Focus as a Superpower
As I wrote last month (https://www.hopesmiles.org/blog/2019/5/8/where-is-our-focus), our team in Uganda constantly talks about the importance of being aware of where our focus lies day to day, moment to moment. We have to look out for each other so we don’t veer off the path before us. There are a few components to this:
First, we need to know WHAT to focus on. This involves obtaining clarity on where we want to go in this life and what we want to do. God has given us incredible freedom. Loving Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength is a pretty broad command – yet it covers every part of life. AND we will never discover the depth of it.
Each of us possess unique talents and have our own history – one of the challenges I’ve found both personally and with our team members is finding the courage and strength to make ourselves vulnerable and fully embrace the path God has us on. This always involves pain and getting honest with ourselves. This also takes time and is a lifelong journey. Courage comes as we trust God with our pain.
We have to come to grips with our past while we recognize and develop the gifts we’ve been given, trusting God has a story to tell the world through our lives.
The temptation will be to take the easy way and live someone else’s life.
Ultimately, this means committing all we do to God (https://www.hopesmiles.org/blog/2019/5/8/where-is-our-focus). We find our lives in Him, so He shapes the different domains of our lives. For me it looks like this:
What kind of husband do I want to be? Father? What do I feel called to do in my professional career? What about the relationships God has blessed me with? What about physical fitness? Diet? Socially? Financially? What am I going to do with the time God has given me?
This is SO important. We simply need to sit down and figure out what to focus on. As we do this, we prayerfully move forward. We stay grounded in Scripture. We surround ourselves with people who are further ahead on the journey than us.
The problem is, most of us don’t do it. We are too distracted.
Second, once we are clear on what to focus on, our task is simple. We need to maintain focus on what is important in a world designed to distract us.
This is a superpower.
Harnessing this superpower requires the cultivation of discipline.
The modern world is designed to distract us. All of us know this, and all of us know the sources of distraction: social media, smartphones, binge watching TV shows, ads targeting our basest instincts…the list could go on and on. And all of us know where we are vulnerable.
It’s important to remember none of these things are bad in themselves, but they also distract too many of us from pursuing the life God has for us. For most people, it’s not the behaviors we generally associate with a life apart from God (adultery, murder, lying, theft, drunkenness, etc) that separate us from Him. It’s embracing all the little distractions that move our hearts away from living to love God…and seeking our comfort primarily in little Earthly pleasures.
Without a disciplined focus on meaningful, deep, God-breathed goals…the distractions win.
But they don’t have to.
Our hyper-distracted world presents an incredible opportunity: Cultivating discipline, day after day, in focused pursuit of goals connected to God’s purposes in the world give our lives a fullness that can only be experienced. It can’t be described. Our lives develop meaning and depth and generational significance. We laugh more. We cry more. Our work becomes deeper. Our rest becomes more restorative. We fully experience the life God has given us.
A look around will tell us the world is aching for lives like this. We are created to share God’s light and his love with the world around us. Lives like this will shine. We will come off as crazy at times, and that’s OK. It’s worth it.
Where is your focus? Where do you feel God calling you to go? How can you cultivate the discipline of heart, mind, and soul to stay focused on where you want to go?
Together, may we cultivate the discipline to focus on what truly matters.