Learning to Reflect and Refocus

By in Inspiration, Self-Improvement

How many of you like to reflect on past experiences? It’s so helpful to spend some time thinking quietly and considering the past. Oftentimes, reflection leads us to refocus.

As we reflect, we see the benefit of enjoying each moment more clearly and determine not to let them slip through our fingers. Real life experiences are our greatest teacher and taking time to reflect and learn from them will make us wiser if we pay attention.

As we reflect,
we smile. We cry.
We learn and discern.
We look back
and see where we’ve failed,
or the ways we’ve succeeded.
We see the things we’ve done that have benefited others,
and how our discipline or lack thereof has impacted us.

I just recently celebrated my 70th birthday so I took some time to reflect on the past year. It was jam-packed with experiences that I will treasure for my lifetime.

I’ll share a few reflections which brought me great joy.

My oldest granddaughter, Trinity, graduated from High School in Arizona. As she began her search for a college, she talked about the possibility of moving to Texas for school.

At the mere mention of it, my heart skipped a beat!

I have learned the emotional disaster that comes from putting expectations on others so instead, I began living with the expectancy of her potential move. I respected her decision-making process, despite really wishing for her to attend the university near our home – Mary Hardin Baylor (UMHB).

I passed the college many times and would secretly say to God, “I would love for Trinity to choose UMHB.”

I listened as she processed until one day I got the call. Trinity’s voice was filled with excitement as she said, “NeeNee, I’ve made a decision about college and UMHB has accepted me! I have other choices but I’ve decided I’m coming to Texas and I’m going to UMHB!”

I cannot describe the joy, happiness, and excitement of the moment. I knew this was a miracle!

Another amazing story from last year happened in August. I received an email from a girl in Africa I met about eight years ago on a trip with Convoy of Hope. This little girl caught my attention while we were visiting her school and I knew I had to meet her but when we went to find her after our tour, she was nowhere to be found.

Before leaving, our leader took me to a dorm where only 12 out of hundreds of students lived. We didn’t know if she even lived there. Again, she was nowhere to be found. As we walked out the door, however, she walked in!

I introduced myself and learned her name was also Ann. We said goodbye but I knew I would never forget her. I also knew this was a connection for a greater purpose.

After about five years, we lost touch. Quite often Jonas and I would mention her name and wish we could connect somehow. We prayed for her wellbeing and expressed our desire to connect again.

In August I received an email from a girl named Ann in Africa. I responded cautiously because I really wasn’t sure it was her and I didn’t want to be too excited. Long story short…it was her! I was ecstatic!

In one of our conversations, she told me she was having a birthday and I found out her birthday was January 28th. I was stunned! Our sweet Angie was also born on January 28th. It brought me to tears.

I wanted to connect with Ann again but I wasn’t sure how it would work out. Randomly, I met a young lady who was going to Africa and so I started talking about Ann. This woman was going to Nairobi, where Ann lived. She said she would try to connect with her. Nairobi is a huge city and anywhere you plan to go can be quite difficult to get to.

The beautiful end to this story is the two of them met, talked for hours, took some pictures and sent them to me.

I was overjoyed to have a connection with Ann again. I have no idea where this will go but I know God has divinely connected us for a greater good. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve also had the chance to refocus in the past year.

In 2018, we revived my dream to reach women with the message about the new view of confession and completed the brand new small group experience, STORIESX8, as well as the manuscript for my next book, The Secret Lies Within. (The book will be coming out in September!) You can check out STORIESX8 here.

When I look back I clearly see what I thought was impossible was only a limitation in my own mind. I’ve always known with God, determination and a commitment to hard work you can do more than you think is possible!!

Reflecting throws out a net to capture and bring to memory your dreams and goals, then gives you the means to Refocus. It opens your mind to possibilities that otherwise might completely die.

Would you join me in reflecting and refocusing?

What about your own life stands out to you that you want to remember? Jot down a few thoughts about last year. I highly encourage you to begin the discipline of journaling. Start simple with a pad of paper and begin writing down events that are significant to you.

Write down your wildest dreams and desires. Write down the things you think are impossible. Together, let’s watch where hard work, determination, and God can take you.

This article first appeared in Anne’s Weekly newsletter! To subscribe, click here. Each week, Anne sends a short inspirational email straight to your inbox. As a subscriber, you’ll also have first access to new events, books, and more! Click to subscribe.


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