Focus on the good

Originally Appeared in : 9920-9/26/19

I was at Isabel’s swim practice recently, sitting up on the top row of the bleachers watching all the swimmers get their laps done.


I was sitting there, and I noticed this one young boy. He was swimming his laps, moving a little slower than the others and suddenly my heart just swelled with love for this kid (yes, don’t get weirded out). I don’t know him, but in that moment, the kid was me.


There he was moving so slow, slowly working on improving his breaststroke kick, making sure his form was closer to what it needed to be. Meanwhile all the other swimmers had already touched the wall and there they were, enjoying the break while they waited on their teammate. They had a chance to catch their breath and he had a chance to move at his own pace and do his thing.


I watched this kid as I sat up high in the bleachers, and while looking down on him I had this moment of experiencing God’s crazy profound love for me, for us. We are just trying to move forward and get things right and some days that feels like we have so much more to work on than those around us.


It’s okay.


It’s gonna be great.


I told my sister recently that as I pray and think and hope and (hopefully) don’t worry about all the things going on in my super busy life, I hear God. And he says, “It’s gonna be great. It’s gonna be awesome.”


Now maybe he says that because my spiritual director told me that’s what God told Saint Julian of Norwich. The official transcript is “all manner of all things shall be well,” but Bev told me God also said, “It’s gonna be okay.”


And I hear, “it’s gonna be awesome.” But I know it’s God because that’s not usually my go-to emotion when fretting/thinking about the future. I can’t make up those words, I really hear God telling me this.


I heard an amazing talk recently from everyone’s favorite Brené Brown, a TED speaker who said that we rob ourselves of joy when we take a present moment and think about all the ways things could go wrong. We watch our children back out of the driveway headed somewhere fun, and we think about how dangerous it is for them to be out on the roads and at risk.


We rob ourselves of joy.


This is tricky because I feel like as a mom this is basically my job description. Especially as I deal with teenage boys who seem very committed to coming up with outrageous outings (fast food at 11 p.m., why?). Yes I want to celebrate the wonder of this season, but Paul and I also have to think through which of the many ideas they have that are good ideas and which are folly.


We are in the habit of thinking through what could go wrong.


But back to trust and hope and hearing God tell me it’s gonna be great; it’s gonna be awesome. And I’m not going to add here all the ways this could be proven not true. Let’s get out of the habit of that way of thinking.


Let’s jump in the stream, the lane, into life. And let’s get moving. Put one foot in front of the other. Make one nice stroke in the water. Make one decision to choose hope and joy over fear. And do it again. And again. And slowly, ever so slowly, keep doing this all the way down the stream, the lane, our lives.


My goodness how God loves us. He delights in our efforts, even when we get agitated with ourselves for feeling those same feelings (sadness, frustration, insecurity, fear). It’s okay. He can handle it.


Focusing on the good isn’t a cop-out. It’s a great reset. It’s healthy and good to acknowledge our emotions and get to the root of how we feel. And then we make a choice to enjoy the beauty of the moment, and get into the habit of seeking it out as we make our way.


Rachel Balducci is a wife and mother of six. She and her husband Paul are members of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Augusta, GA. Her latest book, Make My Life Simple, is available on Amazon.

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