Friday, October 3, 2014

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Judging

This has been kind of a rough week. Last Friday and Saturday I felt pretty good. I was home from the hospital and everything looked different to me. Colors seemed brighter and it seemed like I looked at everything like I was seeing it for the first time. I was grateful to be alive and I felt so hopeful. Sunday morning I felt a little worse, but I decided to go to church and it felt so good to worship with our church family and feel their love and support. It seems like each day since then I have felt a little bit more down somehow. I think the medicine still needs some time to work, but it's also because of the negative thought patterns I've developed.

I thought I was doing so much better in recent years. God has been teaching me to think better thoughts, to trust Him more, and to live in more freedom than I did in my younger days. He's taught me using different Bible studies and life experiences over the years. I guess this situation with teaching, stress, and depression is just bringing me through an intensive time of learning. I'm realizing that I have more work to do on how I think about myself and about life. This week has been harder because I've been thinking about how I let people down: the students, the school system, and even myself. I can think myself into a bad place again when I focus on what I should have done differently or what other people may think about what happened.

I have to let all of that go. For some reason, teaching was not meant to be. I can't worry about other people's opinions. I just need to do my best with where I'm at right now and keep following God where He leads. I talked with a psychiatrist this week to make sure I'm on the right medication and start figuring out what led to this depression. Before I left, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "You will get better." She didn't sound the least bit doubtful and, somehow, I believe her. I'm not better yet, but I know I'll get there.

I want to leave you with an entry from a wonderful devotional that Gary brought me right after I went to the hospital. A friend from church also gave me a copy along with some encouraging verses she wrote out for me. This entry really encouraged me and reminded me that we can't judge each other. We just need to live our lives trusting God and trying to please Him.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (2004, Thomas Nelson)
September 25:    
     Pour all of your energy into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps are another matter altogether: leaping across chasms in semidarkness, scaling cliffs of uncertainty, trudging through the valley of the shadow of death. These feats require sheer concentration, as well as utter commitment to Me.
     Each of My children is a unique blend of temperament, giftedness, and life experiences. Something that is a baby step for you may be a giant step for another person, and vice versa. Only I know the difficulty or ease of each segment of your journey. Beware of trying to impress others by acting as if your giant steps are only baby ones. Do not judge others who hesitate in trembling fear before an act that would be easy for you. If each of My children would seek to please Me above all else, fear of others' judgments would vanish, as would attempts to impress others. Focus your attention on the path just ahead of you and on the One who never leaves your side.

Isn't that a beautiful reminder? I need to remember those thoughts as I move forward. I'm not sure if I'll be taking baby steps for a while, or if God is asking me to take some giant steps during this time, but I know I can trust Him as I focus on Him and obey. I pray that each of you can trust and obey Him as you continue on your life-journey. Remember, "every step...can be a step of faith."

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." (Proverbs 29:25)

Are you tempted to judge others as you look at their "trembling fear" when facing something that seems like a baby step to you? Do you feel pride when you've taken a giant step? How can focusing just on God and the path ahead of you help you to stop judging others and even yourself?

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