty stuff again tomorrow—or even later today—I’ll do the same thing I always do and adjust. I’ll just do a little “Pivot!”