Lesson 1: Faith+Focus

There are eight dimensions of wellness.

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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Wellness Initiative, wellness means overall well-being. Each individual dimension of wellness plays it’s own important role, but the dimensions are far more valuable and meaningful when approached as an interrelated process. Many of us have seen these dimensions illustrated as a wheel or a circle which better shows their relation to one another and how when approached as one, the eight dimensions are more of a cycle.

Keeping the image of the eight dimensions of wellness at the forefront, we are able to look at our lives in this same way. Our lives are one big interrelated web of people, things, places, thoughts, questions, etc. and it would be pretty safe to say that in order for one to be able to see their life as being “well” or balanced, they must look at the entire picture. Our lives are not meant to be lived in one dimension at a time. We cannot focus entirely on our emotional wellness while ignoring all of the other seven dimensions. Doing this puts us out of balance. We have to see the bigger picture. We have to look at the grand scheme of things.

As easy and optimistic as that sounds, we all know how hard it can be to multitask. Trying to get your degree while working two jobs, or working full-time while trying to pursue a side hustle, or raising babies on your own while trying to have a social life all can be pretty overwhelming. At times, it seems pretty near impossible. We fall into the mindset of “one at a time”. We tell ourselves that we will focus on point A and once that is complete and taken care of then, and only then, can we move on to point B. That sounds like a pretty legit and responsible game plan am I right? What we don’t understand is that by focusing on one step at a time or not moving until everything is right in one area of our lives, leads us to the “put it on the self” mentality. All the time that we spend focused on that one dimension, we put the other seven dimensions on the shelf. You know, we’ll get to those later. We even validate this mentality by using the famous cliche` “God will never put more on you then you can bear”. 

I wholeheartedly agree and believe in that statement. I believe that it applies to both good and bad situations. Blessings can become burdens when we are not prepared for them, but that is here nor there in the matter we are discussing. In the current context, that statement is used as an excuse. An excuse to focus on 1% of our lives as we blatantly ignore the other 99.9%. An excuse that we honestly don’t know that we are making. See, to us, this makes sense. We are taught from the beginning to take things slow and do them in order. Once again, I agree with that statement as well. I believe that God is a God of order, but I also believe that God is a multitasker. We might not be capable of juggling the different parts of our lives, but rest assure that God has it! See, when we focus in on that one situation or that one “thing” we are trying to better about ourselves we only see that ONE thing. We are only worried about that ONE thing. We are only affected by that ONE thing. We base our lives, actions, and reactions, off of that ONE thing. All the while forgetting about the fact that, that one thing is interrelated to the rest of all the other “things” in our lives.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should take on all the twenty-seven things that you want to change all at one time. That just wouldn’t be wise advice. What I am saying is that you should give God the space to do it for you. Instead of consuming your life with that one small thing, focus on the big picture. Work on things simultaneously. Do what you can and leave the rest in God’s hands.

Let me give you another example.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God basically gave them the world. Everything he created for them was good and the were free to indulge in. The ONLY thing that God told them not to touch is the tree in the middle of the Garden. As we all know, Adam and Eve clearly didn’t listen to those instructions.Why though? Why would they focus in on that one little thing when they had the WORLD at their fingertips?

That is the same question I have for you. Why are you focusing on that one little thing, that one situation, that one grade, that one mistake, that one breakup, that one failure, that one accident, that one slip up, that one closed door, that one disappointment, that one uncertainty, that ONE thing, when God has the whole world for you? I’m not sure what your one thing is, but I can assure you that worrying and focusing on it is not preparing you for the journey ahead. It is not helping you through the process. All the time and energy that you put into focusing on that one thing, you could be spreading across three things. Instead of worrying about when your going to get that job, why not use that time to apply to other opportunities? Use thaat time to brush up on any skills you currently have or do some research on skills you may possibly need. Spend the extra time you have on your hands now with God instead of scrolling through social media and getting down on yourself because your friend just got another promotion at work. Instead of being so caught up in your finances and trying to “BlessUp” which really just means “KeepUp”, why not go volunteer your time to help someone else? Why not create a blog or a podcast to reach out to those who could be in a similar situation? Why not use that time to discover who you are in this part of the process and gain wisdom from your struggle. Remember, there is always wisdom in the middle of the struggle.


Soul Search:

This week’s prompt: We tend to focus in on one part of our lives so heavily that we forget about the other parts and the important roles that they play in helping us grow through our process. What is one thing that has a grip on your focus this week? Why do you believe you are so focused on that thing? What would it take for you to redirect your focus to see the bigger picture?

This week’s SoulQuest: This week, I challenge you to try something new. Something that is out of your comfort zone and not related to the one thing that you wrote about in the prompt for this week. For my flourishers who want to go that extra mile, I challenge you to try this new something with a friend or two! Take pictures and post them to Instagram with the hashtags #TheSoulSeries and #SimplyIvoryB! Feel free to tag me in your adventures this week as well (@simplyivoryb on Instagram and Twitter) 🙂

As always, remember to flourish & eat pineapple!

xoxo, ivoryb.

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