Soul Food

When You Can’t Stop Staring at Your Problems

Tabitha Eye

I have come to realize that I have this problem. Well actually, I have known about it for a while. My husband always points it out to me when we are waiting for a table at our favorite restaurant or walking through the mall. Or Target. Or the parking lot. Or sitting in the doctor’s office. Or even putting the groceries into the car. I always laugh him off and respond by saying “I can’t help it”.

But lately I have realized that my staring problem extends far beyond the couple arguing in the corner of the restaurant or the mother disciplining her child as she puts them in their car seat. It’s deeper than staring at the teenage girl yelling at her boyfriend or the child throwing a fit in the doctor’s office. You see, I like to stare at chairs. I know…it’s weird. But stick with me because I bet you do too.

Because while this problem I have with staring at “chairs” has always been a problem, I didn’t realize it until recently. Let me explain…

Several weeks ago while making breakfast and getting our foster child ready for school, she randomly started talking non-stop and super-fast about that “one time” I took her to the circus. And as I listened to her chatter away about how she only remembers the elephant ride and nothing else (including the popcorn and drinks that was the same price as a steak dinner), I vividly remembered the performance involving the strong 300 pound lion and scrawny 160 pound lion tamer. Talk about making me sweat! Yikes! I wonder how he gets an insurance policy…

Anyway, I will never forget sitting there on the edge of my seat, mesmerized and baffled as the lion tamer was able to command and maneuver this ferocious animal around the ring with just a whip and a small chair in his hand. I know that if I were him, I would need more than a whip and a chair. I would need a full armor body suit and a shark’s cage. Which led me to wonder why, besides holding a whip; the lion tamer would only arm himself with a chair and point its legs toward the roaring beast. Because come on…A chair? But after some research, I learned the whole idea of the chair is to simply distract.

lion tamer and chair oval

You see, in the death defying scene of the lion tamer holding the whip and a chair, the whip gets all of the attention, but it is mostly for show.  In reality, it’s the chair that does the important work because when a lion tamer holds a chair in front of the lions face, the lion tries to focus on all four legs of the chair at the same time.  And with its focus divided, and as the lion stares, it doesn’t know what to do.  So he becomes confused–stunned–frozen and basically unable to attack the man.

Isn’t that incredible?  I never knew that as powerful as the beast is, it can be immobilized and stripped of its power by simply staring at a chair.  How silly of that lion, right?

But friend, I have realized that I am just like that lion. I also have staring problem. Because there are days when I’m in life’s circus ring, just standing there. And staring. I’m staring at the “chairs” that seem to be pointed in my face.

It’s the “chair” of not being a good enough wife.

Or a good enough foster mom.

Or it’s the “chair” of infertility.

Or the “chair” of those who have hurt me.

Or the “chair” of my past failures.

And I find that when I stare at those “chairs”, I also become paralyzed. And distracted. And immobilized. And unable to see beyond my worries. Or overcome my fears.

Just a few months ago I found myself distracted when I saw a beautiful mother of three getting into her shiny new minivan (loved that van). And as she put her adorable children in their car seats, I caught myself comparing my life to hers. And I no longer felt blessed. No longer beautiful. No longer content.

And how could I forget all of those sleepless nights while staring at the “chairs” of tomorrow and feeling immobilized with anxiety. Or each month when I am holding yet another negative pregnancy test? Because to be honest, sometimes in that moment, all I do is stare at my “chair.” And I when I do, I become distracted and fearful. I forget that with God all things are possible, therefore no matter what my situation looks like in this moment, everything could suddenly and without notice change next month. I forget all of this because I’m too busy staring and focusing on the “chair.”

Have you ever been there?

Perhaps your “chairs” look different from mine.  Maybe your “chairs” are doctor’s reports or the negative experiences others have had in your similar situation?  You know…the stories from those who didn’t have their prayers answered? Or maybe it’s the “chair” of a bad relationship or financial struggles. Maybe it’s cancer or a chronic illness? Maybe it’s just the “chair” of a bad day?  No matter the “chair,” I can promise you they all have the same end result. They all distract. They all cause us to feel powerless. And hopeless. And worried. And discouraged. And fearful. And…(you fill in the blank)

But friend, in the last several weeks I have learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. Because while you are the lion, and the “chair” is your problem, have you thought about who is the one behind the chair? You know, the one holding it and causing you to be distracted? Can I give you a hint? Some people would say he has horns, wears a red cape and carries around a pitch fork. You know who I am talking about don’t you? But I also believe he dresses like a lion tamer and holds a chair. And His mission in life is to distract you. And immobilize you. And paralyze you. Why? So you don’t realize the kind of power you have inside of you that could instantly tear him apart.

So friend, as you step into the circus ring called life today, choose to not stare at your “chairs.”  Don’t spend your free time researching your problem out of fear and panic or waste time worrying about the “what if’s.”  Because I believe that as you stop staring, hope will rise; dreams will start to grow, feelings of defeat will vanish, and peace that only our Heavenly Father can give will overwhelm your soul.

And doesn’t that sound good?

But trust me, I know not staring is tough. It isn’t easy to just stop. Because let’s face it, sometimes we do it without even realizing it. Especially when a couple is fighting in a restaurant. And when it comes to our problems, worrying just seems to come natural.  Am I right?  But friend, can I suggest something to possibly help you? Can I suggest you choose to stare at Jesus instead of that “chair”? Because I believe that He is the One who can not only help you stop staring at it, but also give you the strength, courage and boldness of a lion to kick it out of your face. And who wouldn’t like that?

With Love

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74 thoughts on “When You Can’t Stop Staring at Your Problems”

  1. I’ve been staring at metaphorical chair legs all day, feeling paralysed – as weak as a kitten. Then I called my mum, and she told me how proud she was of me – & I suddenly remembered something, that I am strong. I have always had a stubborn sort of strength (probably more mule than lion!) I realised how much strength I have already shown in dealing with infertility (surrounded by pregnant colleagues, in a job where I’m responsible for advising on maternity issues, and now my little sister is pregnant). Hey presto, bye bye chair legs all of a sudden (bring on the lions). And your post has somehow neatly summed all that up (& more), quite beautifully – thank you!

    1. whew girl! I would say you are strong with all of those “chairs” surrounding you! But you are an overcomer! Just keep reminding yourself that! xo

  2. Wow…had no idea that the chair played such a large role in how the lion tamer tamed the lion! I’ve def stared at “chairs” many times. I’m turning to my faith in Him…and that’s what my focus is today and tomorrow…faith that everything will be alright…and I get it…. and then I’m ok 🙂 xoxo

    1. I know right?! It’s crazy to me that the chair was what kept the lion so tamed. I guess you now know what to do if you are ever trapped in a room with a lion. tehehe! xo

  3. Hey lady. I read what you wrote on Facebook, and of course being noisy, I definitely had to read your post to see what all the fuss is about 😉😉 I read it out loud to my husband, we both thought it was awesome. Such a great way to compare how Satan distracts us in life. I hope you’re not feeling discouraged, and I’m so glad you didn’t take it down. It was very on time for what my husband and I have been going through. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. awe thanks so much girl for these words of encouragement. If only you could have seen my face when I realized I might have offended someone with THIS particular post. I was a little shocked so it did make me question if I had said something too offensive :/ But I do have a problem with needing the approval of others and the enemy was just holding that “chair” in my face to entice me to take it down. It almost worked 🙂 Once again, thank you for reading and commenting. It meant the world to me 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you didn’t take this post down before I had a chance to read it…..this is exactly what I have been doing all month. I can see now how Satan has totally been distracting me by taking my eyes off God and looking around at what seems so hopeless and wondering if it is ever going to change. I need to kick those chair legs out from under him and smash the chair round his head. Time to focus my eyes back upon Jesus and trust in Him and His perfectly timed plans. I hope you don’t mind if I share this post. Love & hugs xx

    1. Oh please share! I think the enemy would love for you to NOT share! And your comment just totally pumped me up to knock a few chairs out of my face as well. Thanks kara!!!!

  5. It’s interesting how an encouraging post like this could possibly offend people. I personally think that it’s a great post and a great reminder to focus our gaze on Jesus. It was beautifully done, my friend. <3

    1. awe thank so much sugars! I just really felt led to share this “ah-ha” moment I had with others. And not to mention (which i didn’t say in my post) my cycles have gone from 70 plus days to under 35 since I stopped “staring” at all my chairs and focusing more on Jesus. Praise God!

  6. So first of all, I don’t know what all the fuss would be with this post either?? I like it!! Second, I never realized that about the chair and the lion, but it makes perfect sense. Third, reading this, makes me realize that I’ve really been letting things get to me lately that have been bringing me down, mostly work related…but the past couple days especially B and I got out of town and away from drama. We are also working out putting in an offer on a new house. Having those 2 distractions has put me back in a better place mentally and emotionally…I guess work and the drama that has been going on there has been a big 8-legged chair for me!! Keep writing, and don’t worry about what others say or think!! Be true to yourself, you inspire more people that you know! 😉

    1. I know right?! But then again, people probably unsubscribe all of the time when I make a post but I just happened to notice today?

      But I’m so glad you enjoyed it and it encouraged you! It sounds like you have a lot going on and I’m praying peace over you tonight. Just breathe in and out 🙂 You got this!!

      1. Thanks! Definitely lots going on…multiple stressers at work, debating house stuff with B, this whole TTC mess…I’ve felt pretty on edge. Been doing so much better since our weekend visiting my mom though, hopefully the calm lasts for a while!

      2. Hopefully the calm lasts too! Just keep trusting in Him and that He has you and your problems right in the palm of His hand. Not easy to do, but totally worth it.

    2. and about the lion and the chair….it totally fascinated me when I learned that it the whole reason for the chair. How clever!!!

  7. Reblogged this on faith to footsteps and commented:
    I am re blogging this post from a dear friend who I follow. Her posts always give me such encouragement and this particular one really spoke to me and where I have been at lately.

    I think I needed to get out how I was feeling to then allow myself to refocus and get back on track. Time for me to kick the chair legs out from under Satan and smash the chair around his head. I need to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and His perfectly timed plan for my life.

    I heard on the radio yesterday about how we need to stop and bask in the bigness off God. God took Abraham out to look at the stars and it was there that he realised just how big God actually was. And in doing so the giant that in your life no longer appears so big after all. God is bigger than anything I (or you) are going through. So keep your eyes focused on God and not the problem (or the chair).

  8. So very true!!! I can sooooo relate to this post as I find myself overwhelmed by the ‘chairs’ pointed my way. Some days I’m better at looking past ‘chairs’ & focusing on Jesus; but then, when I let my guard down, something happens (kind of like your minivan family experience) & those ‘chairs’ are once again in my face & I’m completely paralyzed. I needed to read this post today to remind me to focus on my Savior & TRUST His plans. God has really been speaking to me through Exodus 14:14 so much lately: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” He is telling me to be still & focus only on Him–not the 200 pregnancy announcements on my Facebook feeds, or another bump in the road along the dissertation journey, or job uncertainties, etc., etc., etc. I know His plans are far better than mine, but it’s so hard to remember sometimes when I’m busy staring at ‘chairs’; so thank you, Elisha, for this powerful reminder today! Thank you. <3

    1. yes girl…ever since I learned the reason and purpose behind the chair, I have done a lot better taking my eyes off the chair and back onto Jesus. Whew! It is hard not to stare though :/

  9. Oh man… SO. MANY. CHAIRS! You are spot on, though. And I know… I KNOW in that moment that I should stop, should never have begun, and that comparing myself to that other person, or focussing on “things”, or letting circumstances dictate my mood or my day – none of it matters. Because my God is the God of ALL things. He created everything. He owns the cattle on every hill and He gives and He loves and He is GOOD! That’s all that matters. Everything else is just details. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing this! I needed this reminder. 🙂

    1. oh wowzas girl! Your comment just spark so much life into me today! Thank you for your uplifting and encouraging words as well 🙂 I heard someone the other day ask another person if they believed Jesus died on the cross for them so that they may live forever in heaven. And of course that person said, “YES! Of course I believe that!” And the other person then said…”Then why do you doubt He will do any other miracle for you if He has already performed the greatest miracle ever?”

      That statement really hit home to me. Because if I believe He died and rose again to give me life with Him in heaven, then why do I have such a hard time He will fulfill the desires He has placed in my heart? Anyway…that was just my thought for today. xo

  10. WOW! What a great read at such a great time for me! Seriously thank you so much for posting these thoughts and putting this all together for me. May I reblog? I will try to ignore all of the “false chairs” in my life!

    1. yes of course reblog! I would love for as many people as possible to read this. I believe that it could really change their perspective and hope will start to rise within them again 🙂

  11. What an amazing post, well written. I guess you’re not that surprised to hear how many people get stuck staring at chairs! I know I do! Thank you for the encouragement :).

  12. What a beautiful analogy! I can definitely understand what you mean by staring at the chairs. I have spent so much time hurting myself with looking at other people’s lives. I have tried my best to re-center things on me and my own life, and that helped a lot. Again, beautiful post! xx

    1. Yes I often times catch myself staring at the chair of comparison! WHY do I do it when I know it leaves me feeling just BLECK? hehe! I’m getting so much better though because in that moment, I am learning to say out loud every single thing I am thankful for and that I have in my life. And usually by the time I am done with my list, my mind has traveled to thinking about something else…like folding the clothes. haha

  13. so awesome Elisha. This is just fueling me so much right now and it is perfect in its honesty. Making Jesus your chair – so cool! Though that would sound weird if u didn’t read it haha! Great post lovely

    1. bahahaha! You totally gave me a giggle today about Jesus being the chair! hehe! Thanks so much for reading and commenting sugars!

    1. Thanks so much sugars!! I have been thinking about you a lot lately! Sending you hugs and positive thoughts! xo

  14. Oh my goodness, Elisha…I LOVE this post!!! Not only for it’s spiritual knowledge, but because who knew that’s why the lion tamer held the chair! Another wonderful post that makes me think and remember just how powerful our God really is.

    1. I know right?! After I researched it, I was MIND.BLOWN. I guess now if we are ever in a room with a lion we need to make sure there is a chair with us 😉

  15. Wow, and thank you. This is exactly what I needed to hear today, and you expressed yourself and your thoughts so well. I understand each thing you are saying, each event you are describing, and each metaphor you are using. Yeah, that ugly chair.

    Thank you. This is really meaningful.

    1. I am so glad this post encouraged you today! I just have to remind myself DAILY to quit looking at all the chairs! They just keep me drained and bleck! lol

      1. Drained and bleck.. YES! I can so relate to this. In fact, I told my hubby and my sister about your post – my sister has a lot of anxiety (not related to TTC). I think this makes sense in all situations.

        PS. Your blog is so classy, visually appealing and just plain awesome! Excuse my blunt question, but what program do you use to modify/add text to your pics?

      2. Thanks so much girl for the compliments on the blog. Whenever I use pictures and add something to the picture, I use It i a really cool and easy program. And free 🙂

    1. right?! Same here! Once I learned about it…it was if a light went off in my head. Or shall I say, God shed some light on the situation for me a little better 🙂 hehe! I love when He does that.

  16. I like your analogy! My “chair” today is miscarriage…today I started bleeding and am losing the little life inside of me 🙁 And, although I already have four children, it still hurts. So, thank you for the reminder to stare at Jesus! HE needs to be my source of peace!!!! I will be praying today for all of you who are struggling with infertility…today is giving me a glimpse into what you must feel on a monthly basis. May God bless your womb!!!!

    1. Oh sugars I am so sorry to hear this! It truly breaks my heart! But you know what it is beautiful? That in the midst of your own pain, you are still choosing to seek Him for your peace. And you are choosing to pray for others as you yourself are hurting. That to me is just beautiful! Thank you!!! xo

  17. The truth in this blog is staggering! Thank you for putting words to many of our thoughts. This is so good! I am greatly encouraged to break some “chairs” and bite a head off!!!

  18. I love you. Never stop blogging cause you’re amazing at conveying so many things people feel! Xoxoxo!

  19. Thoughtful post. I know it’s old. I think people were offended because you supported a circus. They typically mistreat their animals terribly and harm their beautiful exotic animals who are not meant to be living this way. Many people who love animals would never see a circus because it supports the cruel injustice it inflicts on animals. I can tell your a very caring person, so I don’t think you would ever knowingly support harming living beings this way. But I just wanted to let you know.

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