Is it time to reset your focus?

Written by Jen Forsthoff
Published on December 27, 2022

The day we became parents was the day our focus changed. While our attention was once on ourselves, our careers, or our weekend plans, in a moment there was a shift. From the second our eyes gazed upon our newborn baby, our focus zeroed in on every need that child might have. Night and day, our efforts and schedule revolved around feedings, naps, tummy time, burping, and snuggles.  It became our joy and purpose to focus on the needs of our precious child. But while our focus may have shifted for a season, our ultimate purpose and calling never did. 

What is your ultimate purpose?

The inward focus on our children can increase all the more when the needs of our child increase. For those who parent a child with a particular diagnosis or disability, we may find that as the needs of our child become greater, so does the focus. And if we aren’t careful, we can become more than just parents fulfilling a calling to love and care for our children…we can lose the greater perspective on the life God has called us to. We can lose our identity as we lean into the needs of our children.  We make the mistake of centering our lives around our children and their needs, and before we know it, we have lost focus on God’s purpose and will for our lives and our families. Rather than following Acts 17:28 by living and drawing our purpose in him, we live and draw our purpose from our children. 

Yes, you are called to be the parent, but your child should never be the center of your life. As Christians, we are called to follow two commandments: Love God and love others. Or can I say, we are called to focus upward and focus outward. But too many times, we may find ourselves slipping into a life that solely focuses inward. We give all our attention, efforts and energy to our children while God is inviting us to have a focus that includes and impacts more than just our children. We can make the mistake of giving so much attention to what is happening within the four walls of our homes, that we miss what God wants to do in us and through us for the world around us. If we would only be honest enough with ourselves to reset our focus, we could align with what God intends. 

We’re called to more…

Now, I know what you might be thinking, the needs of my child are important. And of course, they are important. You are called to parent your child. You are called to care for them, pray for them, advocate for them, and God is pleased when you fulfill this part of your calling. But that’s just it, this is PART of your calling. You are also to be salt and life to the earth. You are also to be a light shining for all to see so that the world might know Jesus. You are called not only to be a parent, but also a friend, a neighbor, a spouse, and an ambassador for the kingdom of God as you walk out your front door and head into the world each day.

So, to help you reflect and consider your focus, let me help you with a simple description of what it means to be inward focused, outward focused, and most importantly, upward focused. 

You might be inward focused if…

  1. Your prayers are centered around you and your children.
  2. Your conversations with others are centered around you.
  3. You find it difficult to support others in their time of need.
  4. You look for what others can do for you.
  5. Your strength comes from within yourself.

You might be outward focused if…

  1. You take time to pray for the needs of others.
  2. You take an interest in others.
  3. You look for ways to support others in their time of need.
  4. You actively look for ways to help and encourage people.
  5. You draw strength and encouragement from others.

You might be upward focused if…

  1. You look for what God is doing and ask him to show you how to join him to advance his plans on the earth.
  2. You prioritize God’s word, worship, and going to church.
  3. You live each day in peace because you trust God with the details of your life and the lives of those you love.
  4. You live to shine the light and love of Jesus to others.
  5. Your strength is anchored in God and your identity is found in him. 

So where is your focus? Maybe you find that you are easily described by one of these listed above. Or perhaps you see yourself focusing in multiple directions. No matter where your focus is today, you have the opportunity to adjust it for tomorrow. Let’s be parents who fulfill the calling to care for our children, while also living with a kingdom perspective that chooses to focus outward. As we choose an outward and upward focus, may we fulfill all that God has called us to as his children. 

Consider a few extra resources:

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Jen Forsthoff

Jen Forsthoff is the author of Chosen for Charlie: When God Gifts You With a Special- Needs Child and Champion For Charlie: Rise Up and Advocate For Your Child. Jen and her pastor-husband, Lucas, live in Michigan with their three children. Their oldest, Charlie, was diagnosed with Trisomy 21 at birth and has opened their eyes to the needs of families just like theirs. Raising Charlie, along with her experience as a classroom teacher and in ministry, has fueled Jen’s passion to positively impact families who face the challenge of parenting a child with special needs.  She writes, speaks, and advocates for families who need a message of hope and biblical truth to shape the everyday perspective of their role as the parent and champion for their child. In both ministry and educational platforms, Jen is a voice for parents raising a special-needs child. As God has opened doors through radio, television, community events/organizations, and ministry partnerships, she continues to bring a message of hope to families. You can connect with Jen at and on Instagram @jforsthoff.

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