It’s to be determined if the “February fog” is a real thing. Google doesn’t spit back any results but I’m still going to run with it.
February can be a tough month. January is full of empowering goals and resolutions. It’s a month of looking back and finding closure. It’s a month of moving forward. It’s usually in February, right after the chaos of Valentine’s Day, that the momentum wears off. This is what I like to call the “February fog.”
The vision dims. Monotony shows up. You find yourself sinking into a hole. Your motivation isn’t as strong as it was on January 1. You’ve hit the point in your journey where you are wondering where to step next. The goals you set are either fizzling out or you’re losing your own sense of momentum. Now is the perfect time to step back and make your prayer clear, “God, give me fresh vision. Help me to see your vision over my own. Shift. My. Focus.”
My “fog” came early this year. In fact, I didn’t really have a triumphant start to the New Year like everyone around me. A day after Christmas, I was hit with the flu. I found myself in bed for five days and I honestly couldn’t bring myself to look at social media. I felt so incompetent. I felt like I would never catch up. I felt like everyone else was marching into the New Year and I had no vision, no real goals.
I tried to cast vision but it came back empty. I sat in prayer. I journaled and tried to understand where God was leading me. I wanted vision and I knew it was God’s heart to give me vision. But why wasn’t it showing up?
On January 1, I found myself serving on a prayer team at a conference here in Atlanta. I rolled into that training session feeling deflated. It was my first time out of bed since Christmas. To be honest, I doubted God would even speak.
As I began to pray, I heard these words, “I’m not asking you to come up with a vision for your year. I’m asking you adopt mine.”
I am a big advocate for testing and sitting with all things you hear God speak over you but I can tell you this: I definitely wasn’t thinking these things all on my own. Nowhere in my grand plan to cast vision for my year had I stopped to think about what God wanted to do. As I was floundering to keep up with everyone on Instagram I barely stopped to say, “God, how do you want me to see this year?”
God’s vision for my year looks a lot different than my own. In my perfect vision, I am at the gym daily and always, always choosing over french fries. I’m organized and my schedule is perfectly tamed. I am a good wife and I never pick fights. In my vision for the year I am this perfect balance between rest and hustle. I so easily find myself focusing on what I will show to the outside world when I set goals and resolutions. God has more internal work in mind.
So whether you feel that fog or not, maybe it’s time to shift focus a little bit. Here are four focus shifts we can dedicate ourselves to in the year ahead:
1. Focus on what God is doing: So often I keep my eyes on what I am doing. How many projects “I” tackle. How many sales “I” make. This year, I want to focus on what God is doing. What grace is he extending? What good things is he delivering? When I change my focus I find myself feeling lighter and happier. I begin to grasp the truth: I’m not in control. My world perspective also shifts and becomes a lot wider. I start to pay more attention to what he is doing in the lives of my friends and family. I rejoice more knowing God is so big and he’s not invested in only my affairs.
2. Focus on the output: Here is an exercise for when you are feeling stuck and defeated: take out two pieces of paper and draw a circle on each one. Designate one circle as “the thing you can control” and designate the other as “the things you can’t control.” Fill in each circle accordingly. You’ll begin to notice you control a lot less than you thought. All the things I am normally fretting over are usually things I could not control anyway. Now shift your focus to what you do control. You control the work you do and the heart you put into it. You control your productivity. You control what you watch throughout a day or how often you pick up the phone to scroll. Focus in on doing your best work and being completely present. Let God carry the rest.
3. Focus less on what you’re not doing: It’s so easy to focus on shortcomings when we set resolutions. My mind instantly gravitates towards what I am not doing right, what I am not eating, and how many times I didn’t make it to the gym or wake up early. Choose to celebrate your little victories over your failures. Vow to try again tomorrow. Be kind to yourself in the process of becoming different.
4. Focus on encouraging others: God’s vision always involves other people. He didn’t design us to go solo but we do so often get swept up in our own world, our own problems and our own goals. Challenge yourself to step out and encourage someone else. Whether it’s a simple daily text or a weekly email to someone whose work you admire, encouragement goes a long way. Encouraging others also helps us step outside of ourselves and remember the truth: this isn’t a story all about me. We are all in this together. We are all going to be okay.
Hannah founded the global organization "More Love Letters" and co-founded "If You Find This Email".