Friday, February 6, 2015

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Hitting the Right Notes

I played the keyboard in church last Sunday. I always get a little nervous when I do that. I have to practice quite a bit before I feel really comfortable with all of the songs.

We were gone all day Saturday (Happy 90th Birthday to Gary's mom!) and came home through lots of snow and bad roads. We made it and I ran through the songs one more time on Saturday evening.

I was glad for the small crowd on Sunday morning because of the weather. I figured it might go better with fewer people to hear me play. Things went quite well until after the offering. I played a hymn during that time and then launched into the introduction to the Doxology. That's the cue in our church for everyone to stand up and get ready to sing. 

Suddenly - disaster! I was playing but something was terribly wrong. It didn't sound anything at all like what I was supposed to be playing. I'm sure the congregation wondered if we were going to sing a different song that morning. Well, after too many measures I finally realized that the previous song had about five flats and the Doxology has one sharp. I had continued playing most of the flats and that just didn't work. When I got to the song I finally had my mind wrapped around "one sharp" and everyone seemed to catch up to the Doxology after the first couple of notes.

It was really no big deal, but it was noticeable. I laughed and asked a couple of people if they liked my intro to the Doxology during fellowship time and they laughed along with me and one of them said she had seen me make a face so they knew that I had figured out that something was wrong. 

That little goof up had me thinking all week long. Now, I tend to think way too much about lots of things and that can be bad for me, but I think this time it was productive thinking. 

I thought about how I went through that time of deep depression some months ago and how negative I was thinking. It was like I was going through life with lots of flats, focusing on the negative and getting anxious about life's pressures and demands. 

I got the help I needed and started to feel hope again, but this time of transition doesn't always "sound" the best. I'm trying to look forward with hope and live a joyful life, but there are days when life is a chaotic, ugly sounding mess because I'm still "playing the flats" when I should be focused on the "sharps."

What we have to remember as we push through and overcome depression is that how we think will make a big difference in getting better. Focusing on the "flats" (I can't do this. Life is too hard. I'll never be happy again.) just keeps us stuck in depression and despair. Choosing to focus on the "sharps" (This is hard, but God will help me do it. Life is hard, but it's worth it. I feel sad sometimes, but I will feel joy again.) will help us feel hope and fulfillment. 

My intro was a mess. (You don't believe me? You can go take a listen at  - the whole service is worth listening to, but you can also just skip to 46:54 and have a good laugh) The thing is, once I figured out that I was playing flats instead of sharps I changed how I was playing. I didn't play the whole Doxology with flats just because that's how I started out. No, I changed to the right notes and it sounded so much better. I'm going to try to keep that in mind in life, too. I don't have to keep repeating negative thoughts just because I've done it for so long. I'm going to try thinking the right way so that my life is beautiful and is full of joy and hope.

"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)

Do you spend more time thinking about negative things or positive things? Can you see how focusing on things that are excellent and praiseworthy could help you live a happier, more hopeful life?

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