My #OneWord2017, ‘focus’ is more than a reminder to never lose sight of my dreams. It’s about trying not to focus so much on factors outside my control because subsequently, everything goes out of focus.
This happened about six years ago. I was diagnosed with a rare genetic eye disease, known as Stargardt’s Disease, that affected my vision. Stargardt’s Disease is a juvenile form of macular degeneration and it currently has no cure. I was constantly told that nothing was wrong; that doctors said everything looked normal. However, I knew that something wasn’t right. It was an internal yearning that I couldn’t explain. My vision was progressively getting worse and many people chalked it up to stress.
“She’s nervous to read the eye chart,” they’d say, as if the giant ‘E’ I was having trouble seeing was a result of anxiety.
“We know you can see the E. You see fine at home,” my parents insisted, but I wasn’t so certain.
I can recall the first time they put a name to the struggle I had been experiencing for years prior. It didn’t change anything. Focusing on what I saw right in front of me was and still is a daily struggle, but I have redefined my outlook. Stargardt’s Disease affects the central vision only; the peripheral vision is unharmed. Similarly, I no longer focus on how things appear to be, but instead I choose to fix my eyes on God. He sees my potential and my future clearly. I don’t need to see to believe. Even in the difficult times when I can’t seem to see where my next step might be, whether it be down the road or right beside me, I must walk by faith.
Needless to say, sometimes we lose focus of what is directly in front of us. Our goals seem either too far away or too difficult to achieve. But it isn’t just about priorities and discipline. It’s about remembering who we are, not only who we want to become. If we understand how capable, determined and persistent we can be regardless of the struggles we face, we can shift our focus away from one of fear and uncertainty and never lose sight of our dreams.
Focusing too much on what we see blinds us of our potential.
It becomes a hindrance; it creates an invisible boundary. If we fix our eyes on something that’s greater, something that may be at just the right distance away where it’s just blurry enough that we can’t make out the details, that’s where we grow. We must remember that not everything has to be defined, organized and structured. There can be a fuzziness to what we see and that’s okay because to me, discovering the unforeseen is what 2017 will be all about.
This post is part of our #OneWordSA series for January. Student affairs professionals are goal-oriented, change positive, individuals. One word mantras for 2017 are a great way to create focus in the new year. Find out what all kinds of pros are choosing as their #onewordSA this year. For more info, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series too!