Keeping Your Focus During Dark Days
In a very short period of time, just about everything has changed! The Corona Virus has turned the world upside down! And maintaining focus has been easier said than done!
Initially, the impact was minimal for me. Working from home and working remotely are my norm. I actually like being at home! However, as time has gone on, I’ve discovered that I don’t care much for being forced to stay at home. The at home are adding up; my days have felt much darker. And it’s been harder to focus.
Maybe the abundance of rain or not being able to connect face-to-face with the people I love are contributing to some of my frustration.
And sadly, bad news has a way of overshadowing all the positives ways people are trying to bring good cheer in the midst of the pandemic.
The impact of Covid-19 is undeniable. Some are wondering what’s next in a precarious world – will their work even be there when the new normal emerges? Other are scrambling to adapt to the new reality, creating extra work, in less than ideal working environments. It can all be quite discouraging!
It’s easy to maintain a respectable level of positivity for a while. However, as the uncertainty lingers on week after week it gets harder. Let’s face it, the unknown is disconcerting in good times. The unknown in unprecedented times – that packs a punch!
To be honest, in the last few days I’ve struggled. I’ve had some major projects in the works that are important to me in the midst of all the craziness. Discouragement has set in looming over me like a heavy dark cloud. If it wasn’t for God’s frequent reminders to keep my eyes on Him, I would be tempted to give up.
“Character is what you are in the dark” according to Dwight L. Moody.
Previously, I had interpreted this quote to mean that my true colors were revealed when nobody was able to see what I was doing. I still believe that is an interpretation of this quote, however, in these dark days a whole new meaning for this quote has come to light. Now more than ever, I have the opportunity to see exactly what I am made of, and just how much I need God.
Darkness symbolizes the frustration, isolation, confusion, dead ends, emptiness, and the unknown that we all face. Honestly, darkness is simply realizing you are not in control.
Yet, when life is wonderful and you have the freedom to meet face-to-face and pursue your dreams, there are still bleak days! In fact, whenever you pursue something significant, something that really matters to you, there are high highs and low lows. So, what you and I learn in the midst of the pandemic will serve us so very well in the future! That’s good news!
What’s the best antidote to dark days? Here are a few things that have helped me break out of the darkness and focus on what’s more positive and uplifting:
Pause in the madness and meditate on the fact that God has not changed. He loves you beyond measure and He is still in control. The pandemic hasn’t surprised Him or thrown His plans off. He wants the best for me and you. Sometimes that best includes growing, stretching, and being reminded that there are areas of my life that need some work. His ultimate desire is that my life and work would glorify Him. Most of all He wants my attention! And He delights in resolving “dark days” in unexpected ways.
No matter what your schedule looks like in this season, make connecting with God a priority. It doesn’t have to look the same every day. Now is a great time to choose brand new ways to engage with Him. Maybe surround yourself with worship music, memorize a scripture, or turn scripture into personal prayers – any kind of activity that encourages you to connect and focus on Him.
2. Practice Self-Care
The combination of a few extra projects on my plate right now and the inability to do so many normal life activities has made life much more complicated; and depleting! As the demands and pace of life have picked up, it’s wearing me out.
If I want to have something to offer to those around me or to be able to bring the creativity I need to my work, it’s important for me to take care of myself, continue to exercise like I normally do, and eat well. And it helps if I take breaks, switch gears, and engage in the activities that are life giving to me that I CAN do right now.
Practicing self-care is not about trying to circumvent God and His care, but rather a demonstration of faith. Fear can keep us in perpetual motion. Investing time in life-giving activities demonstrates that I know God is at work on my behalf so I don’t need to strive.
3. Maintain Your Routine
I am an emotional gal! My feelings are big and if I am not careful, they can drive my choices and keep me in a dark place. Having a routine and sticking to it helps me stay on track even when I don’t feel like it. That’s why my morning and evening routines are so necessary. They ensure that I keep vital activities a priority.
If you don’t have a routine, now is an ideal time to put one into practice.
4. Adjust Your Expectations
My expectations are often grand. I am motivated by goals and they keep me heading in a positive direction. And there are all sorts of activities or challenges that excite me which can create some interesting predicaments. When I can’t accomplish all I want to it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated which translates into some dark days! It’s ridiculous how facing reality and adjusting my expectations relieves the pressure I’m feeling and enables me to think more clearly and tap into my creativity.
Everything in life has changed, but have your expectations?
5. Practice Gratitude
Even in the worst of times, I have so much to be grateful for. A negative focus keeps me spiraling down, but, when my focus is on all I am thankful for, it naturally lifts my spirits. Having an attitude of gratitude is so powerful that I make it a part of my morning routine all the time. In crazy times, I need that forced focus that much more!
6. Take Responsibility
I like to be in control! Remembering that I can’t control people or circumstances is essential in dark seasons. I can’t blame others – it just is. I must buck up and chose how I will respond. How I respond demonstrates my character and maturity level. As uncertainty mounts, this is much easier said than done! It takes being intentional.
We’ve all experienced dark times in our lives where we’ve faced tough circumstances. Right now, we are all in it together; just about everyone around you can relate to what you are going through due to the pandemic. That’s a plus! And, it’s an opportunity for all of us to learn and grow! To depend on Him in greater ways! And to get creative in how we deal with the numerous changes. It just takes focus; focusing on the positives like I’ve described for you here!
What have you discovered in the midst of darkness?