The Gift of a Shift

Many people start a new year with resolutions, goals, hopes and dreams. January is a perfect time to dig deep and uncover something new and fresh. I, personally, have never been big on resolutions – I honestly just feel like setting them is setting me up for failure. But for those of you that do have them, you go girls!!

As we roll through February, one month after the big “change your life month”, how are you feeling? Hopefully, successful and still motivated, but if you’re not, I’m here to tell you it’s okay. Sometimes life forces you to shift your perspective from where you thought it should be to something completely different. I call this “the gift of a shift.”

This past year, I found myself unhappy – I blamed it on my house. I couldn’t find a peaceful spot, everything felt chaotic inside and I seriously just wanted to move. A fresh start sounded so refreshing! A clean out, a new space, a place to sit and breathe. I scoured the internet looking at “dream homes.”

Fast forward to November/December, and my husband and I got serious about adding an addition to our house – a screened-in porch. Instead of moving, let’s see what we can do here – a real episode of Love it or List it for my HGTV lovers. This new space gave us a place to breathe, sit and re-connect with each other.

Now, I don’t tell you this story, so you go out and add a porch to change your life. We were blessed to be able to make this project a reality and I don’t take it lightly that not everyone can do this. But as I sat outside on a deck where I used to feel no peace, my gaze shifted slightly to the right where I saw trees and birds – a spot I hadn’t stared toward before but had been there all along. My backyard was the same, the house behind me is still there; but a slight change in the direction I was looking gave me a renewed sense of peace, happiness and clarity.

I recognized the change or shift as a gift. Sometimes you are given an opportunity to change your perspective and oftentimes, you don’t even recognize it as an opportunity. Have you ever heard the phrase “you steer where you stare?” I had been staring in the wrong direction.

My January started out like many of yours headed down a sure path. While I’m not a big resolution person, I am a big dreamer. I was self-focused with many projects in my brain and how 2020 was my year! But then I got a call from my daughter’s school. I needed to come in for a meeting. I was aware that her grades weren’t all A’s, but I didn’t know there was a large problem.

Well, I walked into this meeting a bit naive; and was surprised to find myself sitting across from 6 administrators and teachers. You would have thought my child set the school on fire – “she’s level 3 for support and her reading levels are dropping” – What? How did I miss this? I walked out of the meeting feeling like I’d gotten slapped in the face with a reality check.  

Realizing I had to change my focus, I went to town on creating a homework calendar, ordering new manipulatives, researching tutors – the works! I was already working with my older daughter on her dreamy 12-year-old acting career; but now I needed to turn my attention to school and my younger daughter. This left very little time for my 2020 dreams.

Stealing a phrase from my preacher, Andy Stanley, I had reached a “no for now, not forever” moment. My attention and focus were needed by my children, whom I only have 6 ½- 8 ½ more years of in-home living. “I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down.” – Nehemiah 6:3. For those of you that are familiar with this Bible verse, I had found my wall – for now. And it wasn’t the wall I started off dreaming of in January, it was a gift, a reminder of where my priorities lie today in 2020.

So, I had a perspective shift – in multiple ways. I call it a gift because it was unintentionally “given” to me. My direction of focus changed right back to where God wanted it to be; and while it isn’t glamorous or trendy or dreamy, it is right where I’m supposed to be right now.

Sometimes our perspectives are forced to shift and sometimes we notice they need to shift – but either way, please recognize it’s “no for now, not forever” and it is truly a gift when they shift.