When you have a problem, which do you focus on – The PROBLEM, or the SOLUTION? If you continually focus on the problem, you will keep drawing more of that problem. If you focus on the solution, you can determine the outcome. Don’t get stuck in all the reasons why you can’t do it. This is also about faith. Do you believe in God or not!? He can part the red sea, put Jonah in a fish’s belly, and raise the dead, but He can’t get you a promotion at your job!!! Come on now, what do you really BELIEVE!?
I have seen a definite pattern when it comes to overcoming problems. People who are able to overcome their problems tend to focus on the solution. If you focus on the problem, you stay stuck in that problem. Let me explain what focusing on the problem means, because I believe some people are unclear about what they are doing. Focusing on the problem includes talking about the “problem” excessively. The person may tell the same story to dozens of people, anybody who will listen. Say something in agreement to the problem and they light up. Try saying something about the solution and you will see their eyes glaze over, they are not interested in the solution, they are stuck in the problem, and that is the only thing they can hear or focus on.
A classic example is focusing on financial problems. If you keep saying how tired you are of being broke, the more you will keep being broke. “I’m broke,” “I’m sick and tired of being broke,” “I’m always broke.” So, you keep attracting being broke! Another classic example is about failed relationships. Some people tell the same break up story for 50 years. After awhile, I want to break up with them!
Another common problem that people focus on is in relation to their jobs. They talk about how much they hate their job and EVERYBODY at the job, yet they are still there. Is it easy to just up and get another job? No it isn’t, I am not in fantasy land; but it is also not impossible! The real issue here is that the person probably doesn’t WANT to get another job…..they are not going to do anything about it. They are stuck in the problem, and in some ways may actually enjoy it. It has become comfortable. Oh yes, a problem can be comfortable. You know why? Because it is familiar.
Some people have settled into victim mode. They actually like telling the story over and over. They like the sympathy. They like the attention. I have seen it where a person assumes the victim mode in their physical appearance. Their body actually starts to slump over, their face is downtrodden, they even walk depressed, they have become a “walking problem!”
Telling your story for the purpose of sharing with a friend, or to encourage someone, is something different. Pay attention to the tone of the story, and what is the “outcome.” If the outcome to the problem is still the same after twenty years, you my friend are stuck.
Now let’s talk about the solution! This is the important part. I do not have the solutions to your problems. Nobody else can tell you what to do about your life. But I can offer some tips and suggestions to help you identify the solutions to your own problems.
- Pray – I know this may seem simple and it would seem everybody already knows to do this. But trust me, everybody does not. We should go to the One who can actually solve our problems. When you pray, even watch your tone then. Are you only talking about the problem, or are you asking God for the answer?
- Read the Word of God – Again, this may seem like a simple suggestion that everybody does right? Wrong! I know for a fact that many people have been going to church their entire life, but never read the bible. They look at the scripture the Pastor talks about on Sunday and that is it. Find a good resource book that provides scriptures on different subjects, and read scriptures that address your problem. Also, try reading some of the very impactful books of the bible in totality so that you are getting the overall point, and not the isolated view of one verse, that is often times taken out of context. Some of the most impactful books for me are Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Hebrews, James which are all New Testament, and from the Old Testament Genesis, Deuteronomy, Job, Psalms, and Proverbs. *I have given this advice before and I’ll say it again, read the Word of God out loud over your problems. Putting it in the atmosphere of your life and your home is very powerful.
- Read motivational books – Find some books that address your problem. For those who are not readers, there are audio books.
- Counseling – There is still a negative stigma about counseling in the African American community. The belief is that you are weak if you need counseling, you should be strong enough to handle your own problems. This is not true. In my opinion, you are actually showing your strength by seeking help and “doing something” about your situation, instead of just sitting there doing nothing.
- Setting goals – This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. You have to ask yourself what you want, and then focus on that. This is where you identify the specific solutions. Figure it out, and then focus on that. For example, if the problem is your job and you want a new career, find out what education and experience is needed for the new job, promotion, or career you want and pursue those goals.
- Examine your mindset – This is the last suggestion and probably the most important. It really all comes down to mindset. You get to choose what you want to focus on. You may be stuck in a negative thinking pattern. The actual “problem” may not be the thing you think it is, it may be your mindset. If you are stuck in a negative thinking pattern, be honest with yourself and change it. You have to actually teach yourself to think differently. Did you know that the concept of reaping what you sow is not just about money or life situations? It is also about your thinking pattern. If you keep sowing negative thoughts, you will keep reaping negative thoughts. If you sow positive and productive thoughts, you will reap more. Whatever you put out, is what you get back. Teach yourself to think thoughts that will reap the results that you desire.
We all have problems. Every…single…one…of…us. Problems are a part of life. But we do not have to live in our problems. The choice is up to you. Choose today to focus on the SOLUTION, not the PROBLEM.
Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction, whoever sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10