Finding Our Focus

Finding Our Focus

 

By Mary Z

 

We are being pulled in so many directions in our fast-paced lifestyle that it is easy to lose focus on what is really important to us.

 

We hear it all the time. These are the 3 or 10 or 15 ways to get focused.

  1. Keep an organized space
  2. Make a to-do list
  3. Take breaks often…and on and on.

 

I agree these are all good practices, but do we consistently do them? For most of us, “Life” seems to take over, our minds get scattered and we find ourselves reeling out of control once again.

 

Aristotle said, “It is wise to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”

 

Benjamin Franklin turned this statement into a poem memorized by generations of schoolchildren: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I concur….we should be wise stewards of our time, however disturbing and stressful the days may be.

 

I’m no Aristotle or Benjamin Franklin, however I would like to suggest the three daily practices that work well for me to maintain my focus.

 

Wait on God

I redeem the time by rising early to get alone with God in the inner chamber of my heart. I do this by waiting on Him. It takes discipline to wait. Running ahead is more my pace…but God calls us to wait. In Isaiah 40:31 we read; “But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

In our waiting, we may perhaps want to ask, “Lord, How may I best serve you today? How can I make the most of every opportunity today?” Questions like these train our minds to wait, listen, and walk without fainting. These questions will also help us frame our days, which results in a more fulfilled life.

 

Listen more carefully

Have you heard the quote: “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply.”  Sorry to say I know only a handful of people who are truly great listeners, and they are the people I want to be around, because I feel heard and understood. So how do the rest of us train ourselves to really hear the voice of God and others?

 

 

I think this poem gives a clue:

In the holy hush of the early dawn

I hear a Voice,

“I am with you all the day, Claiming

Rejoice! Rejoice!”

 

As we plunge into the day, the practice of waiting and listening for God seems like wasted time, but is it? When we listen quietly with God before all the other voices of the day begin calling for us, we have a promise from Him in the book of Isaiah (30:21).  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way…walk in it.” Which leads me to my final point, how are we to walk.

 

Walk Circumspectly

God’s Word says to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15). We seldom use the word “circumspectly” today, but maybe we should get it back into circulation. The word means “to watch or to see.” So the word “circumspectly” means to pay attention to the sphere of our life. To draw a circle around our steps and watch them carefully. The New International Version says, “Be very careful, then, how you live…not as unwise but as wise.”

 

We are to make the most of every opportunity, and be experts on time management. God has assigned each of us tasks to fulfill and He has work for us to do. If we waste the hours, we’ll leave the work unfinished. But if we walk circumspectly, we’ll redeem the time and complete the work.

 

There is a very “good word” in Proverbs 16 regarding our daily focus: “We are to make our plans, but hold them loosely, because God determines our steps.” (vs. 9, my paraphrase)

 

Mary Z.