Talk swirled around her. Classmates talked of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Excitement swelled. The teacher turned the talk to safety while on this trip of a lifetime. Staying with the group, keeping money and personal items close, not falling onto the tracks of the Metro.

Her heart rate ramped up. Sweat beaded along her forehead. Danger wrapped her in a cocoon.

What if she fell while getting on the Metro? What if someone tried to rob her? What if she got separated from the group in a foreign country?

Just like that, the dream of visiting Paris evaporated into a mist of what ifs.

I’ve found one of the biggest deterrents to living the life we’re meant to live is focusing too much on the past or future.

Yes, I’m big about encouraging folks to live out their dreams and I stand by that. However, when we focus too much on what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future, we can lose sight of those dreams. They slip out of our grasp and we stay stuck where we are.

Many years ago, I was listening to a radio show and the host asked his listeners, “What three words describe your life right now? Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Today. Right now.”

As I stopped to think about that question, I realized that despite the bigger things going on in my life at that moment in time, I wasn’t ¬†fearful. That day I was expectant, not worried. Happy, not mired in the enormity of the situation. Hopeful, not downtrodden. Focusing on those three words that were true right now gave me greater perspective.

Hannah Brencher is an author who has struggled with depression and the life changing aspects of it. She’s written a great book called¬†Come Matter Here. In the book, she writes about being where your feet are. I love this idea and have adopted this mindset. When we look at where our feet are, we look at what’s happening right now. It takes us out of the swirling what ifs and helps us focus.

Today on my Facebook page, I’m starting a new feature called Three Word Thursday. The goal of this is to encourage the community I’m forming there to look at today. To stop and really see what is going on in their life right now.

What are your three words today? Come on over to my Facebook page and share your three words.

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