By Amanda Easterday

We as humans have a way of focusing on ourselves. One such example could be the “selfie” fad. Sure, it’s fun to take a picture of yourself to show people where you are or what you’re doing, but are YOU where your focus is throughout your life? After that tenth selfie of the week, people start getting an idea that life is all about you. We need a shift in focus.

We as humans have a tendency to focus on the bad in our lives. We look at a situation and say, “This is really putting a damper in MY life.” Or, “MY life really stinks right now because of this.” Or “Why is this happening to ME?” See what’s happening here? Our focus is on ourselves, on our problems, on our lives, on our issues. We need a shift in focus.

DSC03598As a photographer, I have often found that a shift in focus is all you need to turn a picture from good to great. Changing your perspective from above the subject to eye- level can greatly change the feel of your picture. When taking a picture of a large group of people, you tend to zoom in on the group, as opposed to stepping far back, so you are able to see all of the smiling faces.

We need a shift in focus.

DSC03599Focusing on my daughter’s smiling face rather than on the enormous mess she has created. Focusing on the delicate petals of a flower rather than the dying leaves on the stem. Focusing on a single, glittery raindrop rather than the storm around you. We need a shift in focus.

I’ve had a recent experience in my life where I was stuck in a rut of feeling sorry for myself. I was frustrated with a situation, and I was focused on all the negative things that were happening in my life because of that situation. The negative focus on MY problems and myself was taking control of my life.

I couldn’t shake the negativity that was ruling my existence. I began taking my frustrations out on people around me. I began constantly feeling sorry for myself. I needed a shift in focus.

After a few separate nights of breaking down and crying out to God that I needed help, that prayer finally stuck in my heart. I finally understood that if I didn’t shift my focus to how others’ were feeling or how my negativity was affecting those around me, then life was going to be a big mess of sadness, anger, and frustration.

I needed a shift in focus.

That shift in focus came through prayer and God’s Word. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

All of these passages speak of a shift in focus. Taking off our old, self-centered self and putting on the attitude of Christ. Turning from the “selfie,” all-about-me ways of this world and focusing on others. Fixing our gaze, not on the trials around us, but the grace and love of God that surrounds us everyday.

These ways of living take time to settle in our hearts and minds. I’d like to tell you that the change happened overnight, but it didn’t. Yes, God helped me realize that I needed to change, but there were still relapses. There were still moments when I started to say, “Why is this happening to ME?” as opposed to saying, “God, help those around me who are affected by this situation.”

Turning from the “selfie,” all-about-me ways of this world and focusing on others.

Shifting focus from you to others takes time and practice. Shifting focus from your problems to God’s unending love takes perseverance and patience. However, once that shift in focus occurs, you have a beautiful picture of peace, joy, and knowing God’s love and mercies.

You have a chance to shift your focus as you join other women  for  A Chocolate Life Retreat on Oct. 10-11.